It is still too early to state definitely—but looking at the trends of the past weeks, it seems that Pakistan may be on its way to control the coronavirus pandemic. Since late June, new coronavirus cases have continued to decline. Last week, on Tuesday, the country recorded less than 2000 new cases, the lowest number of daily cases in months, compared to between 5000 and 6000 in May and June.

This trend of seeming decline was not predicted. Pakistan had been cited as a concern by the WHO, and experts had warned the government that cases could peak to a million by the end of July. That, thankfully, does not seem to be the case; currently, Pakistan has less than 70000 active cases.

Whether these numbers reflect the reality of the situation is debatable; concerns of how much testing is being done, and whether there are many asymptomatic cases which haven’t been detected, have been raised. Yet if the numbers show anything, it is that lockdowns and greater adherence to prevention mechanisms does work. The government’s strategy of smart lockdowns, in comparison to no lockdown, seems to have been the leading cause of this noticeable reduction of cases.

Yet we must not get overconfident. It is still too early to declare victory and the situation still has the potential to escalate. With religious holidays approaching, as well as people flocking to the north to escape the heat in the centre and south, the risk of more crowded spaces, thus more infection, is high. There is potential for another surge of the virus as people will inevitably crowd Eid markets, where SOPs will be difficult to enforce, as the last Eid has shown. The government and civilians thus need to be supremely careful to ensure that the positive trend detected is sustained and measures are taken to prevent any hint of a surge.