Spiking tally comes as 429 patients report full recoveries
The confirmed number of novel coronavirus cases in Pakistan climbed to 3,864 on Tuesday, a spike of 577 in 24 hours—the highest single day rise in the country thus far.
Unlike previous jumps in the number of COVID-19 patients, which were skewed by being centered on a single area or a specific group, the latest spike comes amid rising number of cases nationwide.
Confirmed Cases, Total – 3,864
Punjab – 1,918
Sindh – 932
Balochistan – 202
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa – 500
Islamabad – 83
Gilgit-Baltistan – 211
Pakistan-administered Kashmir – 18
Deaths – 54
Recoveries – 429
The biggest jump was recorded in Punjab, the country’s most populous province, which has been dealing with infections among pilgrims returning from Iran, as well as a massive number of cases in members of the Tablighi Jamaat, many of whom have been locked down in Raiwind on the outskirts of the provincial capital to determine the extent of community spread.
According to the provincial Disaster Management Authority, the province has now had 25 full recoveries and 15 deaths. The largest number of confirmed cases has been recorded in returning pilgrims from Iran—662—while the second largest, 404, has been found in Raiwind. Lahore, the provincial capital, comes in third with 293 cases of the virus.
Chinese experts on Sunday urged the Punjab government to extend the ongoing movement restrictions to at least 28 days, adding that lockdowns should only end if the situation were perceived to be improving. Contrary to the experts’ advice, the provincial government has already started relaxing restrictions, allowing export-oriented industries to resume operations. Observers have criticized the move for potentially aiding in the community spread of COVID-19, as more and more people end social distancing measures and leave their homes to return to work.
In Sindh, the largest number of cases has been recorded from provincial capital Karachi, 463. Overall, the province is reporting 567—more than half—of its cases are resulting from local transmission. According to the Sindh Health Department, there have been 17 total deaths from the disease in the province thus far, with 253 full recoveries—again, more than half of all recoveries thus far.
However, Sindh’s success in recoveries is somewhat subdued to the limited testing the province. As of April 6, the province had only administered 9,713 tests for COVID-19, which still remains very low amid calls for more aggressive testing to isolate clusters of the disease and prevent its spread.
In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Health and Finance Minister Taimur Jhagra posted on Twitter that of the 432 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 53 patients had fully recovered thus far. The province has recorded 16 deaths due to COVID-19. The minister noted that some information would shift in the coming days as the province shifts to a more centralized reporting mechanism for the disease. “This week’s reporting may have minor adjustments as backlog of entries is cleared, data at province/district level is synchronized and all reporting points are shifted to a single data entry application. This will allow for greater insight, analysis and better case management,” he said.
The daily COVID-19 update provided by the provincial government notes that all but five districts of the province have now reported at least one case of the coronavirus. Upper Chitral, Lower Chitral, Upper Kohistan, Lower Kohistan, Kolai Palas remain the only districts with no cases thus far.
The remaining 68 cases in the province are from among returning pilgrims from Iran, out of which 16 have fully recovered.
The province reported four new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday night, taking to 202 its overall tally. According to the provincial health department, one person has died due to COVID-19, while 63 people have fully recovered.
On Monday night, the province extended its ongoing lockdown by two weeks until April 21. The decision was made due to the “fear of increase in number of COVID-19 cases, which may cause devastating consequences, illness and deaths,” read an order issued by the provincial home department.
In Gilgit-Baltistan, authorities have thus far reported 211 confirmed cases, with 3 deaths and 15 full recoveries. In federal capital Islamabad, meanwhile, there has been one death due to COVID-19 out of 82 confirmed cases. There have been 3 full recoveries. In Pakistan-administered Kashmir, there have thus far been 16 confirmed cases, and 1 recovery. There have, as yet, been no reported deaths from the Kashmir region.
After repeatedly claiming lockdowns could not be implemented in Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan has now come on the side of finding a balance between lockdowns and essential industries—similar to every other country that is mandating movement restrictions to curb the spread of the disease.
Most parts of the country remain under various restrictions. Public and private offices remain closed, apart from businesses deemed ‘essential,’ and public and private gatherings have also been banned. However, Punjab province has allowed several export-oriented industries to resume operations from April 5, raising concerns that the spiraling infections in the province could worsen as more and more people end social distancing measures earlier to return to their jobs.
Globally, the virus has now infected more than 1,347,000 people, with over 74,760 reported deaths. Governments across the world have halted flights, locked down towns and cities and urged people to stay at home. Overall, around 286,400 patients of the 1 million+ infected have recovered thus far.