A health worker checks the body temperature of a woman wearing a protective mask in Karachi, Pakistan. File/AP
Pakistan’s daily infection rate dropped below 3,000 for the second straight day, though medical experts caution it may be due to less testing.
Barely 21,000 tests for the coronavirus are carried out each day, compared to a peak of nearly 33,000. Still some medical professionals, particularly in the eastern city of Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province where nearly 60% of the country’s 220 million people live, are suggesting the virus may have peaked in June.
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Pakistan’s prime minister has mandated masks but enforcement and use are erratic and social distancing is limited. Still the government has implemented lockdowns on at least 800 markets, businesses and residential areas where hospots of the infection have emerged.
As of Wednesday, Pakistan has recorded 237,489 infections with 2,980 new cases recorded in the last 24 hours among 21,951 tests conducted. So far 4,922 people have died of the virus, with 80 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has resisted complete lockdowns, saying they would hit the poorest hardest. The poverty rate in Pakistan has climbed from around 30% to 40%, according to economists.Associated Press
Pakistan also reported 4,734 new virus cases, raising its overall infections to 93,983. The latest 97 virus-related deaths sees the highest 24-hour increase to its fatalities, as authorities urged volunteers to motivate people to adhere to social distancing regulations to contain the spread of the virus.
Further complicating the dilemma, as the government pins its main hope for stemming the virus’ rampage on social distancing and masks, many in the public ignore calls to use them.
Pakistan is also pushing toward 100,000 confirmed infections as Prime Minister Imran Khan warned the country's 220 million people in televised speeches that they are going to have to learn to live with the virus.
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