A second wave of COVID-19 has hit nations that had best managed to get the infection under control, to be specific, New Zealand and South Korea. Pakistan had reported an unexpectedly low rate of COVID-19 patients through July, and the downward trend has continued well into August, however, with the lock-down restrictions being lifted, the figures still sit in the three digits. By the latest daily tally, 630 new cases have been reported in Pakistan in the last 24 hours as of the writing of this article.
In New Zealand last week, four fresh cases were reported and a dozen more followed, ending the 102 days running without a new case. 89 new cases have been added to the tally since the second wave of corona virus outbreak. Prime Minister Jacinda Arden placed Auckland in a level 3 lock-down and the cases seem to be under control again with only 11 new cases today. Nine of these new cases are related to the community outbreak and two of the cases are not local. Of these nine, five are linked to different churches in South Auckland, whereas, four are from household contact.
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United States President Donald Trump said in a White House news conference that “New Zealand, by the way, had a big outbreak and other countries that were held up to try and make us look not as good as we should look, because we’ve done an incredible job, but they’re having a lot of outbreaks,” to which Arden replied, “I think everyone can see that in New Zealand today, we are talking 11 cases, whereas the United States has been dealing with over 40,000 cases,” adding that “it’s not just whether you have cases, it’s how you choose to deal with them as a nation, and I am personally very proud of how New Zealanders have taken to the battle with Covid-19.”
New Zealand neighboring Australia also had the outbreak contained until softened lock-down measures caused another outburst in Victoria. Ever since then, the virus has been contained due to a renewed focus on lock-downs.
Meanwhile, South Korea also saw a second wave of COVID-19 with the daily cases hitting the three digits, the first time ever since March. Health officials traced the outbreak to churches in Seoul where 3,275 church members were tested and 17% of those tested turned out positive. The surge in cases was traced mostly to the Sarang Jeil Church, which was related to 676 of the recent cases, and had been involved in an anti-government rally held on Saturday where a large congregation of church members was gathered.
The daily toll yesterday was 288 cases, slightly down from the 297 the day before on Wednesday, the highest number recorded in the country since the 8th of March. Of the record 297 cases, 150 have been reported from Seoul, whereas, 94 cases came from neighboring Gyeonggi Province. This brings the past week’s total to 1,300 new cases, mostly reported from the capital and surrounding areas.
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According to Yonhap news agency, the country has recorded almost 1,300 new cases over the past week, mostly reported from the capital Seoul and surrounding areas. “We are facing a critical juncture, as the outbreaks in the Seoul metropolitan area can lead to a new wave of nationwide pandemic,” the news agency quoted Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip as saying during his regular news briefing, adding that “for the next two weeks, we urge residents of the metropolitan area to stay home. They should only go outside on limited occasions, including going to work, purchasing necessities, and visiting hospitals.”
Many nations that had achieved a downward trend have seen a resurgence. Spain and Italy have seen a record number of cases since lifting the lock-downs, and other European countries such as France and Germany have also seen a spike with record number of cases in months. Asia has seen a similar trend, with neighboring India having doubled the number of cases in 20 days, hitting the 2 million mark and still climbing among easing lock-downs.
The drop in cases in Pakistan seems almost miraculous in contrast and nobody is quite sure as to the cause. Pakistan has a predominantly younger population and has fewer clusters of high population density than India which might be partly responsible. With the lock-down lifted, many have resumed life as usual, however, precautions must still be taken to ensure that a second wave of COVID-19 does not hit Pakistan as well.