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Aagencies
July 27, 2020

Corona cases drop by 80 percent: Smart lockdown on Eid days

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A
Aagencies
July 27, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has seen 80 percent drop in coronavirus deaths but risks a spike in new cases after the upcoming Eid festival, a government health official said Sunday.

According to the government data, Pakistan saw daily virus deaths peak at about 150 in June. On Saturday, only 24 new fatalities were reported over the previous day.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza told reporters that about 6 percent of those being tested were positive.

"The number of deaths caused by coronavirus has dropped by 80 percent in Pakistan," he said.

In all, Pakistan has confirmed more than 274,003 cases, including nearly 5,840 deaths.

Of 274,003 confirmed cases, Sindh reported 118,311 cases, Punjab 91,901, Balochistan 11,578, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 33,397, Islamabad 14,841, Gilgit Baltistan 1,952 and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) 2,023. The number of recovered patients stands at 240,920.

Some observers, however, warn the numbers do not reflect the true extent of cases in Pakistan, with many people reluctant to get tested and overall testing rates still low.

Faisal Sultan, who is helping lead the government´s coronavirus response, said Sunday that only 23,000 out of an available 50,000 tests had been utilised in the previous 24 hours.

The health ministry did not immediately respond to a query about why the testing rate was so low.

Many people ignored social distancing guidelines and flocked to mosques and markets during the last religious holiday marking the end of Ramadan in May, helping fuel a subsequent surge in COVID-19 cases across Pakistan.

The increase prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to call for new lockdowns across Pakistan.

For the upcoming Eidul Azha, which begins Friday in Pakistan, Mirza advised people against flocking to the animal markets and urged them to "buy sacrificial animals online to prevent a spike in new coronavirus cases".

"Any negligence... could make the situation worse," he said.

Mirza said the objective behind the SOPs was to avoid the spread of person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 to the public, buyers, and sellers of animals during Eidul Azha.

He said the SOPs were related with the social distancing, preventive measures during slaughtering of animals and during Eid prayers.

He appealed to citizens to follow all SOPs during these days and support the efforts of government in its fight against COVID-19.

He said the steps taken by Pakistan to control the pandemic had been highly appreciated globally as a reduction of 80% cases had been reported. He said the government had contacted religious scholars to convince people during Eid days about preventive measures.