World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global health emergency after Coronavirus, has so far infected more than 132,758 people in 118 countries, and led to 4,955 deaths around the world. Besides its worst impacts on global economy, it has also affected Pakistan. The question now arises that how much?
We all know that the virus originated in China and it is the most affected country with the highest number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities of 3000 in the world followed by an unlikely country Italy which is thousands of miles away. Italy has the second most fatalities with over 1000 deaths from the virus but why? The answer lies in the age of its population and this assumption becomes more valuable after we see that Italy has the oldest population in Europe, with about 23% of residents being 65 or older.
According to a report available on the website of WHO the mortality rate in coronavirus is at 0% for ages zero to nine and jumps to 0.2% between the ages 10 to 39, the death ratio from the virus is 0.4% between the age of 40 to 49 and this ratio climes to 1.3% between the age of 50 to 59. As per the details the highest ratio of death is 3.6% between the ages of 60 to 69 and it reaches to the highest rate of 8% between the ages of 70 to 79.
However, if we apply this data on the demographics of Pakistan, it would be cleared that Pakistan’s age demographic is in great condition to combat the coronavirus in light of the data released by the WHO because as per the 2017 census Pakistan is the fifth most populous nation in the world with population of 207,774,520 and out of this an estimated 30% of the population is nine years old or younger whereas at least 50% of the population comes between the ages of 10 to 39 as per the official census in Pakistan only a small ratio of 3.5 % of people are above 65.
Besides many other steps towards the containment of virus, Pakistan while moving wisely on Friday temporarily announced a national quarantine and sealed borders with Iran and Afghanistan, closed all educational institutions and banned large gatherings at public places for three weeks, including wedding parties, to prevent the coronavirus pandemic from spreading in the region.
The preventative measures were announced after a meeting of National Security Council (NSC) held on Friday when officials raised to 28 the national tally of people infected with the virus. Pakistan, with a population of more than 200 million, has reported no fatalities since detecting its first confirmed case late last month.
State Minister of Health Zafar Mirza said that all of Pakistan’s cases were imported by its nationals returning from countries, including Iran, Syria, China and the United Kingdom. He said there were no local transmissions of the virus as of Friday.
Syrian authorities, however, are reported to have denied the presence of coronavirus on their soil, saying dozens of suspected cases have tested negative.
Mirza and other senior cabinet colleagues told a Friday night news conference that the decision to introduce emergency measures was taken at a meeting of the national Security Council chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan and attended by top civilian and military leaders.
“We are completely closing our western border with Iran and Afghanistan for all human and commercial traffic for two weeks,” Mirza said. The only overland border crossing with China will also remain closed for another two weeks for all traffic.
“This will allow us to boost existing screening systems at entry points there to prevent infected people from entering Pakistan,” Mirza said, adding the decision would be reviewed after two weeks.
Pakistan’s chief justices are being requested to instruct all courts not to schedule cases for three weeks, and no visitors will be allowed to visit prisoners in jails during this period, Mirza said.
On the other hand due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the Pakistan Army has also has cancelled the annual national day military parade scheduled for March 23 for the first time ever in the history of Pakistan.
Organizers of Pakistan’s largest national cricket competition, which features prominent international players, also shortened and closed its remaining matches to spectators. Many foreign players have opted to leave Pakistan.
In order to fight the coronavirus, a series of announcements were made to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, including a ban on Pakistani nationals from travelling via the Kartarpur Corridor. Indian pilgrims will, however, be allowed to use the corridor.
In a series of tweets, Prime Minister House announced a slew of measures being undertaken by the Pakistani government to deal with the coronavirus spread. Pakistan has also decided to hold talks with India and other SAARC nations on how to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
It has been decided that Kartarpur Sahib will be closed for all Pakistani nationals while the Darbar Sahib gurdwara will remain open for Indian nationals coming through the corridor.
In light of decisions and deliberations of NSC, it was also decided that the outgoing and incoming international flights will only be allowed at the Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad airports. Screening and administrative measures at these airports will be reinforced immediately for the purpose to avoid the spread of coronavirus in Pakistan.
The preventive measures taken by Pakistan are greatly admired and appreciated by the global community because so far it is the only way to stop the spread of this epidemic and China up to a great extent has stopped the spread of virus even without the invention of any vaccine.