COVID-19 Status in Pakistan
The official statistics reported from Pakistan on 29 June 2020 state 208,358 COVID-19 cases, and 4,254 deaths, and these are growing rapidly day by day. In the UK, we all now know what the “R” value means – the rate of growth of the pandemic – if the figure is below 1, the number of cases of the virus is reducing; conversely any figure above 1 the growth is increasing exponentially. The UK is currently around 0.8, and Pakistan is around 2.0.
The real figures are likely to be significantly higher than the official figures due to an unwillingness for people to get tested for a variety of reasons: the cost and lack of access to tests, for fear of shame in their community, and because sadly, that around 4,000 people die on a daily basis in Pakistan for a variety of reasons.
The lockdown has been lifted for about 6 weeks, as the Government appears to be caught in the middle of two camps – the rich want lockdowns to be re-imposed for fear from the virus, whilst the poor on daily wages just want to be able to earn enough to provide for their families.
The schools all remain closed, and there is no clear timetable for lessons to resume. The Government is to consider options for restarting of schooling early in July. The best indication we have is that schools will restart in the middle of August.
On-line lessons are not really possible for most of our students, and teachers and students are both keen to get back to normal as soon as possible – as one project leader put it “a school without children is just a building”.
We are using the time with the schools being closed to carry out various necessary improvements to the schools – from cleaning and painting through to providing an additional toilet, upgrading the lighting and installing UPS to provide electricity during power cuts and constructing additional classrooms.
What is the status of the Appeal?
We were able to raise £55,000 in total. Thank you to all who have made this possible, and thanks be to God the provider.
We have managed to distribute aid, in food parcels and money to around 1,600 families (or 9,000 individuals), mostly connected with the 56 schools and projects that Starfish support throughout April, May and June. We have some funds remaining to put towards supporting families in need in July where there is ongoing hardship caused by COVID-19.
Please download our latest Newsletter which contains various pictures and stories of the support being provided through the project leaders by clicking here. (June Newsletter).
Lastly, in addition to providing aid, some of the teachers in one of our schools are making masks for distribution to all the students in Starfish supported schools and as many others as possible for when the schools will return.