The COVID-19 pandemic is the one of the biggest global health crisis that the world has ever experienced. As the world continues to struggle through it, we must examine how well Pakistan has managed it and how Pakistan emerged as one of the best crisis management country in Asia. Starting from the date of first infection in Pakistan, to the smart lock-down that was imposed, Pakistan has done a good job of crisis-management. At the same time, the government has also ensured that the state of the economy is considered.
First COVID-19 case postponed: good crisis management
After the first Covid19 case was detected in China in November 2019, Pakistan closed its borders and took other steps as well to curb the transmission of the virus. As a result of this, the first case in Pakistan occurred in the last week of February. This was a smart move by Pakistan which helped postpone the transmission of the virus.
Among South Asian counties, Nepal was the first to report a confirmed COVID-19 case on January 13, 2020. Then, on January 27, 2020, the fist COVID-19 case was reported in Kerala, India. And, the first case reported in Bangladesh was on March 8, 2020.
National Lock-down imposed to curb virus transmission
A strict lock-down was imposed in Pakistan on March 16 and a number of industries including the construction, leisure and restaurant industry were closed down. Educational industries were also closed down. Furthermore the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) worked to ensure a timely supply of medical equipment and healthcare-related supplies to hospitals. This ensured a good coordination between the provinces as well.
This caused a severe blow to the economy and drastically affected peoples livelihoods and employment. Many firms had to lay off workers due to a severe drop in business activity. For industries dependent on imports, there were major problems caused by the lock-down and restrictions on imports.
Lock-down effective for crisis management
While the lock-down caused a lot of grievances for the labour force in Pakistan, it was a prudent move in terms of crisis management and greatly helped reduce the spread of CoronaVirus infections in the country.
According to a study conducted by Danny Haydon and Neeraj Kumar, the top 5 industries most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic were airlines, leisure facilities, oil and gas drilling, auto-parts and equipment and restaurants.
In August, the construction industry was allowed to operate once again and National Coordination Committee (NCC) lifted COVID-19 restrictions on tourism, restaurants and the transport sector. This was a great relief for industries in Pakistan and was a step towards undoing the negative effects of the nearly 6-month long national lock-down.
However, in anticipation of the second wave of COVID-19, people must respect the mask-wearing policy in public spaces and avoid large gatherings. In order to combat the pandemic, Pakistanis must take this virus seriously and follow proper Sops.
On September 7, 2020, WHO Director-General praised Pakistan’s management of the pandemic. He stated that Pakistan had deployed the mechanisms developed in the struggle to erase polio from the country. Community workers that were already trained to carry out door-to-door checking did a good job of administering testing for the Corona-virus and surveillance.
As of today, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan is 440,787, with 384,719 recovered and 8,832 deaths. With the start of vaccine testing, it is hoped that this pandemic will be overcome soon.
- https://www.dawn.com/news/1578971 report on Pakistan’s COVID-19 management
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7530459/#:~:text=We%20present%20here%20the%20first,dry%20cough%20and%20sore%20throat. First case in India
- https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30067-0/fulltext first case in Nepal
- https://www.garda.com/crisis24/news-alerts/320606/bangladesh-first-cases-of-covid-19-confirmed-march-8 first case in Bangladesh
- https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340127229_The_first_COVID-19_case_in_Afghanistan_acquired_from_Iran first case in Afghanistan
- https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/blog/industries-most-and-least-impacted-by-covid19-from-a-probability-of-default-perspective-september-2020-update impacted industries
- https://www.who.int/director-general/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19—7-september-2020 WHO-Director General comments
- https://covid.gov.pk/ total cases in Pakistan