With Covid19 Under Control, Pakistan Enjoys V-Shaped Recovery in Manufacturing

With coronavirus spread contained, Pakistan economy is rebounding with V-shaped economic recovery.   Pakistanis have once again defied all foreign and domestic doomsayers, including media, activists and think tanks of all varieties. The nation's monthly Quantum Index of Manufacturing (QIM) for July 2020 has returned to where it was a year ago in July 2019, according to data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.  Meanwhile, the number of daily new cases has declined from over 6,000 a day in June to around 500 a day now. There has also been dramatic reduction in hospital admissions and the need for intensive care. The LSMI output increased by 5.02% for July, 2020 compared to July, 2019 and 9.54% in June, 2020.  The recovery in manufacturing is quite broad, extending from cement production to fuel sales and growing demand for automobiles to home appliances, according to Bloomberg News.  Pakistan has successfully overcome the challenges posed  by the pandemic and its economic impact. Khan-Bajwa cooperation has been one of the keys to the country's success in dealing with the twin crises.


Covid19 Cases in Pakistan. Source: Our World in Data

Broad Recovery: 
The recovery in manufacturing is quite broad, extending from cement production to fuel sales and growing demand for automobiles to home appliances, according to Bloomberg News. The nation's monthly Quantum Index of Manufacturing (QIM) for July 2020 has returned to where it was a year ago in July 2019, according to data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.  Meanwhile, the number of daily new cases has declined from over 6,000 a day in June to around 500 a day now.  There has also been dramatic reduction in hospital admissions and the need for intensive care. The LSMI output has increased by 5.02% for July, 2020 compared to July, 2019 and 9.54% if compared to June 2020. Month-wise trend of QIM from July, 2018 to July, 2020.    
Pakistan Monthly Quantum Index of Manufacturing. Source: PBS

Cement Sales: 

Pakistan is once again experiencing a construction boom with new incentives under Naya Pakistan Housing Program. Monthly cement sales rose to near all-time high of almost 5 million tons in July 2020 as construction activity picked up in both housing and CPEC-related projects. 

Pakistan Cement Sales. Source: Bloomberg

Car Sales:

Gasoline sales in June, 2020 hit new record  and local car deliveries rose to about 10,000 units as people returned to work after easing of lockdown in May, 2020. Kia Motors Corp.’s local unit is planning to add a second shift at its factory in Karachi from January.  

Pakistan Car Sales Recovery. Source: Bloomberg

Multiple Sectors Growing: 

Sectors including food, beverages & tobacco, coke & petroleum products, pharmaceuticals and non metallic mineral products saw an increase in production in July 2020.  Muzzammil Aslam, chief executive officer at Tangent Capital Advisors Pvt., was quoted by Bloomberg as saying, “It has surprised everybody".  Aslam expects Pakistan economy at 4%-5% in current fiscal year, higher than the government’s 2.1% target. “The growth is led by an aggregate demand push.”

Summary:
Pakistanis have defied all foreign and domestic doomsayers, including media, activists and think tanks of all varieties. Pakistan has successfully fought off the deadly COVID19 virus and begun to bounce back economically. Moody's rating agency has raised Pakistan's economic outlook from "under review for downgrade" to "stable". Pakistan's Planning Minister Asad Umar is talking of a "V-shaped recovery". Monthly cement sales have rebounded to pre-pandemic level, fuel sales have increased, tax collection is up,  exports are rising and the Karachi stock market is booming again. Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief General Javed Bajwa have been on the same page in tackling the health and economic crises faced by Pakistan. Contrary to the critics of Pakistan's civil-military ties,  Khan-Bajwa cooperation has been one of the keys to the country's success in dealing with the twin crises.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

COVID19 in Pakistan: Test Positivity Rate and Deaths Declining

Naya Pakistan Housing Program

Construction Industry in Pakistan

Pakistan's Pharma Industry Among World's Fastest Growing

Pakistan to Become World's 6th Largest Cement Producer by 2030

Is Pakistan's Response to COVID19 Flawed?

