WHO urges Pakistan to return to lockdown as hospitals grapple with COVID-19 cases

WION Web Team New Delhi Jun 10, 2020, 05.01 PM(IST)

Coronavirus Photograph:( Reuters )

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While Pakistan has relatively low testing rates, one in four people who are tested return a positive result, the WHO said in a letter to Punjab’s provincial health minister, Yasmin Rashid. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged the Pakistan government to return to lockdown, suggesting the country implement restrictions in a cycle of two weeks on, two weeks off.

While Pakistan has relatively low testing rates, one in four people who are tested return a positive result, the WHO said in a letter to Punjab’s provincial health minister, Yasmin Rashid. 

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Prime Minister Imran Khan did not announce nationwide lockdown like many other countries, saying that the country cannot afford it, and provinces have instead introduced patchwork lockdowns. Last week Khan said these would be lifted. 

But, with 108,317 known cases and 2,172 confirmed deaths, hospitals across the south Asian country say they are at or near capacity, with some turning Covid-19 patients away. 

Globally, the WHO confirmed the biggest ever one-day rise in confirmed cases this week, with 136,000 cases in 24 hours, according to director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Most were from South Asia and South America.