The ‘significant and tragic human cost’ of Covid-19 taking hold in Pakistan sadly appears to be crystallising after the Asian country saw its confirmed cases of the virus move past the 20,000 milestone.

Reports on Monday described the ‘surge’ in cases in Pakistan, as 1,800 new infections were revealed by the country’s health ministry and the country crossed the 20,000 figure.

At the time of writing, Pakistan has just over 21,500 cases and 486 fatalities according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. Those numbers compare to 4,000 cases and 56 fatalities reported by gasworld back on 10thApril.

Report: Pakistan company develops oxygen splitter device

The country, which borders China where the Covid-19 pandemic began and Iran, one of the worst-hit countries so far, announced it was shutting all of its land borders and limiting international flights for 15 days on 13thMarch.

At that time, gasworld reported how Pakistan’s largest bank had issued a warning over the potential impact of Covid-19 on the country and its economy.

Expected impact of coronavirus on Pakistan

Risha Mohyeddin, Global Treasurer at HBL Bank, commented, “There will undoubtedly be a significant and tragic human cost if Covid-19 takes hold in the Pakistan population as much of the population lives in close proximity to each other.”

“The impact on the economy will largely be dictated by government action and any impact on Pakistan’s export sectors…”

“Given the domestic focus of the economy, it should be less impacted by travel bans and slowing international trade than other more externally-facing developing economies.”

The industrial gases business in Pakistan has been growing steadily and was boosted by the announcement of a new ASU in March 2019, when Pakistan Oxygen Limited revealed it was investing PKR 5.1bn ($36.3m) in a new air separation unit which the company said would be the largest and most efficient ASU in Pakistan.

The plant will be capable of producing 250 tonnes per day of gases, increasing the ASU gases manufacturing capacity of the company by approximately 95%.