The spread of coronavirus in Pakistan has decreased significantly. In June, Pakistan ranked 12th on the list of the countries hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but within two months, it has improved its ranking with a drop in both the number of daily infections and fatalities.
Not only the drop but anti-corona efforts of Pakistan’s government which led to it are being praised internationally as president-elect of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Volkan Bozkir, has termed the same a “good example for the world to follow”.
The decline in COVID-19 cases has been followed by the government allowing to reopen all sectors that had been closed for months, excluding educational institutions and marriage halls. The two are likely to reopen on September 15, after a final review by authorities concerned on September 7.
While it’s still difficult to estimate the economic losses Pakistan suffered due to the global pandemic, it can be said that people associated with educational institutions, wedding halls, cinemas and restaurants were more vulnerable amid lockdowns.
Pakistan’s 317,328 educational institutions have remained closed for the past six months and as a result, more than 40 million students are suffering. Teachers, on the other hand, and other staffers have no source of income. While many have been sacked by private institutions, some private school owners such as Muhammad Danish from Karachi, who had been running the school for the past 14 years, has now been forced to set up a biryani stall at his own school.
While reopening of the institutions still is to be decided upon, experts believe it will be hard to bounce back from the current situation and that with extra precautions.
As the second most-affected industry remains wedding, marriage halls have been served a severe blow. According to Punjab Marriage Halls Association President Khalid Idrees, as many as 12,000 marriage halls run the households of over four million staffers and management members in Punjab alone, all of whom have been jobless since March.
Trends suggest that a number of people are awaiting the new wedding world order to once again resort to huge gatherings or continue shifting towards smaller, simpler functions.
Meanwhile, as the restaurant sector also remains affected by COVID-19, Arab News reported that 30% to 40% of restaurants in Lahore have shut down permanently.
Admin of popular food blog Foodies ‘R Us, Asad Sheikh, believes some of the government-issued guidelines for coronavirus prevention are beyond comprehension as the dine-in capacity of restaurants being reduced by 50% would affect sales and ultimately leave owners with no other option but to prefer managing takeaways.
CINEMAS & THEATRES:
In the case of another hard-hit industry, cinema and theatre owners are not yet ready to implement social distancing SOPs for coronavirus either and ensuring limited seating capacity.
While there are 160 cinemas in the country with almost 24,000 seating capacity, reopening to public at the cost of half their audiences would be unprofitable.