With the alarmingly fast spread of the coronavirus in Pakistan, one could be forgiven for thinking that there is no effective way to combat this pandemic. Yet that is not true. With the right policies and diligent monitoring, it is possible to at least lower the spread and control the virus, slowly, day by day, even in a place like Pakistan which cannot afford a strict lockdown. The proof is in the pudding.

For the past few days, Pakistan’s coronavirus cases have shockingly been recorded as falling. According to the Health Ministry, 3,892 cases were confirmed across the country over the past 24 hours, raising the overall count to 188,926. The figure marked a fall of almost 3,000 from the record high of 6,895 reached slightly over a week ago on June 13. Wednesday marked the fifth day of declining cases – 6,604 on June 19, 4,951 on June 20, 4,471 on June 21, and 3,946 on June 22. The infection rate has gone down, as have the fatalities, falling from 153 deaths per day on June 19 to 60 on Wednesday.

This upward trend is a glimmer of hope in what can often seem like a hopeless battle against coronavirus. These results show that policies work; a smart lockdown is at play. After the disastrous surge of the virus in early June, the virus was taken more seriously by the authorities and it seems that SOPs are being more strictly observed in this new wave of this smart lockdown. Recognising that opening up the economy and placing the reliance entirely on people to observe SOPs was not an effective strategy, the government instead identified coronavirus hotspots to be targeted. This hotspot detection and area wise lockdown seems to have led to immediate results, as the statistics show.

These results are greatly encouraging. We need to keep up this trajectory now and expand the smart lockdown.