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April 11, 2020

Pakistan corona death toll 71

Top Story

April 11, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The coronavirus outbreak has consumed 71 lives in Pakistan so far, with the national count surging to 4,792 confirmed cases.

During the last 24 hoursalone, at least 284 people acquired the disease, while a reassuring 155 attained complete recovery, and four lost their lives amidst speculations of a massive spike in the disease burden over the next couple of weeks.

KP has reported 25 deaths so far, the highest in the country, followed by Sindh with 22, Punjab 18, Gilgit-Baltistan three, Balochistan two and Islamabad Capital Territory reported one death.

Out of confirmed 4,792 till latest reports, Sindh has reported 1,214, Punjab: 2,336, KP 656, Balochistan 220, Islamabad 118, Gilgit-Baltistan 215 and AJK 33.

Sharing latest data in a briefing televised from the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on Friday, the PM’s Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said, 727 confirmed Coronavirus patients in Pakistan have recovered ever since the outbreak -- 155 in the last 24 hours. The PM’s Special Assistant on Internal Security Moeed Yousuf also addressed the briefing.

Of the 284 new cases in Pakistan, 108 have been confirmed from Punjab, 92 from Sindh, 65 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, seven from Balochistan, five from Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and two from Islamabad. Reporting a case fatality rate of 1.46 in Pakistan as against the global 5.96, Dr Zafar said, over 1600,000 confirmed patients have been reported worldwide thus far, with 95,000 deaths and 360,000 recoveries.

Dr Zafar dismissed the myth of young people being immune to coronavirus by virtue of their age. “Seventy percent of the 4,601 confirmed patients in Pakistan (till the time of the press briefing) are aged less than 50 years; in fact, 65 percent fall in the 21-50 year age bracket. Let young people harbour no misconception; you need to remain just as protected as any other age group,” he advised.

Dr Zafar also shared that a majority of the patients (78 percent) constitute males. “Again, this does not mean that females are immune; men’s ratio is higher because while women are more strictly home-bound, men have greater exposure to the virus because they have to leave the house for errands,” he added.

The SAPM claimed having distributed personal protective equipment (PPEs) to 52 hospitals across the country. However, he emphasised the need for rational use of PPEs by health professionals. “Unless rationally used, we will be short of PPEs, regardless of the stocks in hand,” he pointed out. Dr Zafar predicted a massive increase in the demand for diagnostic tests in the days to come. Moreover, the NCOC is now developing a short video demonstrating guidelines on use of PPEs by health professionals including doctors, nurses and paramedics. The video will be released within three days.

Regretting the trend of coronavirus patients being stigmatised, Dr Zafar said, “This is a highly negative attitude. Coronavirus is akin to any other disease such as malaria or hepatitis. These are ordinary patients who deserve compassion and support,” he said.

Addressing the briefing, Moeed Yousuf announced that 2,000 Pakistanis stranded in Saudi Arabia, Thailand, UAE, Oman, Algeria, and Indonesia will be airlifted to Pakistan during next week.

Moreover, in addition to Islamabad Airport, the Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, and Peshawar airports will also be opened for international flights next week to airlift stranded passengers. However, he said, while domestic flights will remain suspended for all cities except Gilgit-Baltistan, private aircraft carrying three to four passengers will be allowed to fly. “These small aircraft fully meet all our health protocols vis-à-vis cleanliness and disinfection, among other considerations,” he reasoned.

Moeed said stranded passengers are being brought home in consonance with an objective criterion being followed by Pakistan’s missions abroad. “Passengers are classified into four categories in order of priority. The labour class that has been rendered jobless due to the coronavirus pandemic will be brought home on priority, followed by pilgrims who had proceeded to Saudi Arabia for Umrah, released prisoners who do not have the resources to stay on, and travellers whose visas are nearing expiry,” Moeed informed.

The SAPM said, the entire process is being implemented in consultation with the provinces.

Referring to the status of Pakistanis living in Afghanistan, Moeed said quarantine facilities on the Chaman and Torkham borders are being developed for their gradual return.

Our correspondents add: The third COVID-19 patient lost the battle for life in Lower Dir on Friday. Deputy District Health Officer (DDHO) Lower Dir Dr Irshad Ali said that Qaisar Khan, a member of Tablighi Jamaat, hailing from Rabat area in Lower Dir district, had returned from Balochistan and was admitted to District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) Timergara 12 days ago.

The patient, who was suffering from pulmonary disease, was referred to intensive care unit (ICU) at the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) Peshawar who breathed his last there, he added.

Earlier, a 60-year-old woman who had returned from Saudi Arabia after performing Umrah hailing from Ziarat Talash area in Lower Dir had died of COVID-19 on March, 25 at Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) Peshawar. A 73-year-old member of Tablighi Jamaat Dawood, hailing from Koto area, had returned from Jhelum on April 4 and was admitted to District Headquarters Hospital Timergara but due to his precarious condition he was referred to a hospital in Peshawar where he lost his life on Monday.

Another victim of coronavirus died at the Saidu Sharif Hospital in Swat on Friday, official sources said. They said that a 75-year old Ali Bakhsh belonging to Khwazakhela was tested positive for corona and was admitted at the isolation ward in Saidu Sharif Hospital.