Pakistan's Computer Services Exports Jump 26% Amid COVID19 Lockdown

Coronavirus, Lives and Livelihoods in Pakistan

Vast Majority of Pakistanis Support Imran Khan's Handling of Covid1...

Pakistani-American Woman Featured in Netflix Documentary "Pandemic"

Coronavirus Antibodies Testing in Pakistan

Can Pakistan Effectively Respond to Coronavirus Outbreak? 

How Grim is Pakistan's Social Sector Progress?

Pakistan Fares Marginally Better Than India On Disease Burdens

Trump Picks Muslim-American to Lead Vaccine Effort

Democracy vs Dictatorship in Pakistan

Pakistan Child Health Indicators

Pakistan's Balance of Payments Crisis

Panama Leaks in Pakistan

Conspiracy Theories About Pakistan Elections"

PTI Triumphs Over Corrupt Dynastic Political Parties

Strikingly Similar Narratives of Donald Trump and Nawaz Sharif

Nawaz Sharif's Report Card

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network

Views: 89

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 19, 2020 at 9:16am

Slim chance of second #Covid_19 wave in #Pakistan. 36% of the workforce in #Karachi, the country’s largest city and commercial capital, have already developed #immunity against the COVID-19, according to #antibodies study. #coronavirus http://v.aa.com.tr/1978436

The latest study by Pakistan's leading blood diseases institute suggests there is a slim chance of a second wave of the novel coronavirus here, further strengthening the government's policy of reopening of businesses.

The cross-sectional study conducted from May to July at the National Institute of Blood Diseases (NIBD) Karachi, has been published by the Oxford University Press's Journal of Public Health.

Titled, “Challenges in acquiring herd immunity for COVID-19,” the study conducted by a team of microbiologist, hematologists and pathologists, led by Dr Samreen Zaidi, includes nearly 1,700 people from three groups – health care, community and industrial workers.

https://academic.oup.com/jpubhealth/advance-article/doi/10.1093/pub...


It included adult male and female participants, who ranged in age from 18 to 60.

The study conducted to assess antibodies levels in diverse a group of residents to comprehend prevalence in the community, revealed that 36% of the workforce of Karachi, the country’s largest city and commercial capital, have already developed immunity against the COVID-19.

"This study has been instigated to evaluate the seroprevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in different healthcare and community population from Karachi and with the aim of assessing the importance of seroprevalence in these groups," the report said.

The overall seroprevalence or the immunity rate, it added, is found to be 36% with highest positivity in industrial employees (50.5%), whereas only 13% of health care workers tested positive.

Moreover, the community that comprised of healthy blood donors and walk-in patients for antibody testing had a 34% positivity rate.

Seroprevalence is the incidence of a disease or illness within a distinct population at one time, as measured by serology tests.

The seroprevalence rate, the study pointed out, identified in the US population varies from 1.9 to 6.9%, which is very low compared to Pakistan.

The seropositivity rates reported were 10.8% and 5.0% from Switzerland and Spain, respectively.

Herd immunity

The study showed that one-third of Karachi's industrial population developed immunity against the COVID-19, which is still far from the 60% to 70 herd immunity that is needed.

"In addition, if we consider acquiring 60% of seroprevalence in next couple of months, then herd immunity is not far from reality provided the antibodies did not decline with time," the report said. "The present study raises the possibility that if 36% of adult population of Karachi is supposed to be seropositive, then we can hypothesize that in the next 2–3 months 60% of general population will become seropositive [immune].”

However, according to Dr. Samreen Zaidi, follow up studies show that the seroprevalence rate has reached 60%, as per expectations.

"We, on the basis of a gradual drop in cases, and other relevant factors, assume that there are low chances of a second wave of coronavirus, " Zaidi told Anadolu Agency.

However, she acknowledged "assumptions are assumptions."

"The only limitation with this study is that our sample size is small. Therefore, we have recommended a further and wide-ranging research on the government level to double check the results of this study," she maintained.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 19, 2020 at 10:46am

#India continued its surge in #coronavirus cases, adding 93,337 new confirmed infections in the past 24 hours to reach a national caseload to more than 5.3 million, with the death toll reaching 85,619. #COVID19 #Modi #BJP #Hindutva https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/3102214/coronaviru...


