Testing has gone down. Deliberate or otherwise, is anyone’s guess. Is the fatigue setting in? The past week was the lowest weekly tests in three weeks, despite having trebled the testing capacity from the beginning of June. Daily test as a percentage of capacity was also the lowest ever last week. Surely, testing anywhere near enough, or testing for a reason, are not the plan. It largely looks that people who privately turn up for testing, will be tested.
And if that is now the policy, the respective governments would also do well to offer a breakup of public and private testing capacity. There have not been any complaints of people being sent back from testing reported. Is private testing too expensive? Is public sector too limited? Have the people had enough? Are people only going for tests only when it is extremely unavoidable?
But some trends have emerged over the last month. The overall testing may have slowed down, but the rate of infection (confirmed cases/tests) has gone down across the country.
Recall that the Punjab government had announced a “smart lockdown” across various hotspots in the province, at and around June 17, 2020. The government of Sindh did not like the idea (and the name) and insisted that a complete lockdown instead is the only option, and a “smart lockdown” is as good as no-lockdown. But they still half-heartedly announced a form of lockdown short of calling it smart. Rest assured, the Sindh government did not enforce the latest lockdown, as the heart was not in the plan, as per a number of ministers on record.
Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) also opted for selective shutdown of areas, and reportedly ensured good enforcement. The results are obvious. Almost all administrative units, started the month at round about similar infection rate, but ended differently. Punjab and Islamabad have halved the infection rates, where Punjab’s fall in rate is more pronounced around the “smart lockdown”.
There is not much one can infer from such limited testing. But surely something has changed in the territories reporting significant decline in infection rates. The only big change has been the lockdown part, so it would not be unfair to say whatever form of lockdown there is, it seems to be working.