On Monday, June 15, Pakistani authorities identified 20 cities as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) hotspots. As a result, selected areas of major cities where more than 300 cases have been identified have been placed in a 'smart lockdown' from Tuesday, June 16. Parts of Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi, Quetta, Rawalpindi, and Lahore are included in these measures. A full list of cities affected can be found here. The localized lockdowns allow authorities to implement restrictive measures for containment in an effort to curb the spread of the virus, including sealing entry and exit points of some cities. Food stores and pharmacies will remain open in areas under lockdown. The lockdowns are to remain in place for at least two weeks.
Pakistan lifted its previous countrywide lockdown last month, introducing new regulations governing the reopening of markets, industries, and public transport, as well as making the wearing of face masks and social distancing mandatory. However, authorities stated that many markets and shops had been forced to close following breaches of the new rules, especially during the holiday period of Eid al-Fitr at the end of May. Prime Minister Imran Khan has stated that despite the rise in COVID-19 cases, Pakistan would not reenter a strict lockdown, as Pakistan's economy was too fragile.
As of Wednesday, June 17, health authorities have confirmed 148,921 COVID-19 cases and 2975 associated deaths in Pakistan. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
Copyright and Disclaimer