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Corona kills 4 more in Pakistan

Top Story

April 8, 2020

Ag Agencies

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza Tuesday said 429 confirmed COVID-19 patients had fully recovered, while a large number of patients were recovering.

In a daily televised briefing on the situation, he said 55 people had died so far, with four deaths during last 24 hours.

He said a total of 4007 confirmed cases had been reported with 986 in Sindh, 2004 in Punjab, 204 in Balochistan, 500 in KP, 83 in Islamabad, 212 in Gilgit Baltistan and one in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

Dr Zafar said the death ratio of coronavirus patients was 1.4 percent which was very better compared to the global death rate.

He said 18 laboratories had the capacity to conduct PCR test for coronavirus adding that the government planned to increase this number to 40.

He assured provision of personal protection equipment (PPE) kits to all medical practitioners handling the COVID-19 patients at hospitals.

Meanwhile, in a statement he said all doctors were the nation’s frontline heroes and a forward force in the fight against the pandemic.

He assured that protection of doctors and nursing staff was the government’s top priority.

He acknowledged the services of health staff at hospitals and said the government was well aware of dedication and commitment of the doctors and nursing staff.

He said the citizens who were in isolation at their homes could use simple surgical mask to stay safe, while N-95 mask was actually useful for the medical staff treating the corona patients.

He said 500,000 N-95 masks were available in the country and more masks were needed.

He said the medical staff deployed in the isolation rooms should wear special kits while caregivers should use simple surgical masks on normal duties.

He said guidelines had been issued for use of PPE kits by the health professionals.

He said working had been done on the need and requirement of all necessary medical equipment and health professionals to combat COVID-19.

Dr Mirza said a committee of experts had been constituted to submit recommendations about the safety of new incoming or locally produced ventilators and to allow permission for marketing.

He said a committee had also been formed to submit recommendations about the diagnostic kits.

The positive cases of novel coronavirus have surpassed 2,000 with detection of 86 new Covid-19 patients in various districts of Punjab Tuesday including 28 patients from a single housing society in Lahore.

As many as 28 patients were confirmed from a private housing society on the outskirts of Lahore alone causing the management to close the housing society for visitors.

The management closed all entry/exit points except two gates on the Canal Road.

Out of 2004 confirmed Covid-19 patients, a total of 726 are pilgrims, who recently returned from Iran, 539 members of Tableeghi Jamaat, 49 prisoners and 690 citizens who either had travel history or fell victim to local transmission of virus.

Out of 726 confirmed patients from amongst pilgrims, 457 are at quarantine centre in Multan, 251 in Dera Ghazi Khan and 18 in Faisalabad.

Of the 539 confirmed preachers, 404 are at quarantine centre in Raiwind, 31 in Hafizabad, 16 in Sargodha, 15 in Rahim Yar Khan, 14 in Vehari, 13 each in Layyah, 10 in Jhelum, nine in Gujrat, six each in Rawalpindi and Sialkot, four in Khushab, three in Mandi Bahauddin, two in Nankana Sahib and one each in Bhakkar and Rajanpur.

As many as 10,263 preachers of Tableeghi Jamaat, who have recently attended Tableeghi Ijtema in Lahore, are at quarantine centres in 33 districts for testing and isolation.

So far 690 citizens have also been tested positive for the virus in 28 districts of the province. These persons either have a travel history or they got infected through local transmission of virus.

The highest number of cases has been reported from Lahore where 297 patients are under treatment at different centres. As many as 93 patients are under treatment in Gujrat, 61 in Rawalpindi, 39 in Gujranwala, 30 in Jhelum, 21 in Faisalabad, 18 each in DG Khan and Bahawalnagar, 17 in Sialkot, 14 in Mandi Bahauddin, 13 each in Nankana Sahib and Vehari, nine in Kasur, six each in Hafizabad, Chiniot, Sargodha and Narowal, four in Multan, three each in Rahim Yar Khan, Mianwali, Bahawalpur and Lodhran and one each in Sheikhupura, Attock, Layyah, Okara and Khushab.

Meanwhile, the Young Doctors Association (YDA), Punjab, has alleged that the health authorities had committed a gross negligence by sending pilgrims from Iran to their homes without testing after their arrival in Multan. “The sudden surge of Covid-19 positive cases in Multan was caused due to confirmation of 268 ‘Zaireen’ as coronavirus positive during their testing after relocation,” alleged Dr Khizer Hayat, chairman YDA Punjab, adding that these ‘Zaireen’ might have infected thousands more during this period when they remained out of quarantine.

The Punjab Health Department has forwarded SOPs to the home department for handling of Covid-19 patients and saving other prisoners in jails.

As no fatality was reported Tuesday, Covid-19 related casualties in Punjab remained 15 including seven in Lahore, four in Rawalpindi and one each in Faisalabad, Jhelum, Gujrat and Rahim Yar Khan.

According to spokesperson of Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, all patients were getting treatment at quarantine centres and isolation wards at public sector hospitals. He said serious patients were immediately shifted to High Dependency Units. He urged people to stay at home, frequently wash hands and use hand sanitizer.

He advised social distancing and adopting precautionary measures while attending sick family members.

Meanwhile, the doctors, nurses and paramedical staff, under the banner of Grand Health Alliance (GHA), observed black day in Punjab Tuesday against brutal torture and arrest of doctors in Quetta. The healthcare professionals wore black armbands while performing duties in public sector hospitals across the province and demanded immediate release of all remaining doctors in Quetta.

GHA Chairman Dr Salman Haseeb Chaudhry said the doctors and medical staff in public sector hospitals of Punjab were also serving without Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), which had exposed them to contracting virus and endangering their lives. “We do not want just protective suits, we need complete protective gear,” he said, adding that they would be forced to hold protest if the protective gear was not provided immediately.

Meanwhile, the government is deliberating on the future course of action to deal with the coronavirus restrictions including the lockdown imposed 10 days ago and bound to expire on April 14.

Well-placed sources told The News/Jang Tuesday that the final decision would be taken towards the end of the week and the provinces would be taken on board before the decision was made.