-----------------

#India's #Economy Heads for Double-Digit Plunge as #CoronaVirus Spikes. Goldman Sachs estimates a 14.8% contraction in #GDP for fiscal 2020-21, while #ADB is forecasting -9%. OECD sees the #Indian economy shrinking by 10.2%. #COVID19 #Modi #BJP #Hindutva https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-09-17/india-s-economy-...

India’s economic recovery prospects have gone from bad to worse after the nation emerged as a new global hotspot for the coronavirus pandemic with more than 5 million infections.

Economists and global institutions like the Asian Development Bank have recently cut India’s growth projections from already historic lows as the virus continues to spread. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now estimates a 14.8% contraction in gross domestic product for the year through March 2021, while the ADB is forecasting -9%. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development sees the economy shrinking by 10.2%.

The failure to get infections under control will set back business activity and consumption -- the bedrock of the economy -- which had been slowly picking up after India began easing one of the world’s strictest and biggest lockdowns that started late March. Local virus cases topped the 5 million mark this week, with the death toll surpassed only by the U.S. and Brazil.

“While a second wave of infections is being witnessed globally, India still has not been able to flatten the first wave of infection curve,” said Sunil Kumar Sinha, principal economist at India Ratings and Research Ltd., a unit of Fitch Ratings Ltd. He now sees India’s economy contracting 11.8% in the fiscal year, far worse than his earlier projection of -5.8%.

Goldman Sachs’s latest growth forecast came last week after data showed gross domestic product plunged 23.9% in the April-June quarter from a year ago, the biggest decline since records began in 1996 and the worst performance of major economies tracked by Bloomberg.

India is “likely to see a shallow and delayed recovery in corporate sector profitability over the next several quarters,” said Kaushik Das, chief economist at Deutsche Bank AG in Mumbai, who has downgraded his fiscal year growth forecast to -8% from -6.2%. That will “reduce the incentive and ability for fresh investments, which in turn will be a drag on credit growth and overall real GDP growth,” he said.

Still, foreign investor sentiment will likely return once the pandemic eases, said Todd Buchholz, a former White House economist and now author.

“The virus is seen as a temporary phenomenon,” he said in an interview. “Those investors who were lining up to invest in India in January 2020 will do so in 2021 also, and deregulation has to continue.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 19, 2020 at 1:11pm

#US #CDC director says face #masks may offer more protection against #COVID19 than a #vaccine. Dr. Redfield: "And I will continue to appeal for all Americans, all individuals in our country, to embrace these face coverings." #coronavirus https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-face-mask-protection-vaccine-cdc... via @CBSHealth

Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during his testimony before a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday that wearing face masks may be more effective at protecting against COVID-19 than a vaccine.


Lawmakers asked Redfield and other top health officials about the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic, and he was questioned about the CDC's recommendation that people wear masks — a practice President Trump has often dismissed.

"I'm not going to comment directly about the president, but I am going to comment as the CDC director that face masks, these face masks, are the most important powerful public health tool we have," Redfield said. "And I will continue to appeal for all Americans, all individuals in our country, to embrace these face coverings."

Redfield said if Americans wore face masks for several weeks, "we would bring this pandemic under control," because there is scientific evidence they work and they are our "best defense."

"I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine, because it may be 70%. And if I don't get an immune response, the vaccine is not going to protect me," Redfield said. "This face mask will."

Several experts contacted by CBS News agree with that assessment: Since vaccines do not guarantee an immune response, masks may be more effective at preventing COVID-19. The FDA has previously said it would approve a coronavirus vaccine that was at least 50% effective. While that could significantly reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths, it would not completely eliminate the disease or guarantee protection.

George Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics and director of the Prevention and Public Health Group at UC San Francisco, said the CDC director is "completely right."

"The good thing about a vaccine is you don't need to remember to put it on every day," Dr. Rutherford told CBS News on Friday. "The bad thing is, it's probably not going to work nearly as well as masks."

"Let's say masks are 95% effective — and who knows what the vaccine is going to be, but say it's 80% effective — in that sense, masks could be better than vaccines," he continued. "I don't think we know yet, but for right now, it's the total name of the game. It's the most effective thing we have."

