The COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan is part of the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was confirmed to have reached Pakistan on 26 February 2020, when two cases were recorded (a student in Karachi who had just returned from Iran and another person in the Islamabad Capital Territory).
Pakistan currently has the 5th-highest number of confirmed cases in Asia, after India, Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, the 2nd-highest number of confirmed cases in South Asia after India, and the 15th highest number of confirmed cases in the world. On 13 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. In late June, the number of active cases in Pakistan stabilized and beginning in July, started showing a significant decrease.
As of 19 August 2020 there have been about 291,000 confirmed cases, 273,000 recoveries, and 6,200 deaths in the country. Sindh has recorded the most cases at about 127,000, and has also recorded the most deaths due to COVID-19, about 2,300 to date.The country was put under a nation-wide lockdown from April 1 and extended twice until 9 May Upon its end, the lockdown was eased in phases.The distribution of COVID-19 in Pakistan is heavily concentrated in a few key areas. The city of Karachi (as of 16 August 2020) has recorded about 90,000 confirmed cases, making up more than 30% of all cases of COVID-19 in Pakistan.
By 18 March, the first case of coronavirus was reported from Azad Kashmir. The provinces of Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan saw an increase of cases by 36 and 10 respectively. New cases were also reported in other provinces. A patient from Hyderabad was also discharged after recovering in Sindh province, making the total number of recovered cases 5. A total of 302 positive cases were confirmed in Pakistan on 18 March.The first two deaths due to the virus in the country were also confirmed on the day. Both were reported from the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
On 24 March, Sindh and Balochistan observed lockdown until 7 April, while Azad Kahmsir went under it until 13 April respectively.Punjab also imposed lockdown on 24 March, but only until 6 April.In Sindh, the local police detained 472 people in various districts of the province the same day in violation of the lockdown, with 222 of them in Karachi alone and a total of 72 FIRs were registered on 24 March. The cases pertained to hoarding and profiteering of safety masks and hand sanitisers, large gatherings, opening shops and restaurants and travelling in passenger buses.
The country reported an additional 118 cases on 29 March, taking the total to 1,526. One death each was reported in the provinces of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, taking the total number of deceased to 13. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa developed and disseminated quarantine discontinuation guidelines.Also on the day, five Pakistani nationals visiting India on medical visas returned home via the Wagah border after being stranded in Noida and New Delhi due to the countrywide 21-day lockdown imposed by the Indian government.Two of them tested positive for the virus on 31 March.
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. The same time period also applied to the land border with Iran after reopening it on 7 March from a previous closure. All land borders, including the China-Pakistan border with China were shut from 16 March.
The Ministry of Planning has estimated that 12.3 million to 18.5 million people will become jobless due to pandemic. Moreover, it is estimated that the number of unemployed people in Pakistan will reach 6.65 million in the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The COVID-19 pandemic is cited to be one of the largest factors causing the increase in the unemployment rate, particularly among vulnerable employment groups and daily wage workers.