Proceeding With Caution

Countries across the world are experiencing a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The infectious nature of the disease guarantees that unless a vaccine is not discovered and made available worldwide, the disease is certain to resurface again and again—it seems difficult to eliminate the problem completely without long-term lockdowns.

Pakistan is not exempt from this. Although we have fared relatively successfully in the battle against coronavirus, with other countries praising our handling and decrease of rates in early summer, we should not get too careless. As the cold weather approaches, and countries across Europe and the Americas start to witness alarming rises again, Pakistan is also vulnerable to another surge.

Luckily, this fact has not gone unnoticed by government authorities. Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar has pointed out on Twitter that the national positivity of COVID cases is 2.37 percent—the highest positivity rate in more than 50 days. The last time this level was seen was near the end of August. He has also shed light on the fact that the average number of COVID deaths during the first four days of this week was 11 per day, the highest since early August.

These statistics point towards a second phase of the virus and must be taken very seriously. Citizens, institutions and the government must all recognise that Pakistan cannot afford a second complete lockdown. If that is to be prevented, then pre-emptive action must be taken by all sectors to clamp down on the issue before it becomes a real problem. This means implementing SOPs and perhaps enforcing smart lockdowns in specific areas—this was the strategy that had previously worked best to reduce spread, while still sparing the daily and monthly wage workers whose businesses could not afford a lockdown.

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