Rutherford said a large proportion of the population — about 60 or 70% — would need to get vaccinated in order to achieve something close to herd immunity. "Once you're vaccinated... you're probably pretty safe. Now, if we're still walking around with lots of transmission going on, among people who didn't get vaccinated, you may want to wear a mask as well."

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 19, 2020 at 6:10pm

Fitch has warned of decline in remittances amid the #Coronavirus shock. But #remittances have been robust in #Pakistan and Bangladesh. ADB says 14% of households in #Bangladesh, 8% in #Philippines, 4% in Pakistan and 2% in #India receive remittance income. https://www.fitchratings.com/research/sovereigns/apac-remittances-t...

Fitch Ratings-Hong Kong-08 September 2020: The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent impact on the oil market are having a considerable effect on migrant workers and are likely to supress remittance flows in the APAC region, Fitch Ratings says in a special report. We expect flows to weaken in the coming quarters, even though recent amounts have been surprisingly robust in some countries due to temporary factors. Declining remittances in economies that are dependent on them may affect sovereign ratings through pressures on external finances and economic growth.

Demand for migrant labour has provided an important and stable source of foreign-currency remittance flows for a number of APAC sovereigns, including Bangladesh (6.0% of GDP), Pakistan (7.9%), Sri Lanka (8.0%) and the Philippines (8.4%). India is the largest recipient of remittances globally but they account for a small share of GDP at 2.9%. Remittance flows have helped keep current account deficits contained by offsetting large trade deficits. Indeed, without remittances the Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh would all have large current account deficits of between 7%-10% of GDP.

Remittances in APAC also provide economic benefits to recipient countries. First, they support domestic consumption by providing an additional income source to households. According to the Asian Development Bank, about 14% of households in Bangladesh receive remittance income, 8% in the Philippines, 4% in Pakistan and 2% in India. Second, job opportunities for migrant workers relieve slack in domestic job markets.

Remittance flows in APAC were surprisingly mixed in the second quarter of 2020. Monthly data show a considerable and broad decline in remittances during April and May, as Fitch expected, but a recovery in June and July. The rebound in flows was particularly robust in Pakistan and Bangladesh, where flows broke records in both June and July. Sri Lanka and the Philippines also saw an improvement in remittance flows in June, but much more modest.

Anecdotal evidence points to temporary factors for the increase in recorded remittances in the recent period. These include migrant workers transferring their savings in preparation to return home, the impact of lockdown restrictions on transferring funds and a shift to formal remittance channels, which are picked up in the official data.
Fitch forecasts a 12% decline across the region in the second half of the year as the temporary support factors fade.

The deterioration in remittance inflows is likely to widen current account deficits, contributing to higher external financing needs. For countries with fragile external finances, such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the shock to remittances could exacerbate existing challenges. Lower oil prices and subdued import demand, however, are likely to soften the aggregate impact on external balances.

Remittances typically provide a countercyclical buffer for economic activity and vulnerable households. In domestic economic shocks, family members working abroad can increase remittances to help mitigate the impact of sluggish domestic activity. The pandemic, however, represents a much more synchronised global economic shock than previous downturns. This limits the potential support of the remittance channel.

Lower remittance flows could affect public finances through two channels: lower revenue collection from weaker consumption and higher social spending to support remittance-dependent households as well as returning migrant workers. Many countries in the region already have limited fiscal space to address the current coronavirus shock and the decline in remittances could exacerbate current challenges.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 21, 2020 at 4:47pm

#Pakistan central bank holds interest rate at 7% as outlook improves. "Business confidence and the outlook for growth have improved..This reflects the decline of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan and the easing of lockdowns." #COVID19 #economy https://finance.yahoo.com/news/pakistan-central-bank-holds-interest... via @YahooFinance


Pakistan's central bank held its benchmark policy rate at 7% on Monday, saying the economy looked set to pick up due to the lifting of lockdown restrictions aimed at curbing the coronavirus pandemic though risks remained.

