While the Coronavirus pandemic may not completely be over, a number of countries have started to report a decline in its cases and a flattening of its curve. Pakistan happens to be one of those countries. And now, the World Health Health Organisation (WHO) has listed Pakistan among seven countries that it says the world can learn from to fight future pandemics.
Pakistan’s declining covid-19 cases have been termed a mystery but the country has been successful in flattening the curve despite its fragile healthcare system and growing population. While the virus appears to be spreading in a number of developing countries, Pakistan is witnessing a steady decline in its curve and number of new cases.
The pandemic has thus far infected around 27.5 million people across the globe and killed over 900,000 people since its outbreak last year in December. Different countries adopted different measures to cope with the virus, while looking towards China where it all began. World Economic Forum (WEF), WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus while speaking at a seminar, highlighted seven countries, amongst many, whose preparation and response offer lessons for the rest of the world in how to deal with a global pandemic.
Pakistan was listed among the seven countries which also include Italy, Thailand, Mongolia, Mauritius and Uruguay. “Pakistan has used the infrastructure it developed in its fight against polio to tackle Covid-19,” said the director general. “Community health workers, previously used to vaccinate children for polio, have been redeployed for contact tracing and monitoring,” he went on to add.
He commented on each country and the methods they deployed to tackle the pandemic. On Thailand, he said the country has benefited from 40 years of health system strengthening. “A well-resourced medical and public health system is supported by strong leadership. Coupled with 1 million village health volunteers, and strong communication, the nation has built trust and compliance and confidence among the general population,” he said.
Italy was one of the hardest hit regions in Europe and in the world for that matter. It was one of the first countries to experience a large outbreak outside of China. It “took hard decisions based on the evidence and persisted with them”. He explained that there was unity among the people which helped bring the outbreak under control. Similarly, Mongolia too reacted swiftly. It activated its State Emergency Committee in January and still has no reported deaths.
According to WHO, a number of other countries have also done well. Countries including Japan, New Zealand and Vietnam have managed better in their fight against the novel Coronavirus because of lessons learned during previous outbreaks of disease, such as SARS or Ebola.
As of now, Pakistan has had 290,875 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 287,950 having recovered. There have been 6,365 deaths, which fares much lower than its Indian counterpart who have had over 75,000 deaths. While Pakistan has conducted only 2.8 million tests; which experts have argued are far fewer than required, the country has witnessed fewer people testing positive and hospitals seeing fewer patients coming in with the disease.