Nationwide testing drops below 22,000, raising questions about government’s ‘TTQ’ strategy
Pakistan conducted just 21,835 tests for the novel coronavirus in the 24 hours preceding Thursday morning—it’s lowest testing since June 3—against 4,044 new infections, a positivity ratio of 18.5 percent.
The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), in its daily situation report, claims the country has the capacity to conduct 71,780 tests for COVID-19 per day. According to the World Health Organization, any country with a positivity ratio over 5 percent is likely not testing enough to see the true spread of COVID-19. A key plank of the test, trace and quarantine (TTQ) strategy being touted by the government is to ramp up testing, with WHO suggesting a minimum level of 50,000/day.
According to the data available, the drop in testing is primarily due to a reduction in Punjab and Sindh provinces—both of which tested less than 7,500 in the past 24 hours—though there have been minor reductions in the other provinces as well. Sindh has claimed its testing has reduced due to a staff shortage, but Punjab has yet to justify its reduction.
Confirmed Cases, Total – 192,970 (Tests: 1,171,976)
Punjab – 71,191 (Tests: 453,497)
Sindh – 74,070 (Tests: 402,687)
Balochistan – 9,817 (Tests: 45,422)
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa – 23,887 (Tests: 130,990)
Islamabad – 11,710 (Tests: 110,154)
Gilgit-Baltistan – 1,365 (Tests: 14,814)
Pakistan-administered Kashmir – 930 (Tests: 14,327)
Deaths – 3,903
Recoveries – 81,307
In the 24 hours preceding 9:00 a.m., Thursday, Pakistan’s death toll climbed by 148 to 3,903. The country’s confirmed cases, meanwhile, rose to 192,970 after recording 4,044 new infections against 21,835 tests. In the same period, 3,553 patients were declared COVID-free, raising recoveries to 81,307, or 42.1 percent of confirmed infections. There are currently 107,760 active cases of COVID-19 in the country, with the NCOC reporting 3,003 of them are in critical condition.
The provincial government has sealed 33 areas under the federal government’s “smart lockdown” for a week in a bid to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid on Wednesday told a press conference that the areas already sealed had started to report fewer new infections, but warned that the effectiveness of the “smart lockdown” strategy could only be properly gauged after two weeks had passed.
On Thursday, authorities reported 86 new deaths due to COVID-19, raising total fatalities to 1,602. The province also reported 1,655 new infections, raising confirmed cases to 71,191, against 20,262 recoveries. There are now 49,327 active cases of the virus in Punjab province, 1,242 more than a day earlier.
Provincial health minister Dr. Azra Pechuho on Wednesday warned at the Sindh Assembly that second and third waves of the coronavirus were “inevitable,” adding that the center and other provinces were not taking the pandemic seriously. She also claimed that 178 people had become infected with COVID-19 at Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program centers, accusing the federal government of not enforcing standard operating procedures to stem the spread of the virus.
Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the province on Thursday morning climbed by 1,414 to 74,070. Additionally, the province’s death toll climbed by 37 to 1,161, while its recoveries rose by 1,028 to 39,429. Overall, the province now has 33,480 active cases of the novel coronavirus.
The provincial government on Wednesday decided to avail the newly constructed building for the Peshawar Institute of Cardiology to treat coronavirus patients during the pandemic. A meeting of the provincial task force on COVID-19 also decided to devise a strategy to contain the spread of the virus during the upcoming Eidul Azha.
The province reported 14 new deaths on Thursday morning, raising its death toll to 869. In the past 24 hours, its recoveries rose by 1,712 to 11,097, while its confirmed cases have increased by 499 to 23,887. There are currently 11,921 active cases of coronavirus in the province, 1,227 less than a day earlier.
Just a day after the province boasted a steady decline in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases due to the “smart lockdown,” new infections climbed to their highest level thus far this week, as the provincial government increased its testing from around 700/day to 948 on Wednesday.
Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the province on Thursday rose by 183 to 9,817, with 2 new fatalities raising total death toll to 108. Overall, 3,710 patients have recovered from the virus, leaving 5,999 active cases of COVID-19.
Islamabad on Thursday raised its confirmed coronavirus cases by 227 to 11,710, and deaths by 7 to 115 fatalities. Overall there have been 5,424 recoveries, leaving 6,171 active cases of COVID-19.
Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Gilgit-Baltistan rose by 28 on Thursday to 1,365. Overall, the region has thus far reported 23 deaths and 995 recoveries, leaving 347 active cases.
In Pakistan-administered Kashmir, confirmed cases have increased by 38 to 930. The region has thus far reported 25 deaths and 390 recoveries, leaving 515 active cases of the coronavirus.
Globally, the virus has now infected more than 9,532,035 people, with over 485,120 reported deaths. Governments across the world halted flights, locked down towns and cities and urged people to stay at home at the peak of the virus’s spread, but there are now signs of easements in nations that have reined it in to help shuttered economies recover. Overall, around 5,179,000 patients of the 9.5 million+ infected have recovered thus far.