"Business confidence and the outlook for growth have improved," the State Bank of Pakistan said in its monetary policy statement. "This reflects the decline of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan and the easing of lockdowns."

The central bank had slashed rates by 625 basis points in the three months to June, the most pronounced cuts in its history, as the pandemic hit the South-Asian nation.

The bank said that economic growth was expected to pick up to around 2% in the financial year 2021, compared to a contraction of 0.4% in the year ended June.

The decision was largely in line with expectations that the bank would ease off its dovish stance due to the rosier economic outlook while being mindful of the risks to inflation, which had ticked higher in June and July after it cut rates.

"As expected rates remain unchanged, (the) SBP highlighted risks to inflation while economic recovery this year can lead to GDP growth of more than 2%," said Mohammad Sohail, head of Topline Securities.

However, progress was expected to be patchy with construction and manufacturing driving growth in part due to central bank incentive policies, and remittances holding up despite global economic uncertainty.

Hospitality was expected to remain weak and the bank cautioned there heightened risks remained on the horizon due to the pandemic.

"Risks include a potential second wave of COVID-19 domestic infections, a possible sharp increase in infections...in Pakistan's major export markets in Europe and the U.S. and the threat to agriculture from locust attacks," the bank said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 22, 2020 at 11:26am
Migrant workers from Asia’s developing countries have managed to send home record amounts of money in recent months, defying pandemic expectations and propping up home economies at a critical time.
 
 

Remittance doomsayers see something else in the bigger-than-usual transfers: a coming crash, triggered by a bleak job market, particularly in the Middle East. As they see opportunity drying up along with demand for oil, workers are sending money home in advance of their own return.
 
Unlike Latin American countries, which continue to benefit from a tentative U.S. recovery, Asian countries are vulnerable to economic austerity in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East. More than 60% of remittances to India, Bangladesh and Pakistan come from Gulf Cooperation Council countries, said Khurram Schehzad, chief executive officer at Karachi-based advisory Alpha Beta Core Solutions Pvt. The region is also the top destination for workers from the Philippines, lone of the world’s largest suppliers of overseas labor.

Saudi Arabia has already raised taxes and import fees to make up for falling oil revenue. Job cuts in the kingdom appear to target foreigners first, with Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment estimating more than a million foreign workers will leave the labor market this year.

After eight years of sending money to family in Karachi, Abdul Hanan Abro is one of the workers who will follow his money home. He was laid off from his acc ..He was laid off from his accounting job in Dubai in May and hasn’t found a new gig -- and he’s not the only one. “No one is getting anything,” said Abro. “Two to three of my friends have already moved back to Lahore. People are selling their cars and stuff, doing their final settlements.”

For Abro, coming home means starting over. He wants to use the savings he accumulated overseas to start a business. “It’s high time to just focus on what I was planning for two to three years now,” Abr ..coming home means starting over. He wants to use the savings he accumulated overseas to start a business. “It’s high time to just focus on what I was planning for two to three years now,” Abro said. “It’s better than wasting more time in finding a job in this market.”

In April, the World Bank predicted overseas workers would send home 20% less this year, the biggest drop since at least 1980. The lender hasn’t updated its forecast to reflect the recent resilience, but a decline is still  ..

“People are returning home,” said Thomas Isaac, the finance minister for Kerala, which accounts for the country’s largest share of remittances. “Therefore, they bring back all their savings.” India is the world’s top recipient of transfers and a leading supplier of labor to the gulf; it took in $83 billion last year, exceeding the $51 billion it took in as foreign direct investment.

Overall, remittances to the Asia-Pacific region will drop 12% in the second half of 2020 compared with th ..
Kerala’s proud record for near-total literacy gave its citizens a leg-up over other Indians — not to mention Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and others — seeking jobs in the Gulf. Despite their better education, the overwhelming majority of Keralites did jobs that indeed required being “roasted in the desert sun,” as Dad put it. In the classic migration pattern, young men endured great physical hardship and forewent luxuries to save up, remit money home and bring over friends and relatives. The steady  ..
Comment by Riaz Haq on September 22, 2020 at 5:06pm

#COVID19 Lessons for #Pakistan #Climate Advisor: For every $ invested in nature, you get 9 dollars back.
Imbalances between humans & natural world have led to zoonotic #pandemics. Pakistan's billion tree project has helped the economy and the community.
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/09/two-things-nature-taught-us-...

