Pakistan’s daily infection rate dropped below 3,000 for the second straight day, though medical experts caution it may be due to less testing.
Barely 21,000 tests for the coronavirus are carried out each day, compared with a peak of nearly 33,000. Still some medical professionals, particularly in the eastern city of Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province where nearly 60 percent of the country’s 220 million people live, are suggesting the virus may have peaked in June.
Pakistan’s prime minister has mandated masks but enforcement and use are erratic and social distancing is limited. Still the government has implemented lockdowns on at least 800 markets, businesses, and residential areas where hotspots of the infection have emerged.
As of July 8, Pakistan had recorded 237,489 infections with 2,980 new cases recorded in the past 24 hours among 21,951 tests conducted. So far 4,922 people have died of the virus, with 80 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has resisted a complete lockdown, saying it would hit the poorest hardest. The poverty rate in Pakistan has climbed from around 30 percent to 40 percent, according to economists.