Pakistan puzzles experts with sharp drop in Covid-19 numbers

Thank you for your reading and interest in the news Pakistan puzzles experts with sharp drop in Covid-19 numbers and now with details

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Normal life is returning to Pakistan after its Covid-19 infections and deaths dropped sharply over the past two months, sparing the nation of 210 million the kind of severe outbreak seen in Europe, Latin America and neighbouring India.

Pakistani and international health officials assisting the government have said the reasons for the fall are not clear, but the drop in numbers appears genuine despite a lack of testing in the country.

Restaurants have reopened and schools, universities and marriage halls are expected to join them next month.

“We have to be very, very vigilant. This is not time to declare victory, but Pakistan as a country has done remarkably well,” said Dr Sania Nishtar, the prime minister's adviser on social welfare.

Pakistan has recorded nearly 300,000 cases and just over 6,200 deaths by August 24. Daily death tolls in the previous week hovered around 10 to 15, down from as many as 150 in mid-June. Although the recorded toll is thought to be a significant undercount, officials believe the downward trend is real.

By contrast, India has recorded more than three million Covid-19 cases and the outbreak there has been growing by more than 60,000 infections per day in recent weeks.

A teacher demonstrates to children how to protect themselves against the coronavirus at a school in Herat, Afghanistan, as centres of learning reopened. EPA

Russian honour guards wearing protective masks attend the opening ceremony of the 6th International Military Technical Forum 'Army 2020' and Army Games in the military Patriot Park outside Moscow. AFP

A woman wearing a face mask poses for a picture at a shopping centre in Beijing. AFP

A woman wearing a mask walks along an empty street during Covid-19 restrictions in Auckland, New Zealand. Getty Images

Neville Talplacido tends to a non-Covid-19 patient while wearing protective equipment against the spread of the coronavirus in Houston, Texas, US.. Reuters

A woman wearing a face mask walks on the Westminster Bridge in central London amid the coronavirus pandemic. AFP

People wearing masks walk around Namdaemun market in Seoul, South Korea. EPA

A girl wears a face mask from a 'free mask' dispenser set up along a street, amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, in Hanoi. AFP

A vendor sells corn to a family aboard a trajinera, one of the painted wooden boats popular with tourists and revellers, after Xochimilco's docks reopened this weekend to tourists and revellers in Mexico City. AP Photo

Paul Chan, tour guide and chief executive of Walk in Hong Kong, and Charles Lai, architect, speak during a live streamed virtual tour, following the coronavirus outbreak in Hong Kong, China. Reuters

US President Donald speaks during a news conference in the James S Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington DC. Bloomberg

Pakistan is testing far fewer people and the fall in cases was at first met with scepticism because it came alongside a fall in the number of tests given.

The proportion of tests coming back positive, the number of people needing intensive care and the number of hospital admissions have all fallen sharply though, leaving officials to conclude the fall cannot be due only to a lack of tests.

“There are lots of unexplained dynamics to it,” said one international official aiding the Pakistan government. “To be frank I don’t think people have any candid explanation or attribution as to whether something has made the difference."

Pakistan locked down in March to contain the outbreak, but then gradually reopened as Imran Khan's government argued the country was too poor to afford putting the economy on hold.

A youthful population and strong immune systems built up by poor sanitation and regular immunisations have been suggested as reasons why the country escaped the rapidly accelerating death tolls of the Covid-19 outbreaks in Europe, the United States and Latin America.

Dr Nishtar said only 4.5 per cent of Pakistan's population were over 65, compared with 23 per cent in Italy, meaning the virus had not spread quickly among old people.

“The social structure is different. The elderly in Pakistan live at home, they are protected by layers and layers of healthy individuals. They are not in old people's homes.”

Dr Faisal Sultan, an infectious diseases expert who has advised the prime minister on Covid-19, admitted there were “great unknowns” in why Pakistan's cases had fallen so sharply. But he said credit also went to the government's national co-ordination centre, which joined up data and responses from the different provinces. The government locked down hotspot areas when they hit a certain level of cases.

Smaller social circles and less intermixing than in western societies have also been suggested as reasons for the different progress of the virus, but experts remain cautious.

“By nature I am a cautious person, so I will remain on tenterhooks for many weeks and months I think,” said Dr Sultan.

Updated: August 24, 2020 04:07 PM

These were the details of the news Pakistan puzzles experts with sharp drop in Covid-19 numbers for this day. We hope that we have succeeded by giving you the full details and information. To follow all our news, you can subscribe to the alerts system or to one of our different systems to provide you with all that is new.

It is also worth noting that the original news has been published and is available at The National and the editorial team at AlKhaleej Today has confirmed it and it has been modified, and it may have been completely transferred or quoted from it and you can read and follow this news from its main source.

PREV Zelensky says Ukrainian forces now control area where Russia pushed into Kharkiv region
NEXT Top French university loses funding over pro-Palestinian protests