Pakistan's climate minister and advisor Malik Amin Aslam says nature has taught us two key things during the coronavirus pandemic.

Firstly, if you treat it badly, it will strike back. And secondly, if you treat it well, there are many benefits.

The minister for climate change, who also advises Pakistan's prime minister, was speaking on the first day of the World Economic Forum's Sustainable Development Impact Summit.

"When you start investing in nature, nature always pays you back," he said, referring to Pakistan's billion tree planting project, which has reaped dividends by creating jobs, engaging the community and helping develop a new economy.


He said his country's experience proved that for every dollar you invest in nature, you get nine dollars back.

"We don't have to come out of this pandemic on the same pathway that got us in there. You've seen the different world during this pandemic when humans have retreated. What has happened? You've seen the blue skies, the clean air that we've all built," he said, describing this as a positive opportunity.

Hanging in the balance

On the other hand, treating nature badly could lead to more difficulties down the line, the minister warned.

"The stark warning that nature has given to all of the world is that there are boundaries and nature works within certain limits and certain balances. And if we tried to tilt that balance, nature will strike back," he said.

The minister pointed to the fact that we are living in the middle of a zoonotic pandemic because humans have invaded the territory of animals as evidence of nature striking back.

Zoonotic diseases are those that jump from animals to humans. Rats, bats, monkeys and apes are among those more likely to spread zoonotic germs. Other illnesses and diseases that have been spread this way include Ebola, HIV, SARS and MERS, and Zika.

The UNEP has warned that human activity including urbanization and industrialized agriculture has laid the foundations for pandemics by causing biodiversity loss and environmental damage.

The coronavirus is now present in more than 200 countries, with more than 31 million global cases and almost one million global death, according to figures compiled by the Johns Hopkins University.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 23, 2020 at 10:43am

#Pakistan current account balance reached a surplus of $805 mn during Jul-Aug FY21 compared to a deficit of $1.2 billion in the same period last year. Higher #remittances, flexible exchange rate and relatively benign #import prices explain the improving current account balance.

https://twitter.com/StateBank_Pak/status/1308635186922430464?s=20

https://twitter.com/StateBank_Pak/status/1308635188822507520?s=20

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 1, 2020 at 4:37pm

Here's a hit job on Pakistan...seems that Economist never heared of #COVID19 “positivity rate” that is guiding #California and most of the world in decision making. #Pakistan positivity rate has been below 2% since August, thanks to #ImranKhan’s policies https://www.economist.com/asia/2020/09/30/is-pakistan-really-handli...


According to this Economist piece, "Imran Khan crowed" about Pakistan's success against COVID19 pandemic. It quotes an Indian professor at Princeton saying "Test not, find not" and Pakistan's "relative backwardness" as the reasons for Pakistan's lower cases. Conspicuously absent from Economist's narrative is the fact that the percentage of tests (25,000-30,000 a day) that are positive has been below 2% since August, 2020.

Excerpt: " “We have not only managed to control the virus, stabilise our economy, but most importantly, we have been able to protect the poorest segment of our society from the worst fallouts of the lockdown,” crowed Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister, in a recent video address to the un General Assembly."

Excerpt: "There are less heroic reasons for Pakistan’s lower covid toll, too. Some, ironically, stem from its relative backwardness. “Basically, it is undertesting on a massive scale,” contends Ramanan Laxminarayan of Princeton University. He notes that Pakistan tests for covid at less than a quarter of India’s rate, per person, adding that the relatively poor Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, with a population equal to Pakistan’s and a similar failure to test widely, has also registered similar numbers of cases and fatalities (see chart). “Test not, find not,” says Mr Laxminarayan. “It’s the same with authoritarian regimes the world over.”

------------

Demography is another factor. Both Pakistan and India have a far smaller proportion of old people than rich countries do. Just 4% of Pakistanis are over 65, for example, compared with 23% of Italians. Yet the median age in Pakistan, 23, is four years lower than India’s, and its average life expectancy, 67, is two years shorter. This puts a far smaller proportion of Pakistanis in the age bracket most vulnerable to covid.

