Muhammad Zubair Shahid
28th June 2020 the reported number of coronavirus infected patients was 212,326 globally, according to a report this was the highest number of patients reported in a single day ever since the outbreak of global pandemic. In Pakistan generally public did not consider coronavirus as a significant threat and most of them werein state of denial that even this virus exits, people did not take the precautionary measure prescribed by health professionals and government, as a result there was exponential increase in the spread. By now 234,509 people have been infected with the virus in Pakistan.
There is constant decline in the daily COVID-19 infected patients in Pakistan, which is contrary to the rest of world where respective governments have eased or lifted the lockdown. Government has claimed that smart lockdown strategy is proving to be successful and effective, nasty virus is pushed back and the number of cases is reduced by 40%.
On the other hand, the monthly burial data of two metropolitan cities (Lahore and Karachi) has shown spike in the burial rate compared to previous year. In Lahore last year June-19 1,744 burials took place vs 3,723 in June-2020 only 487 death were recorded due to COVID-19, in Karachi last year Jun-19 2,375 burials took place vs 3,594 in Jun-2020, whereas 118 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were buried in the graveyard as per official numbers.
People have many reasons to hide COVID related death, may people preferred to quarantine at home instead of admitting to a hospital due to insufficient medical facilities. Most of people were reluctant in sharing the COVID-19 positive test reports due to social pressures and ill treatment of government agencies specially Police and Healthcare staff. Government has introduced the protocols for Coronavirus infected funerals, limited number of people were allowed to offer the funeral prayer, and dead body was handled by the government officials.
To date government has not been able to achieve the benchmark testing criteria of 100,000 tests, as of now the government is performing almost 25,000 tests per day and currently test to positive ratio is 14%, which is still on the higher side. Opposition parties have criticized the government claims of pushing back the coronavirus, PMLN spokesperson said that number of deaths has increased many people are dying due to corona but they are neither tested nor treated.
There are many reasons to cast the doubt on the data provided by the government, first and the foremost reason is the number of death compared to last year have increased significantly in Lahore and Karachi the cause of death must be investigated for confirmation,it is quite possible that there can be uncounted corona fatalities or may be people with other diseases are reluctant to visit hospital due to corona pandemic, the countries where lockdown is lifted or eased the number of cases have spiked, WHO has also been warning countries that are lifting or easing the lock down. India is a comparable country in terms of demography and population density, despite strict lockdowns/curfew Indian government is not able to control the pandemic the new cases and death rate are increasing at faster pace.
The Writer is a qualified accountant ACMA and CGMA from The Chartered Institute Of Management Accountants London UK.