WHO says Pakistan should reimpose lockdown to curb coronavirus

Islamabad: The World Health Organization (WHO) proposed the Pakistani authorities on reinstating a strict lockdown and focusing on places which have a high number of coronavirus patient as cases in the South Asian county have been rapidly increasing since most restrictions were lifted last month.

A letter was sent to the provincial government on Sunday in which WHO Pakistan chief Palitha Mahipala said the country did not meet any of the organization’s six technical criteria for relaxing the lockdown.

The Letter said, “As of today, Pakistan does not meet any of the pre-requisite conditions for opening lockdown.”

Pakistan’s government which is led by Prime Minister Imran Khan had enforced the lockdown regulations which had different levels of strictness based on provinces but later relaxed some regulation in late May ahead of Muslim festival Eid al-Fitr.

Relaxation of these regulations caused in the jump in the number of reported cases, daily infections rose before to around 1,700 per day and by June 9 there were 5,385 new cases.
In the letter WHO said Pakistan’s rate of positive coronavirus patient is too high expressing that there may not be that not enough amount of testing is being done and recommended to increase daily testing by 50,000 per day.

Based on the government data they are currently testing half the number of patients with 23,799 patients tested for coronavirus.

The Who said Pakistan’s surveillance system to identify, test, isolate, medical care and contact tracing is too weak.

Mahipala wrote, “There is a limited capacity to provide critical care only 751 ventilators are available for coronavirus patients and the even the population not ready to adapt to the change of behaviour.”

On the other hand, the Prime Minister is against reinstating the lockdown measures, dismissing any possibility.

In his televised address he said, “Although lockdown regulations slow down the spread of the virus, we must also realise that Pakistan is a poor country and that we don’t have another than reopening the country.”

He added, “The entire world needs to understand the lockdowns are not a solution.”
The letter from WHO also included modelling of projected cases based on different forms of lockdown. Imposing a two week on and off-cycle lockdown would bring Pakistan estimated peak down to 400,000 cases.

Not doing anything any continuing the current path the result will be more than 800,000 infected cased as the peak of virus increases.
The letter also said, “These difficult decisions will require you the need to balance the response directly to COVID-19 which includes recurring lockdowns in targeted areas as a first option and should be dealt on priority bases while simultaneously appealing in critical plans and coordinated actions to maintain essential health service delivery, easing the risk of system collapse.” 


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