The world is witnessing a pandemic hitting more than 213 countries and territories around the globe. We, Pakistanis, are too observing the effects of the global pandemic in our country, which started from Wuhan, China.
Here, in this session, we will try to cover all events as they happen, from the day we had the first confirmed case till today.
Before we had any cases of the virus, Pakistan and China, collaboratively decided not to bring 800 Pakistani students back, who were stranded in Wuhan, China. Pakistan did not want to risk them returning and escalating the virus at home.
Though the government took all necessary measures to stop the entry of coronavirus in Pakistan, all efforts went in vain when Iran got the pandemic hit. Hundreds of Pakistani pilgrims were in Iran at that time to visit the holy places at Mashhad and Qom.
The pilgrims came back home from the Taftan border, bringing the deadly virus along with them.
The First Case
The infectious disease confirmed its entry in Pakistan when the first case was reported on February 26, 2020, in Karachi, Pakistan. The patient was a university student, who recently came back from Iran. He went into isolation right after he tested positive. Later, on the same day, another person tested positive in Islamabad.
On the next day after having two confirmed cases and few suspects in the country, Sindh Government announced the school closure from February 27 until March 2.
Within the next fifteen days, the total number of COVID-19 positive patients reached twenty out of 421 suspected cases. At that time, Sindh had the highest number of suspected patients followed by Gilgit Baltistan.
Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah, held a meeting just a day before the reopening date of school. The coronavirus task force and stakeholders, along with CM Sindh decided during that meeting that schools, colleges, and all educational institutions around the province, would remain closed till March 13.
On the same day, in a meeting of the Country’s National Security held in Islamabad, the closure of all educational institutions around the country till April, 5 was announced.
Much expected decision by the Sindh Government came a day after. That declared the closure to be extended till May 31 due to the worst hit by the new novel coronavirus in Pakistan.
The nation thought that it might get controllable and educational institutions will reopen soon. This hope vanished when the country witnessed a surge of the deadly virus after Eid holidays.
Resulting in the expansion of school closure until further notice.
However, to cover the educational loss of the students, the government had started a television broadcasting educational channel named Teleschool. On the other hand, many schools and universities started their online classes and sessions to cover the academic loss.
From the day of the first two confirmed cases until the first two weeks of March, the increase in the number of positive patients was a single-digit only. Then, it spiked all of a sudden, when Pakistan got 23 new patients in a single day.
After the second week of March, Pakistan started taking strict measures to control the pandemic. The entire country went into a lockdown including a ban on public gatherings, weddings, shopping centers, and cinema halls.
On March 13, the government implemented a full federally managed 14-day lockdown throughout the country. Announcing a number of aggressive steps, the government closed the country’s western borders, shut down all public and private educational institutions, and canceled the Pakistan Day Parade.
Intercity transportation along with flight operations was also put on a ban to control the massive hit in the underprivileged country.
The Cancellation of PSL 2020
With every passing day, the coronavirus was becoming more prominent. The cricket officials felt the real threat of the virus and announced the cancellation of PSL 2020.
A number of global players were part of this league and this time it was planned to be a complete home ground series. After years, it was a return of international cricket in Pakistan.
But unfortunately, the threat of the infectious disease did not let us live our dream of bringing international cricket home.
The Suspension of Flight Operations
To limit the spread of the new novel coronavirus, on March 21, the government suspended all international flight operations for two weeks. Only a few flights had the permissions to bring back overseas Pakistanis.
Along with international flights, domestic flight operations were also suspended.
The Suspension Of Train Operations
Since railways are the most convenient and the most affordable way to travel intercity and around the country. Many people travel from railways every day.
The railways and trains were at a greater risk of spreading the virus more rapidly as they are always overcrowded. The Government of Pakistan decided on March 24, to suspend all passenger train operations till 31 March, to control the spread.
The First Death
There is a lack of health awareness in Pakistan. We can see this lack of awareness clearly in the first fatality in Pakistan from infectious diseases.
A 50 years old pilgrim Sadat Khan came back to his village from Saudi Arabia on March, 9. The villagers gave him a rousing welcome and more than 2000 people attended the grand feast.
In less than ten days, on March 18, Sadat Khan died in an isolation center in Mardan. On the same day, he got positive results for COVID-19.
The sudden surge
Pakistan is experiencing its largest single-day increase in COVID-19 patients. The country observed a sudden surge in the cases during Ramadan, when the Prime Minister of Pakistan announced an ease in lockdown, brushing aside the warnings from experts.
The government opened many sectors and asked to implement a smart lockdown only in the areas with a greater number of positive patients.
In the last week of Ramadan, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, added the last nail in the coffin by opening markets for Eid shopping.
Upon hearing the news, the nation turned crazy to buy new stuff for Eid and rushed to the markets. No SOPs were followed during Eid shopping resulting in a sudden spike in cases right after Eid holidays.
The Decreasing Numbers
Despite all carelessness and even not following the SOPs, our nation is blessed enough to fight against the deadliest virus. Experts say that Pakistan became able to have to lessen the number of affected patients just because of its larger youth population.
The graphs started showing a decrease in the numbers after the mid of July, increasing the number of recovered patients.
Pakistan had 284,000 confirmed cases out of which we have 260,000 recovered patients and 6082 deaths.
Life is going to be a bit normal. Tourism, public transport, shopping malls, and markets are open again. Academic institutes are also going to be open soon in September.
Though we have crossed the dangerous part, the peak of the virus successfully with the least number of casualties. However, the nation needs to restart everyday life with complete precautions. The virus is still there and we know how dangerous it could be if we show a little bit of negligence again.