Pakistan's Covid-19 death toll doubles in last 10 days

Published May 7, 2020
Workers wearing facemasks lay a brick wall at a construction site during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, in Islamabad on May 6. — AFP
Workers wearing facemasks lay a brick wall at a construction site during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, in Islamabad on May 6. — AFP

Pakistan's Covid-19 death toll has registered an over 100 per cent increase over the past 10 days — from April 28 till today (May 7) — while the number of cases reported by each province are also rising, data collected by Dawn.com shows.

Since the disease emerged in the country on February 26, the highest number of deaths reported in Pakistan emerged today (May 7), with 48 fatalities being reported.

What started out as a single digit rise in the number of deaths during March, increased to double digits during the month of April.

Coronavirus: What is 'flattening the curve'?

From April 28 to May 7, 299 coronavirus deaths have been reported in the country; these account for more than 50.4 per cent of the total number of deaths till today (May 7), which stand at 591.

Despite this worrying trend, the federal government announced on Thursday that the lockdown measures imposed to curb the spread of the disease will be eased, starting Saturday.

Moreover, markets will also be allowed to open for five days a week.

But while the provinces move towards easing the lockdown, the number of cases reported on a daily basis are also increasing.

From April 27 to May 6, 10,365 cases have been reported in the country, nearly one third of the total number of cases.

The largest daily increase in the total number of cases was on May 6, as the tally rose by an astonishing 1,430.

Health experts in the country have repeatedly warned that the virus is expected to peak in the country during the month of May.

Speaking to Dawn at the end of April, Dr Sunil Dodani, head of the infectious diseases department at Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) had said: "There has been an increase in the number of positive cases. More patients are now [also] reporting with severe illness. This pattern suggests that the next two to three weeks are crucial when the epidemic peaks."

A day earlier, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that countries needed to ensure they had adequate measures to control the spread of the Covid-19 respiratory disease like tracking systems and quarantine provision.

"The risk of returning to lockdown remains very real if countries do not manage the transition extremely carefully and in a phased approach," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had told a virtual briefing in Geneva.

The rise in the number of Covid-19 cases is also linked to Pakistan's testing capacity, which has increased over the past month.

On April 7, federal Minister for Planning and Special Initiatives Asad Umar had announced that the government had decided to enhance the coronavirus testing capacity from 6,584 to 25,000 tests a day by the end of April.

According to Umar, initially the country was able to conduct 700 to 800 tests on a daily basis, but later the daily capacity was enhanced to 2,000.

“On April 6, as many as 3,000 tests were conducted across the country and it has been decided to enhance the capability to 25,000 by the end of current month,” he had explained.

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