Pakistan easing restrictions as cases drop
Pakistan's daily infection rate has stayed under 1,000 for more than three weeks, occasionally dropping to 300 and prompting the government to further ease restrictions with restaurants, parks and even gyms opening next week.
On Friday, Pakistan recorded 782 new cases in the last 24 hours and just 17 deaths. In all, Pakistan has reported 282,642 confirmed cases and 6,052 deaths.
The government credits the consistently low numbers for the last few weeks to a strategy of smart lockdowns, where businesses and residential areas were shut and quarantined after recording spikes in cases.
Prime Minister Imran Khan defied his critics to ease lockdowns early on saying he needed to open sectors like the construction industry to provide jobs to the country's poorest. Since the pandemic hit, Pakistan's poverty rate has increased from 30% to 40% of the country's 220 million people.