CORONAVIRUS COVID-19, A POTENTIAL DISASTER THAT TEETERED PAKISTAN
The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan has climbed to more than 2000. Currently, Pakistan has the highest number of cases in South Asia and it‘s far more than the neighbor country, India. Considering the present situation of Pakistan, the government took some important steps to reduce the cases of coronavirus from the country. From the past two weeks, the ministers of every province in Pakistan took some steps in order to curb the coronavirus outbreak. Each of the provinces in Pakistan executed varying levels of lockdown as the number of coronavirus cases rose instantly in the country. But still, the country is facing serious challenges to deal with this pandemic outbreak.
Pakistan faces prominent challenges to deal with the current situation
The country gravely mishandled the return of coronavirus-infected pilgrims from Iran, and most of the infected patients came from Iran. Not only that the country is also facing the challenges to deal with the rising patients. Muslim-majority countries, including Saudi Arabia, have canceled communal prayers, Pakistan’s mosques remained open for several weeks. The health system of Pakistan, with dated and limited public health facilities, created the issues for the doctors and patients. Pakistan is woefully unprepared to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks and with the influx of critically ill patients. Doctors lack personal protective equipment that has caused health risks for them, at least one of the nine victims so far is a doctor.
The consequences of letting coronavirus spread further would be devastating for the country. The initial response of the country is already exposing that is concerned with the political patterns, including the powerful army asserting competence over the civilian government.
An Influx of COVID-19 positive cases from Iran
Before any case of coronavirus in Pakistan, the government made the decision to not allow Pakistani students to present in the city of China, Wuhan. The government of Pakistan didn’t want to take the risk to allow the students in the country because they may infect a lot of people. But the government didn’t take such a decision for the pilgrim of Iran and the first case in the country came from Iran. The person was diagnosed on February 26 in Karachi and quickly isolated. On March 12, two weeks ago, Pakistan had 21 confirmed cases of the virus.
Steps were taken by the government to reduce the spread of COVID-19 outbreak
On March 13, the government announced a number of aggressive steps which include the closing of the western border with Iran and Afghanistan, shutting down all public as well as private educational institutions, and canceling the parade of Pakistan Day set for March 23. A National Coordination Committee was set up to deal with the coronavirus on a federal level, and the National Disaster Management Authority was tapped to implement the response. The government is also taking steps to aware of the people of the country from coronavirus spread by using different platforms such as social media, news channels, TV advertisements, etc. These steps have proved somehow effective to reduce the spread but there is also a need for appropriate strategy to deal with this outbreak. In many areas, the citizens are not following the rules imposed by the government so there is a need to take strict action against them.