Islamabad, Jun 8 (efe-epa).- Pakistan on Monday crossed 100,000 cases of Covid-19 with more than 2,000 deaths, while rumors have emerged in the country questioning the disease and alleging that doctors are paid money to declare patients as infected with the novel coronavirus.
Pakistan, a country of 207 million people, has recorded a total 103,620 cases and 2,067 deaths as of Monday, according to official records.
Last week, the average daily infections doubled to 4,458 compared to the week before, a development which can be partly attributed to a higher number of tests being conducted.
Similarly, the average deaths per day reached 77 last week, compared to the 55 recorded during the previous seven days.
However, experts claim that the increase in number of cases and deaths is largely due to the government’s decision to almost completely lift lockdown measures in early May, weeks before Eid festivities at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan justified the end of lockdown measures on grounds of the country’s poor economic condition, stressing that a large part of Pakistani workers are poor, an argument he has maintained since the beginning of the crisis.
Currently, almost all shops and offices remain open, except for schools and restaurants, which continue to be closed.
After declaring the end of lockdown, the government imposed precautionary measures such as the use of masks and observing social distance in public places, among other measures.
In the face of the massive violation of these rules, the government last week began to impose fines and close businesses found violating them.
But the authorities are now facing a new problem – rumors that call into question the entire coronavirus pandemic.
In recent days, rumors have been circulating about doctors receiving payments from the World Health Organization and other international institutions for every patient they declare as a carrier of the coronavirus.
This practice, according to the unfounded allegations, has led to an exaggerated number of coronavirus cases, a claim the government has denied.
“Conspiracy theories/misinformation is continuing to take root at an alarming level with rumors circulating that the government is conducting tests to inaccurately project number of positive results in order to maximize foreign aid/remittances circulating,” the prime minister tweeted on Monday.
The government advocates an “effective public outreach to debunk rumors and informing the public is highly recommended, especially in rural areas.” EFE-EPA