The government, however, continues to downplay the pandemic threat, with Yasmeen Rashid, Punjab province's health minister, saying "the recent survey is an estimate from a small sample size and is not accurate." With reference to the provincial health department's report, she added that "people should not panic."
Prime Minister Khan has repeatedly spoken against imposing a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. In his latest press conference, he even announced the resumption of tourism activities in the country.
Khan has been slammed for an apparent "lack of policy" to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Critics say his government has been sending mixed signals about the lockdown, which has resulted in people not taking it seriously.
The prime minister has also been lenient with Islamic groups, even though the primary coronavirus infections were detected among pilgrims returning from Iran and among Sunni hardliners who refused to follow physical distancing rules in their assemblies.