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In PloS one ; h5-index 176.0

The province of Sindh reported the first COVID-19 case in Pakistan on 26th February 2020. The Government of Sindh has employed numerous control measures to limit its spread. However, for low-and middle-income countries such as Pakistan, the management protocols for controlling a pandemic are not always as definitive as they would be in other developed nations. Given the dire socio-economic conditions of Sindh, continuation of province-wise lockdowns may inadvertently cause a potential economic breakdown. By using a data driven SEIR modelling framework, this paper describes the evolution of the epidemic projections because of government control measures. The data from reported COVID-19 prevalence and google mobility is used to parameterize the model at different time points. These time points correspond to the government's call for advice on the prerequisite actions required to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in Sindh. Our model predicted the epidemic peak to occur by 18th June 2020 with approximately 3500 reported cases at that peak, this projection correlated with the actual recorded peak during the first wave of the disease in Sindh. The impact of the governmental control actions and religious ceremonies on the epidemic profile during this first wave of COVID-19 are clearly reflected in the model outcomes through variations in the epidemic peaks. We also report these variations by displaying the trajectory of the epidemics had the control measures been guided differently; the epidemic peak may have occurred as early as the end of May 2020 with approximately 5000 reported cases per day had there been no control measures and as late as August 2020 with only around 2000 cases at the peak had the lockdown continued, nearly flattening the epidemic curve.

Usmani Bilal Ahmed, Ali Mustafain, Hasan Muhammad Abul, Siddiqui Amna Rehana, Siddiqi Sameen, Lim Aaron Guanliang, Qazi Saad Ahmed

2021