• The number of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan has risen sharply, more than doubling in two weeks. As of 15 June, the total number of cases reached 144,478, with 2,729 deaths being recorded. Pakistan averaged over 5,000 daily new cases. Fifteen refugees tested positive and sadly, four have died.
• Despite the worsening situation, Pakistan has eased lockdown restrictions. Essential businesses have been allowed to operate seven days a week, while non-essential businesses operate five days a week.
The Government has asked the population to strictly observe the COVID-19 prevention guidelines and standard operating procedures. Provincial governments are enforcing the mandatory use of face masks through a “no mask, no services” campaign. Domestic flights have resumed, and international carriers are gradually resuming operations. Educational institutions remained closed.
• In a letter to the Government, WHO indicated that the general public in Pakistan is not practicing physical distancing and frequent handwashing. WHO further advised the Government to follow a policy of intermittent lockdown such as “two weeks off, two weeks on” to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19.
• The Foreign Minister, Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi, asked for greater support from the international community to meet the needs of Afghans in Pakistan. During an international webinar on the “Situation of Refugees and Other Displaced Persons during the Pandemic: The Need for International Cooperation” on 9 June, he said that the presence of 3 million Afghans in Pakistan was a clear illustration of the country’s hospitality. He highlighted that while UNHCR is providing assistance to Afghan refugees, the needs of undocumented and other documented Afghans residing in Pakistan were not being met, irrespective of whose mandate they fall under.
• The Government’s Ehsaas emergency cash assistance programme has now reached over 10 million Pakistani families, expending nearly Rs.123 billion (approximately $760 million). Families receive Rs.12,000 (approximately $77) to help meet their most urgent needs for four months.