COVID Watch | 30th July 2020


Concern over reduced testing

The World Health Organization (WHO) expressed its concerns over reduced testing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, after recent swab tests revealed a positivity rate of 19%, prompting the call for increasing testing. Meanwhile, a Johns Hopkins University report claimed that the drop in COVID-19 cases in Pakistan may likely be due to underreporting and reduced testing. The report cited a study by Getz Pharma which tested 24,210 Pakistanis in urban locales, revealing a positivity rate of 17.5% against current official government statistics which stand at 5%.

Pakistanis unconcerned with virus

An online study by the Agha Khan University (AKU) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) revealed that Pakistanis were less concerned with the ongoing pandemic than residents of Hong Kong. Against a sample of 1,406 adult Pakistanis surveyed in the first two weeks of May, one in six believe they and their families are safe from the virus even without precautions. Pakistanis were also less likely to seek out information related to symptoms and precautionary measures.

Virus not seasonal: WHO

WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris confirmed during a press briefing in Geneva that the COVID-19 pandemic is not seasonal as it behaves differently than seasonal influenza. She also discourages thinking of the pandemic as a series of waves, rather it should be looked at as one big, sustained wave and that the focus of governments and their peoples should be to flatten the curve.

Balochistan may undergo lockdown

Balochistan government spokesperson Liaqat Shahwani warned of a complete province-wide lockdown if cases resurge after Eid al-Azha. He urged people to observe extreme precaution in the days following Eid due to shopping, and cautioned that people and traders found violating SOPs will be dealt with strictly.