Pakistan doesn’t meet any condition to relax lockdown: WHO

Also mentions 24% rate of positive tests, weak surveillance system, limited capacity to provide critical care

By: News Desk      Published: 03:59 PM, 9 Jun, 2020
Pakistan doesn’t meet any condition to relax lockdown: WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Pakistan did not meet any of the six conditions required to start lifting the restrictions imposed in connection with the coronavirus-induced lockdown, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

In a letter written to the Punjab government, the WHO expressed serious concerns over the alarming rise in the number of cases and deaths, and said Punjab should conduct at least 50,000 tests on daily basis.

It also said that there was a need to impose a two-week strict lockdown in a bid to curb the virus spread. “Pakistan has been ranked among the top 10 countries around the globe in reporting the highest number of new cases,” read the letter.

About the alarming rate at which the results of tests are coming as positive and weak surveillance system, the WHO said, “The positive rate [of tests] is high at 24% (above the required level of 5%), the surveillance system (identify, test, isolate, care for the ill including identification and follow up of contact and quarantining) is weak.”

“There is limited capacity to provide critical care (only 751 ventilators are allocated for COVID-19,” the top international health body mentioned in its letter.

Meanwhile, the six conditions noted by the WHO, mentioned this letter, for any government before relaxing the lockdown are:

1.     Disease transmission is under control

2.     Health system can detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact

3.     Hot spot risks are minimised in vulnerable places, such as nursing homes

4.     Schools, work places and other essential places have established preventative measures

5.     The risk of importing new cases can be managed

6.     Communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to live under a new normal

The latest warning by the WHO came as Monday [the last 24 hours] proved to be the deadliest day for Pakistan since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic as 105 died of the virus, raising the death toll to 2,172 in the country.

Most of these deaths were recorded in Punjab where 58 patients lost their lives after which the overall total for the province climbed to 773. Sindh was second with 29 deaths which means 679 people have so far died in the province.

Earlier on Sunday, the coronavirus cases in Pakistan crossed yet another mark, this time the 100,000 figure, as the country also recorded 65 more death, raising the toll to 2,067.

The latest figures released by National Command and Operation Centre on Tuesday show that the deadly virus was found in another 4,646 people, raising the total cases reported in Pakistan to 108,317. Of these cases, 40,819 have been recorded in Punjab, making it the worst-affected region of the country.