Pakistan experienced a second surge in the pandemic and a spike in COVID-19 cases during December, however the number of cases started to decrease towards the end of the month. The total number of confirmed cases since the beginning of the outbreak stood at 482,178 with 10,176 deaths as of 31 December. Case fatality rate was 2.11 per cent. The Government’s decision to close education insitutions and ban all public gatherings may have resulted in slowing the spread of the virus. Pakistan will receive the first doses of a vaccine in late January 2021 and continues to negotiate with different companies to acquire a sustainable supply.
UNHCR’s regular activities continued to take place while adhering to Standard Operating Procedures for COVID-19. Most of the planned COVID-19 activities have been completed while some construction and WASH-related activities are in the last stage of completion.
UNHCR concluded cash distribution to the most vulnerable refugee families in December. While the final figures are being compiled, at least 72,000 families received assistance which mirrored the Government’s Ehsaas emergency cash programme, where vulnerable families receive Rs.12,000 (approximately $77) to cover a 4-month period. Cash assistance was disbursed in 55 districts across Pakistan through an innovative partnership with the Pakistan Post.
UNHCR, in collaboration with partners, carried out a post-distribution assessment.
Initial results show that the cash-based initiative achieved the objective of meeting the most urgent needs of vulnerable refugee families during the COVID-19 pandemic.