Despite all odds and predictions, despite being the world’s sixth most populated country and having limited medical infrastructure, Pakistan has managed to evade the worst of the coronavirus pandemic and has fared much better than other neighbouring countries. This reality has puzzled international organisations and media, as they analyse how Pakistan became a relative success story.

While it is difficult to ascertain statistics and the extent of how widespread the coronavirus is, it cannot be denied, no matter how many criticisms there are with the testing numbers, that the virus has significantly diminished in Pakistan. In mid-June, government ministers were warned that cases of COVID-19 could hit 1.2 million by the end of July, Miraculously, the actual numbers are less than a fifth of that projection. Even if testing has not increased, as some have criticised, other factors also indicate a strong drop in illness, as hospital admissions appeared to fall drastically, as did the number of recorded deaths. The proportion of tests registering positive have also fallen.

International observers and doctors have considered various reasons why Pakistan has come out in a relatively better condition than its neighbours. Whether one agrees with the policy or not, it cannot be denied that the government’s “smart lockdown” strategy has produced results and must have played a part in lowering the number of cases. Other reasons may have also led to Pakistan’s relatively low infection rate, including a large amount of young population in the country, high rainfall or complex scientific questions like robust immune systems spurred by regular immunisation.

Again, it is nearly impossible currently to determine the true reason for the fall in covid-19 cases in Pakistan, since the lockdowns have been imperfect and there has still been a high amount of social interaction. The uncertainty should remind us that the situation is still very precarious—the danger has not yet passed us. The decreasing rate has been infamously inconsistent around the world—the government should still be vigilantly cautious.