COVID-19: Why India’s Cases are Increasing While Pakistan Has Almost Overcome The Pandemic?

With similar socio-economic circumstances in both the countries, Pakistan managed to straighten the curve

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With more than 100,000 cases reported daily, India has become the epicenter of the coronavirus. In contrast to this however, the number of cases and deaths in Pakistan have been shockingly low. 

With a large population density and inadequate healthcare services, both South Asian countries were predicted to suffer severely from the pandemic. India sees the largest number of cases in the continent and second-highest globally, with cases crossing the 5.49 million mark with over 87,000 fatalities. On the other hand, Pakistan has recorded only 306,304 cases with over 6000 deaths.

With similar socio-economic circumstances in both the countries, how did Pakistan manage to straighten the curve?

According to a report published in The Diplomat, The Chief of National Command and Operations Center, Asad Umar explained Pakistan’s strategy saying, “Media played an imperative role in creating awareness, which was supported by our quarantine program, testing, and contact tracing.

Umar added, “We managed to increase testing capacity in a brief period and implemented an advanced tracking method that ran through the ground to the apex level.”

Lockdown Strategy

The lockdown imposed in both countries had a glaring difference. While India went into a complete lockdown, Pakistan was strategically based. In his speech to the nation, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the country could not afford to go on a full lockdown.

“If our economic conditions were like America, Italy, France, or England, I would have completely locked down Pakistan,” the Prime Minister said in an address to the nation on the 22nd of March.

The approach also helped Pakistan in preventing the economic hardship that came after the lockdown.

Meanwhile, India’s total lockdown trapped workers in the big cities, followed by massive migration. Experts have argued that while the labor movement from cities to villages was low in Pakistan, the virus that came to cities through international travelers stayed in the cities only.

On the other hand, due to India’s massive relocation, the virus was spread across the country, including the small towns and villages.

Demographics

Another significant factor is the demographics of the population. While India’s average age is 28.7, and Pakistan’s is 22. The fatality rate is higher in countries with an older population.

In association with the World Health Organization, a seroprevalence study conducted in July revealed that 11% of Pakistanis have developed the coronavirus antibodies while 89% remain at risk.

A research conducted from May to July at the National Institute of Blood Diseases Karachi and published by the Oxford University Press Journal of Public Health, suggests that the chances of the second wave in Pakistan are slim. It further strengthens the government strategy of re-opening industries.

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