Lack of Testing Creates Illusion that Pakistan has Less of a Corona Virus Problem

With over 300,000 confirmed cases, and the Covid19 pandemic still with us, health care experts agree that the only choice before the country is to increase our testing numbers. However, Pakistan is only testing 33,000 people a day. As an Editorial in the Dawn asserts this is “a figure which is far too low when we consider that around the same number of tests were carried out during the peak of the pandemic when the country was in lockdown.”

 

The Imran Khan led government wants a return to normal, so educational institutions have been reopened. However, “the challenge for the authorities and schoolteachers has become even more difficult as some schools and colleges have reported active Covid-19 cases or have been found violating SOPs. Some schools were sealed in Karachi this week after a surprise visit by the Sindh education minister revealed that pre-primary classes were going on although only students of classes 9 to 12 have been allowed to go back to school. In fact, in view of SOP violations, the minister on Friday announced a week’s delay in the resumption of classes 6 to 8 in the province. In Peshawar, the health department recommended the sealing of some schools and classrooms in the city as well as in other areas of KP after Covid-19 cases were detected among students and staff. Several private schools were also sealed for violating SOPs. In Islamabad, too, some students and staff tested positive. But the threat from Covid-19 at these institutes is ever-present. Schools can be super-spreading venues, and, although the risk to young people is comparatively low, students can transmit Covid-19 to vulnerable people in their communities and households.”

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