Pakistan currently has the 10th-highest number of confirmed cases in Asia. 3rd-highest number of confirmed cases in South Asia after India.On 15 June, daily new confirmed case numbers reached their peak, with 6,825 new cases recorded, but since then, new daily cases and the percentage of people testing positive have trended downwards.
The distribution of COVID-19 in Pakistan is heavily concentrated in a few key areas. The city of Karachi (as of 5 September 2020) has recorded about 84,000 confirmed cases, making up about 28% of all cases of COVID-19 in Pakistan. Meanwhile, Lahore, the country’s second-largest city, has recorded (as of 5 September 2020) 49,000 cases of COVID-19, making up about 16% of the country’s cases.The national carrier, PIA decided to suspend the flight operation between Pakistan and China till 30 January due to the outbreak..On 13 March, President Dr. Arif Alvi in a special tweet, advised the public to avoid participation in mass gatherings.Pakistan also stopped all international flights, except those at Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore airports on the day.
It was also decided on 13 March at the National Security Council meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan that all schools and universities would be closed until 5 April. Pakistan closed its borders to travellers from Afghanistan at the Chaman border from 2 until 21 March. The border was only partially reopened later after 21 March for transportation of food items while pedestrian movement remained suspended. The Durand Line border was sealed from 16 March for at least two weeks. All land borders, including the China-Pakistan border with China were shut from 16 March.
On 21 March, all international flights were suspended for two weeks. The Civil Aviation Authority stated, “[The] government of Pakistan has decided to suspend operation of all international passenger, chartered and private flights to Pakistan, effective from March 21 till April 4”. This led to many citizens being stranded in the Middle East, Thailand and Malaysia. The Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed declared the suspension of 42 trains. The health ministry announced that 14 metric tonnes of PPE, “including face masks, thermometers, gloves [and] gowns”, had been dispatched to Pakistan on 22 March. The federal government offered financial assistance to Sindh by allotting the province $10 million from the non-development funds of the World Bank.
On 23 March, the nation celebrated Pakistan Day without any public gatherings or military parade. The Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Dr. Arif Alvi urged the nation to demonstrate unity, discipline and passion in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. The PM also stated that a complete lockdown of the country was not feasible as 25% of the population lives below the poverty line and would make their lives miserable. The government has over 35 hospitals across the country set up to deal with the outbreak, equipped with more than 118,000 beds.
On 26 March, Pakistan decided to seek $3.7 billion additional financing from three multilateral creditors including another loan of $1.4 billion from the International Monetary Fund to cope with the challenges being posed by the novel coronavirus outbreak. Adviser to the PM on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh announced at a news conference that the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank would also extend loans of $1 billion and $1.25 billion respectively to the country.The PM announced formation of youth force labelled ‘Corona Relief Tigers’ to help government in fight against the spread of coronavirus nationwide on 27 March. The force was distributed across the country and would be used to supply food items to people in their houses in case COVID-19 cases sharply rose in a locality.
Due to various lockdowns imposed by the regional governments, the goods transport system came to a halt in later March. Thus, the federal government decided on 29 March that highways and roads across the country would remain open to ensure the transportation of goods and also increased the number of freight trains to avert a shortage of food and other essential supplies. The Federal Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Dr. Fehmida Mirza announced to create a fund to cover all medical expenses of sports persons infected with COVID-19.