Special Assistant to the P.M. on Health claims new infections are slowing down due to social distancing efforts
Approximately 27 percent of the 1,526 confirmed coronavirus cases reported in Pakistan till Sunday—420 cases—are the result of local transmission of COVID-19, Special Assistant to the P.M. on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza told a press conference over the weekend.
“Over 120 cases have been reported during the last 24 hours,” he said, adding that it should not be ignored that 28 patients had now fully recovered. “We have reduced the pace of cases due to effective steps of social distancing but all those successes can be ruined if people ignore social distancing,” he said, urging people to stay home and avoid any unnecessary trips to public spaces.
“Around 857 cases were reported in persons who had traveled to Iran; 191 persons who were found positive for COVID-19 had traveled to different countries other than Iran,” he said.
In Sindh, officials said 33 patients—all caused by local transmission—had tested positive for the virus despite a stringent lockdown in the province to enforce social distancing. Similarly, in Balochistan, seven cases were caused by local transmission.
On Saturday, Mirza had told journalists that with 1,500 cases and 12 deaths, Pakistan had a 0.8 percent mortality rate. He said this was much lower than most other parts of the world, including some developed countries. Noting that Pakistan had over 12,000 suspected cases that were awaiting testing, he claimed this proved the government’s efforts were paying off.
Dr. Mirza’s claims of a low mortality rate came as the COVID-19 death toll in Pakistan hit 18, with the National Institute of Health reporting that 11 people are currently in critical condition. Of the deceased, six belonged to Punjab; five to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; five to Sindh; one to Balochistan and one to Gilgit-Baltistan.
Also on Sunday, Mirza said a month’s worth of personal protective equipment for medical professionals had been provided to the administrations of Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. There has been great uproar over a lack of protective equipment for doctors, as more and more healthcare workers have been testing positive for COVID-19 and being placed in quarantine. Around 28 doctors and two paramedics in Islamabad and Rawalpindi were shifted to quarantine on Sunday after three doctors in two separate hospitals tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
On Monday, Pakistan’s confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 1,625 with 18 deaths and 28 full recoveries. Globally, the virus has now infected more than 721,900 people, with over 33,900 reported deaths. Per some reports, nearly a third of the global population is now living under coronavirus-related movement restrictions. The U.S. is now the country with the most cases in the world, overtaking China, where the disease originated late last year.