Although both countries remain largely rural, Indians are much more mobile, both domestically and internationally. Some 160m Indians travel by air annually compared with fewer than 10m Pakistanis; passenger traffic on Indian railways is 130 times greater. Mr Modi’s lockdown, ironically, first bottled tens of millions of migrant workers inside cities that were often reservoirs of covid and then, as pressure mounted to let them return to their villages, distributed the epidemic more widely. Pakistanis, by and large, have instead stayed put at home, which more often means a family home in a village, and less often the kind of crowded workers’ colonies that ring Indian cities. The laxness of Pakistan’s lockdown meant that most small businesses stayed open, whereas nearly all in India were forced to close.

--------

Despite the starkly different trajectories covid has taken so far in India and Pakistan, experts warn against drawing firm conclusions. “Our lockdown may have hurt India more than the disease itself, but in other respects we are much like Pakistan,” says Jayaprakash Muliyil, an adviser to India’s National Institute of Epidemiology. None of the numbers coming from either country is likely to present a true picture, he suggests: “We both really cannot see what is happening in villages, where most people live, and we share the same disdain for proper data.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 2, 2020 at 7:51am

#Coronavirus Study: #Kids And Superspreaders Are Driving COVID-19 Cases In #India. This will have major implications for #children returning to classrooms, to sports and to other activities where kids tend to be in close contact to each other. #COVID19 https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/10/01/919237103/kids...

In the largest study ever of transmission patterns for COVID-19, researchers in India tested more than a half-million contacts of 85,000 cases to examine how and to whom the coronavirus is spreading.

The first interesting finding: Children are spreading the virus amongst themselves and also to adults. Second: The greatest risk for infection among the people studied in the two southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh is a long bus or train ride.

The attack rate — or the risk of transmission from a primary case to someone else — was 80% for passengers sitting next to an infected person on a bus or train for more than 6 hours without a mask. By comparison, there was only a 9% chance of an infected person giving the virus to another member of their household. The chances of a person passing on the virus in a hospital or clinic was 1.2% and the attack rate was just 2.6% for interactions in the general community.

In fact most people — 71%, according to this study — appear to have never passed the virus on to anyone. Given that the outbreak continues to grow, this means there are a small minority of patients responsible for the vast majority of spread.

"Some people just transmit more than other people do because they shed virus," says Ramanan Laxminarayan, the director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in New Delhi and one of the lead authors of the study, published this week in the journal Science.

"We've never had a good handle on [superspreaders], and certainly no large-scale study," he says. "Here in this study, we found that 8% of the people who were infected were responsible for 60% of the infections that grew out of these primary cases."

India, unfortunately, has become an ideal place to study the spread of the novel coronavirus. Recently, the country has been reporting nearly 100,000 new cases per day. Testing is widely available and in the states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, where this study was carried out, public health workers have been aggressively tracking local infections.

Comment

You need to be a member of PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network to add comments!

Join PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

Pre-Paid Legal


Twitter Feed

    follow me on Twitter

    Sponsored Links

    South Asia Investor Review
    Investor Information Blog

    Haq's Musings
    Riaz Haq's Current Affairs Blog

    Please Bookmark This Page!




    Blog Posts

    Pakistan's Per Capita Milk Consumption Reaches 231 Liters

    Per capita milk consumption in Pakistan reached 231 liters (231 Kg) in 2019, according to a new research report entitled ‘Asia – Whole Fresh Milk – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. It has almost doubled from 119 liters per person in 2011. Milk production in Pakistan is the second…

    Continue

    Posted by Riaz Haq on October 22, 2020 at 10:00am — 3 Comments

    لاڑکانہ پولیس مقابلے میں 6 ڈاکو مارے گئے

    Sindh News

    لاڑکانہ میں انتہائی مطلوب 6 ڈاکو پولیس مقابلے میں…

    Continue

    Posted by Sobia Anjum on October 22, 2020 at 1:10am

    © 2020   Created by Riaz Haq.   Powered by

    Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service