Yet again there is a claim by the opposition that the government has reduced the number of coronavirus tests being conducted to make it look as if the curve is flattening. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari this time accused the PTI government of putting people’s lives in danger by reducing testing capacity “on purpose”. Indeed the press too reported of a number of instances, no matter how accidental, during the recent limited lockdown of testing teams being refused permission to enter certain areas because they were quarantined. And it is also true that a lot of people who show mild symptoms these days prefer to quarantine themselves at home rather than go for the test unless the situation is serious.
The government denies all this, of course, and instead pats itself on the back all the time for doing a very nice job of it. But that is exactly why it must launch an immediate investigation into the matter to put all rumours, if that is really all they are, to rest. It should require neither too much time nor too many resources. All that needs to be done is conduct the testing completely transparently and let the media observe what is really happening. This is not one of those things that government and opposition should play a blame game over. The situation demands that everybody, from both sides of the aisle, aid the national fight against the coronavirus. Therefore, if the opposition feels that the government might be letting people down by lowering the test count, it must be provided credible assurances.
If the government is right and the infection is falling, then there is the urgent need to build upon the progress. Let’s not forget that the limited lockdowns, which were implemented practically all over the world recently, led to a sharp spread in many countries. If we have indeed been able to contain that spread, then this is precisely the time that we must not take our eye off the ball. The coming Eid holidays will tell a lot, about whether or not Pakistanis have become more responsible about social safety protocols than the last days of Ramzan, which is why the prime minister has done the right thing by reminding everybody again and again just how important these few days are. Hopefully the count will continue to go down but in a way that can be verified.