It was only a matter of time before another pandemic, like the 1918 influenza, hit us. Some back this prediction by scientific data and some just enlist the horrific human activities. Activities that have caused havoc and mutations of all sorts. The coronavirus pandemic is a fine example of that. It is slowly shaping up as a global tragedy, one that has engulfed the entire world, as we speak. Here are the top 10 coronavirus issues in Pakistan
Pakistan is no exception to this sad state of affairs. The alarming statistics urge us to have a closer look at the coronavirus issues in Pakistan. Only knowledge of these unprecedented challenges can help us in having a chance of any sort against this deadly contagion.
1- Diagnostic Testing
As of 7 April, Pakistan has a COVID-19 testing capacity of 3000 diagnostic tests a day. For a country with a population of 220 million, this is hardly a satisfying number. The state is using all its resources to increase the testing capacity so that isolating the infected individuals can be done at a quicker pace. However, it is a challenge to acquire more diagnostic kits from the world, as the world itself suffers.
2- Protective equipment shortage
N95 masks. You must have heard a lot about these masks in the last few weeks or so. But forget about these, in Pakistan, you will see people wearing masks which are made of common clothing pieces. Not very effective. Not only N95, but the country also faces a shortage of hand sanitizers and other protective gear.
3- Not enough PPE for front line fighters
Doctors and nurses need a bunch of protective gear to fight the coronavirus, more than anyone else does. This gear is commonly known as the personal protective equipment or PPE. However, one of the major coronavirus issues in Pakistan is the limited number in which PPE is being supplied to the doctor. This puts the doctors at many risks, as certain cases have been reported already where the healthcare staff got the virus.
Pakistan ranks on 105 in the Global Health Index. The country’s preparedness to fight a pandemic was always going to be in question. However, as the number of critical patients’ surges and even more worrying problem looms in the nearby future. Ventilators are an essential tool in helping COVID-19 patients who have developed viral pneumonia. These patients require a higher level of oxygen and hence, ventilators serve as a crucial bridge in recovering these patients.
A breakdown on the provincial level tells us that KP province has 150, Baluchistan has 49, and Punjab has 1300. Sindh has around 500 of these medical devices, including both the public and private sectors. These are not going to be enough to fight coronavirus in Pakistan. More ventilators on an immediate basis need to be imported from other countries.
5- Need for more Isolation centers
Public sector hospitals must not be used as quarantine facilities. There is always a risk that this viral infection tends to affect patients who suffer from severe disorders, more severely. There are not enough quarantine centers as of now. The state has to tackle this problem as one of the leading coronavirus issues in Pakistan.
6- Compliance with government strategies
On 13 March, the government of Pakistan decided to close all the educational institutions in the country. In the weeks that followed, provincial governments announced lockdowns as well. However, because of the fragile household economy, Pakistani’s are finding it hard to stay at home. Daily wagers in particular still leave their houses in the morning and come back in the evening, though admittedly with fewer quid than ever. Unless social distancing is practiced in its truest meaning, one cannot hope to eradicate the coronavirus from the country any sooner.
7- Religion’s impact on social distancing
Despite the country’s Council of Islamic Ideology’s appeal, people flock to mosques on a daily basis. The situation becomes even worse on Fridays, the day reserved for weekly congregational prayers. Some of the clerics still believe that the coronavirus is a hoax, and one must not desert the house of Almighty i.e. a mosque. This is perhaps, the most sensitive coronavirus issue in Pakistan, which the state is approaching with too much caution.
8- Everyone is a Virologist
Then there are the quacks who dominate social media in Pakistan. These are desperate times and people will cling on to anything, as long as it gives them hope. Ridiculous WhatsApp audio notes, Facebook posts, and Tweets have flooded the social media, all of which suggest COVID-19 treatments of most bizarre nature.
Excessive acquisition of items always happens, when there are fear and panic. And that is what has happened in this crisis also. The moment lockdowns were announced, hoarding of daily life items peeked. This is a side effect of the coronavirus issue in Pakistan, which continues to create fear among the masses.
10- The overall morale
While the Pakistanis are a very happy nation in general, the recent state of affairs has made them all panicky and fear-stricken. Of all the coronavirus issues in Pakistan, this perhaps is the most devastating one, even if does not seem to be. A major diversion is seriously in order!
The state is using all its resources to fight the coronavirus pandemic. However, Pakistanis need to help the state in this regard. Disinfection, sanitization and social distancing are the three magical words that can help eradicate most of the coronavirus issues in Pakistan!