Pakistan has confirmed nearly 15,000 Coronavirus cases so far with Punjab being in the lead as approximately 6,000 cases emerged. Following closely is Sindh with around 5,200 cases.
To date, Punjab has carried out approximately 76,000 Coronavirus tests while Sindh has conducted around 56,000 tests.
However, since the past week, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) have inexplicably reduced the number of daily tests being carried out while Sindh has enhanced its testing capabilities in the wake of the worryingly stark increase in the number of daily cases. The situation in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is contrary to the recommendations of the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom, who urged for conducting as many tests as possible.
Dr. Tedros SOT
This reduction in daily testing comes at a time when lockdown restrictions are being eased and markets and mosques are crowded due to Ramzan.
While the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on COVID-19 has announced an increase in daily testing, the Punjab Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare, Dr. Yasmin Rashid, stated that Punjab is capable of carrying out 5,000 tests every day, however, these tests cannot be conducted randomly.
Dr. Yasmin Rashid SOT
Meanwhile, the KP government stated that the capacity for conducting daily tests is being increased in the province and that a reasonable number of tests are being done.
Regarding this matter, President of the Pakistani Medical Association’s (PMA) Lahore chapter, Dr. Ashraf Nizami, claimed that the situation could become dire if the government deliberately reduces testing.
Dr. Ashraf Nizami SOT
So far, countries that have reported a marked decrease in the emerging Coronavirus cases were able to control the spread of the virus by conducting widespread tests. Medical experts in Pakistan are of the view that the government should increase testing rather than reduce it, and enforce a stricter lockdown to prevent a national disaster.