The COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan that wreaked havoc throughout the country has followed an unstable trajectory. The virus that hit the nation in early 2020, has spread over four waves.
In this article, we’ll take a look at all the events that unfolded in the country amidst the COVID-19 pandemic from the beginning to the present.
Table of Contents
First Reported Cases of COVID-19 in Pakistan
The first two confirmed cases of coronavirus in Pakistan were reported back in February 2020.
The very first case was a 22-year old youth who had traveled to Karachi from Iran by plane on 20th February 2020. After being diagnosed with COVID-19 on 26th February 2020 at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) he was placed in quarantine along with his family.
Another case was reported in PIMS Islamabad. The affected person had reportedly traveled to Iran a month ago.
After the confirmation of these two cases special assistant to the prime minister on health Dr. Zafar Mirza tweeted:
More cases continued to be reported in March 2020 as the pandemic started to spread during the first wave. On 3rd March 2020, a 5th case was reported in the country. A woman from Gilgit Baltistan who had traveled back from Iran tested positive for the virus.
Dr. Zafar Mirza announced the news in a tweet:
On 9th March, a further 9 new cases were reported. This took the tally to 16 reported cases in Pakistan, 13 of them being from Sindh.
In a meeting on the 13th March 2020 the National Security Committee (NSC) took several decisions to curb the spread of coronavirus in Pakistan. The major decisions included:
- International flights would operate only from Lahore, Islmabad and Karachi airports
- Schools were closed till April 5
- A 2-week ban on public gatherings including weddings
- Cancellation of Pakistan Day Parade
- PSL matches would be held in empty stadiums
The number of reported cases continued to rise and had reached 31 by 14th March 2020.
First Reported Death
On 18th March 2020, Pakistan confirmed the first death due to coronavirus in the country.
On 23rd March a major lockdown with several restrictions was imposed in Punjab. The lockdown period was 09.00 AM, Tuesday, 24th March 2020 till 09.00 AM, Tuesday, 7th April 2020
On 24th March 2020, a decision was taken for a 15-day lockdown in the Azad Kashmir and Sindh province till April 7
By 31st March the total number of reported cases in the country stood at 2039 along with 26 reported deaths.
Pandemic Relief Fund
Imran Khan announced on Twitter on April 1st, 2020 that a Prime Minister’s COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund had been set up to support people hit by the pandemic. Here is his tweet:
On April 2, 2020, Asad Umar announced that the lockdown in various parts of the country would be extended till April 14, 2020, to help curtail the spread of the virus. This was further extended to 9th May 2020.
By 10th March the total number of confirmed cases in the country reached 5038.
By 22 April 2020, the total reported cases of coronavirus in Pakistan had crossed 10,000.
On April 23, 2021, the NCOC took some important decisions which included numerous restrictions with the aim of controlling the spread of the pandemic. Here are the decisions that were made:
End of Lockdown
The lockdown in Pakistan finally ended on 9th May 2020. By 21 May 2020, the total reported cases reached 48000 with 1017 deaths and 14,155 recoveries.
In June 2020 there was a spike in COVID-19 cases in Pakistan which reach 4000 per day for the first time.
Smart lockdowns were announced throughout Pakistan early in June 2020. The reasoning behind them was to ensure that the country could avoid a serious economic and industrial collapse brought about by a complete lockdown.
From July 15th Pakistan allowed exports from Afghanistan to India through the Wagah border after taking the preventive measures for COVID-19
On 31, December 2020 the Minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry announced that Pakistan will purchase 1.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation (CNPGC) or Sinopharm. It was also announced that frontline healthcare workers will be administered free doses of the vaccine in early 2021.
Mr. Fawad Chaudhry said in a tweet:
The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) made registrations for COVID-19 vaccinations open for frontline health workers on January 10, 2021. They were among the first people to receive the vaccines in both private and public hospitals.
The Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine or AZD1222 vaccine was approved for emergency use in Pakistan on January 16, 2021, followed by the approval of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine by The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP).
On January 21, China agreed to provide 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine to Pakistan for free. Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced the news on Twitter.
The first doses of the Sinopharm vaccine were received on February 1, 2021.
Moreover, a new, single-dose vaccine manufactured by CanSino Biologics namely AD5-nCOV, or Convidecia was approved for emergency use in Pakistan.
- Indoor wedding ceremonies were allowed once again
- A requirement that 50% of a company’s employees should work from home was removed
- Time restrictions on commercial activities were lifted
- Reopening of cinemas (Later revoked)
- Indoor dining was reopened
By March 2021 the vaccinations in Pakistan had sped up and reached a total of 197,000. The NCOC played a key role in vaccine administration devising a simple 6-step procedure by which citizens could get vaccinated easily.
Numerous vaccination centers were made available in different cities across the country to make this happen.
On June 22, 2021, it was announced that National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had made an agreement with Pfizer Pakistan to procure 13 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (BNT162b2).
On August 4, 2021, in a tweet by PTI it was announced that a milestone set by NCOC to administered 1 million vaccines in a single day in Pakistan had been achieved.
The Current Situation
Coming to the preset COVID-19 situation in the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has been contained thanks to the efforts of the government of Pakistan and NCOC. However, the threat isn’t over yet.
Here are the vaccine statistics in Pakistan as of 27th August 2021
Tests, Positive Cases and Deaths
Here are the overall coronavirus statistics for 27th August 2021 according to NCOC
Pakistan is currently going through the 4th wave of coronavirus which poses a serious threat if not dealt with adequately. The number of daily coronavirus cases and deaths in the country are reportedly again on the rise.
COVID-19 Statistics [Updated 27th, August, 2021]
Timeline (New Cases)
Timeline (Reported Deaths)
Reported Cases By Province
Vaccination Milestone Achieved
On 27th August 2021, the NCOC congratulated the nation for having achieved the milestone of 5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. This is definitely a landmark all citizens of Pakistan must be proud of.
As per the guidance of NCOC all those people who haven’t yet been vaccinated should get it done as soon as possible!
When Will COVID-19 in Pakistan End?
It is difficult to predict exactly when this ordeal will be over. With the arrival of the 4th wave in the country and new strains of the virus like delta variant and epsilon variant being detected, it seems this pandemic will still take some time to settle down and may linger on for a little longer than previously suspected.
Nonetheless, we must follow all the required SOP’s and play our role in containing the spread of the virus.
Following SOPs and getting vaccinated is the only way we can protect ourselves and our fellow Pakistani citizens from this deadly epidemic.
According to Dr. Faheem Younas (University of Maryland UCH)
“The virus is here to stay but it isn’t “novel” anymore.”
Here’s his tweet: