COVID Watch | 08th August 2020


Another COVID-19 death in KP

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s death toll rises to 1,222 as a patient in Battagram district lost their lives to the novel coronavirus disease on Friday, August 7. 107 new cases were also reported across the province, contributing to a provincial total of 34,539 cases, of whom 31,447 have recovered so far. There are currently 1,870 active cases, as per official figures, which also place the recovery rate at 82%. Meanwhile, the testing rate in Khyber Pakhtunkwa has increased steadily over the past two days.

Experts against relaxing lockdown

Experts have come out against the government’s decision to ease restrictions, warning of a possible surge in the number of cases and deaths.

The state made the controversial choice to lift many pandemic-related regulations after a nationwide decrease in COVID-19 cases. This follows months of intermittent lockdowns, which proved successful to an extent in lowering the death rate and, according to (disputed) government numbers brought the recovery rate to around 85%.

Experts expressed their concerns that reopening marriage halls, cinemas, and other such public spaces will cause a major spike in cases on top of the surge reported after Eid-ul-Azha. Dr. Nasim Akhtar was among the many whose medical facility received an influx of new coronavirus patients after Eid-ul-Azha, and opined that the government should keep public spaces locked down for a minimum of two weeks, (about the time the novel coronavirus disease incubates), an attitude shared by Dr Qaiser Sajjad, Secretary General of the Pakistan Medical Association, who criticized the decision for being too rushed.

Fatalities in Sindh and Rawalpindi

According to a statement from Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, nine people succumbed to the virus over the past 24 hours, while the total number of deaths in the province now rests at 2,259.

Furthermore, 487 new infections were detected from 12,420 tests. The total number of recorded cases in Sindh now stands at 123,246, of which 114,965 people have reportedly recovered. Just under half the new cases; 221 were reported from Karachi. Meanwhile, Islamabad and Rawalpindi saw three deaths in the same 24-hour timeframe, raising the death toll in the twin cities to 446. Moreover, 47 new cases were recorded in the area, bringing the total case count to 21,103.

Punjab sees resurgence in COVID-19

According to the Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare department, COVID-19 cases in Punjab recorded a sudden spike of 277 fresh cases on August 5, from 235 recorded on August 4, as the provincial total reaches 94,223 by August 7. The increase was recorded across 28 provincial districts, showing that the pandemic is leaving few places untouched. Meanwhile two more succumbed to the virus in the past 24 hours.

Cases this week neared the 200 infection mark, compared to barely 100 infections being reported in the week prior. Some medical specialists were unfazed by this spike, dismissing it as normal and expected, but others warned that it may signal the arrival of the much feared second wave of the contagion. Lahore has been the worst hit so far, with over hundreds in new infections originating in the metropolis.

Most provinces have seen some sort of rise in coronavirus cases after Eid-ul-Azha, proving experts who predicted that there would be a spike at least partially correct. It will take at least another week to complete the 14 day incubation of the novel coronavirus disease, at the end of which the full impact of Eid-ul-Azha on the pandemic can be determined.

The health department urged the public to adhere to SOPs such as wearing masks, sanitizing, and washing their hands to curtail transmissions. They also encouraged those with coronavirus symptoms to contact the relevant helpline.