Eighty percent of Pakistanis say the coronavirus pandemic is now under control and taking precautions is unnecessary, according to a survey by the pollster Gallup Pakistan.
Since the coronavirus first broke out in Pakistan in late February, the country has recorded 286,217 infections and 6,219 deaths, but numbers have slowed down considerably since June.
Earlier this month, the government lifted lockdowns from all sectors and Pakistanis began flocking to gyms, salons and restaurants for the first time in five months after being shut to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“Sweeping majority close to 80% feel COVID-19 is now under control implying that fear has subsided and need for continued precautions is superfluous,” Gallup said in its latest survey results. “70% Pakistanis now consider the threat from coronavirus to be exaggerated.”
The survey said 6 in 10 Pakistanis said COVID-19 was a laboratory-made virus and 8 in 10 said its threat was exaggerated and government numbers were not to be believed. Since March, there was a 32 percent rise in the proportion of Pakistanis who believed COVID-19 was a “foreign conspiracy.” Nearly 3 in 5 Pakistanis said they were taking precautions but were unsure if the coronavirus was “real”.
“The suspicions could erode trust in government and health interventions by government and international organizations in a significant manner and must be carefully dealt with,” Gallup said.
“Policymakers need to work on Communication Strategy that addresses the Foreign, Fake, Futile (3 Fs) that population feels with respect to COVID-19. This is important also for future COVID-19 lockdowns of needed as well as mass vaccinations if required from international community.”