Monday September 25, 2023

Corona claims first victims in KP

By our correspondents
March 19, 2020

Ag Agencies

ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR: Pakistan on Wednesday confirmed two deaths from coronavirus, both from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while the tally of infected persons in the country the country has mounted to 297.

Sindh has so far reported 208 cases, Punjab has reported 33 cases, Balochistan 16, KP 19, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan 14 and Islamabad has reported seven cases.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra confirmed the second death late Wednesday. “Sadly, a second patient in LRH Peshawar, a 36 yr old, from Hangu, has also passed away, from the coronavirus,” Jhagra wrote, less than an hour after Pakistan reported its first coronavirus death.

Earlier, Adviser to PM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza confirmed on Twitter, shortly after his KP counterpart, Jhagra, broke the news. “With deep regret I confirm the death of first Pakistani due to #coronavirus,” Dr Zafar Mirza said in a tweet.

“A 50 yr old male from Mardan recently returned from Umra, developed fever, cough & breathing difficulty and tested +ve for coronavirus. Contacts are being screened,” he added, sharing condolences.

The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had earlier reported its first death from the novel coronavirus, according to Jhagra, who shared the news on his Twitter account.

“Sad to report one patient who passed away in Mardan,” he wrote.

Sadat Khan, belonging to Manga village in Charsadda, was brought to the Mardan Medical Complex (MMC) on Wednesday in a critical condition and passed away in the evening. Dr Javed Iqbal, hospital manager of the MMC, told The News that the patient was a dispenser by profession and had recently travelled to Saudi Arabia for performing Umrah.

“The patient was initially admitted to the District Headquarters Hospital in Mardan where his swab was collected and sent to the laboratory for investigations,” said Dr Javad Iqbal. The patient tested positive on Wednesday.

Dr Javed Iqbal said the condition of the patient deteriorated on Wednesday and he was brought to the MMC.

“We received him today in critical condition. We put him on ventilator around 5pm. He remained under the supervision of a team of senior doctors,” he added.

Dr Javed Iqbal said the patient had serious breathing problem. He said he had no other obvious health issue except his age. MMC’s Medical Director Prof Dr Mukhtiar Ahmad and Hospital Director Dr Tariq Mehmood said they utilised all the available resources to save his life but in vain.

Earlier in the day, the government of Gilgit-Baltistan retracted its statement regarding a patient dying in the region from the coronavirus, saying the provincial spokesperson had not confirm the news before breaking it.

Multiple news channels had reported about Pakistan’s first coronavirus patient dying after GB government spokesperson Faizullah Faraq confirmed that a 90-year-old man passed away from the infection. Faraq had said it seemed to be a case of secondary transmission of the virus as the patient did not have any travel history. However, the GB government’s media coordinator, Rasheed Arshad, explained that the provincial spokesperson broke the news without verifying it. He said the patient was suffering from pneumonia and kidney complications.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said a public health emergency has been declared in the province and Section 144 imposed to save people from deadly coronavirus.

Talking to the media during his visit to a quarantine centre, set up at Workers Welfare Complex at Industrial Estate on Wednesday, he said restrictions had been imposed on visit of tourists to Murree and other tourist places in Punjab.

The provincial government has also limited visits of people to secretariat and other [public] offices, he said, adding: “Only skeleton staff will be present there.”

Shopping malls, restaurants, and hotels would be closed down by 10pm, and only medicine shops, groceries, factories, mills, and markets would remain open, the chief minister added.

With regard to strategic measures, Buzdar said the provincial government had requested its federal counterpart to help make the quarantine facilities better. In that regard, Punjab “will provide support wherever required and even to any other province if they need it.

“We will negotiate with the Balochistan government on Taftan as to whether we could set up our camp (there) or facilitate them, but we will do whatever we can for our people at the border,” he said.

The CM said: “We are in the process of setting up a temporary 1000-bed field hospital so that we are ready should the need arise. Also, 41 high-dependency units have been set up in all districts and three hospitals have been dedicated to coronavirus - in Muzaffargarh, Lahore, and Rawalpindi.”

“In addition to that, we have allocated spaces at other (medical) institutes” just in case, he added.

The CM confirmed that 28 coronavirus carriers had been detected in the province. He said 189 coronavirus suspects had been admitted to hospitals in Punjab and their tests had been conducted. However, 28 patients had been identified in the province.

The CM said the Punjab government had taken measures against coronavirus from January 3. Punjab had allocated Rs5 billion to combat the virus threat. He appealed to citizens to promote collective thinking and discourage individual approaches. He said he had talked with corona suspects in the quarantine centre. The chief minister said that 800 coronavirus suspects came from Dera Ghazi Khan. At least 1,200 were arriving from Iran on Thursday via the Taftan border. The Punjab government was ready for all sorts of emergencies. Shaukat Khanum Hospital Chief Executive Officer Faisal Sultan said that the coronavirus threats would persist for the next two years across globe. There is no health system in the world that is available to prevent the spread of disease, he added. The government would have to decide what kind of measures should be taken keeping in view daily statistics. The aged people are the prime target of the virus, he added.

Shortly after Buzdar’s address, the government of Punjab said on Twitter that mobility in markets would be controlled by different measures, ‘work from home’ and social safety measures introduced, and that “quarantines for 5,000 patients is ready”.

Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited a quarantine centre in Dera Ghazi Khan on Wednesday to inspect the arrangements made for the suspected patients there.

He directed officials for complete screening of patients and admitting them to the best health facilities with provisions of all facilities. He said his government was making maximum efforts to take solid measures against the endemic and there should be no compromise on quality of services being provided to the public as well as the suspected patients. He said prophylactic steps were necessary to control the spread of the disease and more kits were also being managed.

Accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, the premier expressed his anger over lack of facilities being provided at the quarantine centre. The centre had been established at New Campus of Ghazi University, where pilgrims have been lodged by the provincial government.

Earlier, the officials briefed the prime minister over the arrangements made at quarantine centre. He was informed that over 800 pilgrims crossing over to Pakistan from Taftan border were shifted to the centre five days ago. The confirmed patients were being shifted to Indus Hospital Muzaffargarh, the premier was told.

The officials said that samples of over 300 pilgrims had been dispatched to laboratories for final diagnosis.

Imran Khan directed the Punjab government to take every possible step to provide the best facilities to the general public for prevention from coronavirus. He said that provision of screening facility should be ensured to daily wagers in all panahgahs (shelter homes) across the province. The PM warned that strict action would be taken against hoarders and profiteers.