Current Pandemic Situation (globally)
Corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2. It has spread from China to many other countries around the globe. The viral disease that has swept into at least 114 countries, and killed more than 61,000 people is now officially a pandemic. COVID-19 has had negative impacts internationally, outbreak conditions (including those in the level of pandemic) and has affected numerous aspects of daily life- which includes travel, trade, food supplies and financial markets. There is currently no cure for the COVID-19. Since the World Health Organization (WHO) finally declared a pandemic, all eyes have turned to the development of a vaccine, as only a vaccine can prevent people from getting sick. Till then, countries around the world are putting efforts to prevent this virus spread, which include quarantines, travel restrictions, curfews, event postponement/cencellation, and so on.
How its affecting Pakistan
The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached Pakistan in February 2020. There are over 2700 confirmed cases in the country as of today- Punjab having the highest number of cases of over 1000. Lockdown of the country will lead to individuals who earn money on a daily basis (for example, fruit/vegetable hawkers, labors, etc.) suffering the most. This is because these daily-wagers will not have the purchasing power to buy even the basic necessities for themselves and their families. 25% of the total population of the country lies below the poverty line, and 20% just above it. This means about more than 80 million people in Pakistan, who are in poverty, will suffer more than before. Supply shortages in the country are expected to affect a number of sectors due to panic buying and increased usage of goods that help fight the pandemic. Moreover, Pakistan has also announced to close all of its land borders and limiting international flights for 15 days. This means no trade can take place. This can negatively affect the exports and imports of Pakistan, and can even lead to a trade deficit. Pakistan’s initial economic losses in different sectors of the country’s economy have been estimated to be about Rs1.3 trillion. There will also be a drop in the GDP growth due to the reduction in the services sector (airlines businesses, hotel businesses, retail businesses, etc.), decline in the imports and exports, reduction in remittances, disruption in supplies, and loss of revenue. Furthermore, the shutting down markets, restaurants, marriage halls, etc. will cause a great loss to the local businesses. Moreover, people around the country have been told to stay at their homes, practice social distancing, and avoid all the social gatherings and sports events which will also cause further financial damages to the individuals, as well as the economy as well.
How people should take care of themselves
Currently, there is no cure for the COVID-19. It spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze, or when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their mouth, nose or eyes. Therefore, it is imperative to take great care of yourself. Here are ways by which you can protect yourself from this virus:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water, or any alcohol-based hand rub (e.g. sanitizers)
- Wear masks and gloves when going out or coming in contact with other people
- Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow every time you sneeze or cough
- Maintain a distance of 6 feet with other individuals, especially those who are sick
- Stay home and practice self-isolation from others in the household if you feel unwell
- Get rest and stay hydrated