ISLAMABAD/KARACHI/LAHORE: The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country rose to 5,984 on Tuesday, with Sindh reporting 1,518 cases, Punjab 2,945, Balochistan 248, KP 865, Islamabad 131, Gilgit Baltistan (GB) 234 and AJK 43 till the filing of report at 1:59am on Wednesday.
The death toll stood at 107, with 38 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 35 in Sindh, two in Balochistan, three in Gilgit-Baltistan, 28 in Punjab, and one in the Islamabad Capital Territory.
Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza shared this information in a section of the PM’s televised post-NCC address here on Tuesday. “Confirmed cases in Pakistan are less than two-thirds of the predicted number; more than 100 deaths can also be said to have been prevented,” Dr. Zafar suggested.
The SAPM said, predictive modeling had been done with the help of experts to determine the case and fatality rate in Pakistan on the basis of currently existing international Covid-19 trends.
According to the forecast model, a copy of which is available with ‘The News,’ Pakistan should expect 50,989 confirmed cases by April 24, and 388 deaths by April 20. However, as stated by the SAPM, the actual number of cases and deaths are multiple times less than the projected figures.
It is learnt that province-wise predictive modeling was not done as available segregated data was not enough to predict with reasonable accuracy. However, the SAPM informed that even though Sindh was quicker to enforce stricter measures, well ahead of Punjab, “yet Sindh has reported more cases than predicted for the province, as compared to predictions made for Punjab.”
Dr. Zafar added that while it would be premature to derive any major conclusions from these predictive findings, it can still be stated that timely measures taken in Pakistan did have a favorable cumulative impact.
“Our first case was confirmed as late as on February 26. Then the government took major decisions in the March 13 meeting of the National Coordination Committee and proactively forged ahead with implementation. Today’s data shows that the effort has paid off,” he said, adding “while the scenario appears encouraging, there is no room for complacence or slackening of self-protection measures.”
Referring to the PM’s announcement of opening up of essential industries, Dr. Zafar said, detailed SOPs in the light of international best practices had been developed and shared with the provinces to ensure the safety of workers.
“The employers will be held accountable vis-a-vis implementation of the SOPs. The opening up of various sectors will be beneficial, only if the SOPs are adhered to with honesty,” he said.
Globally, 2 million Covid-19 cases have been confirmed, with 120,000 deaths and 450,000 recoveries. The case fatality rate is 6.2 at the global level, and 1.7 in Pakistan.
Within Pakistan, 51,432 tests had been conducted up until April 14, with 5,984 confirmed cases and 107 deaths. Three people have died during the last 24 hours. The maximum deaths in a day so far have been 14, followed by 7 deaths on two consecutive days.
“This does not suggest a declining trend because 46 people are still critical and on ventilators,” the SAPM concluded.
Meanwhile, as many as four more persons died, while 63 new cases were detected in Sindh during the last 24 hours, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said.
In his daily message, he said 663 tests were conducted during the last 24 hours. The death rate has increased from 2.1 percent to 2.3 percent.
The chief minister said that during the last 24 hours 663 new tests were conducted from which 66 new cases were detected. The number of tests conducted so far is 14,503 while the number of positive cases has reached to 1,518, he said.
Shah maintained that the death toll with new four deaths has reached to 35 or 2.3 percent. On Monday, the death rate was 2.1 percent.
He said that 671 patients were under treatment at their homes [isolation], 58 at Isolation Centers and 327 at different hospitals. “This shows that 1,056 patients are under treatment,” he said.
The chief minister giving district-wise break-up of the cases said, 176 were in Hyderabad, two in Jamshoro, one in Badin, 12 in Tando M. Khan, two in Sujawal, one in Dadu, eight in Shaheed Benazirabad, two in Sanghar, four in Naushehroferoze, 274 in Sukkur (pilgrims), 14 in Khairpur, two in Ghotki, 16 in Larkana, one in Jacobabad, 328 in Karachi East, 90 in West, 229 in South, 180 in Central, 79 in Malir and 97 in Korangi. “Out of 1,518 cases, 1003 are in Karachi, which is worrisome,” he said.
He said increasing number of coronavirus cases in Karachi called for adopting strict precautionary measures besides social distancing even at homes, otherwise there would be further penetrating in the slum areas. “This testing drive would continue in katchi Abadis,” he said.
About members of Tableeghi Jamaat, Shah said that they have been kept in isolation and their tests have been started. “I am thankful to all the Ulema for their cooperation and support,” he said.
He said that a testing drive has been lunched in the hot spot/slums of the city where 1,700 samples have been collected and their results would come tomorrow.
Murad Ali Shah said that eight patients had recovered during the last 24 hours and returned to their homes. So far, 427 patients have recovered which constitutes 29 percent of the total patients.
Giving age group, the chief minister said that 73 patients were between 1 to 10 years, 125 between 11 to 20 years, 336 between 21-30 years, 278 between 31 to 40 years, 214 between 41-50, 239 between 51 to 60, 165 between 61-70 years, 50 between 71 to 80 years and seven between 81 to 90 years. He said that frequency by gender showed that 78.2 percent patients were male and 31.8 percent female.
The chief minister urged all the people to keep themselves away from their elderly people.
“When you return to your home change your clothes, make yourself fresh, neat and clean and keep yourself at distance from your elders,” he said and added they were more prone to the infection.
Murad Ali Shah also urged the people of all walks of life to follow the SOP to be released by the government. “These restrictions may be considered as sureties of your health, therefore, your cooperation will ensure your safety and safety of your families,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, as many as 89 new COVID-19 patients were reported from across Punjab on Tuesday, taking the number of confirmed cases to 2,856.
As per spokesperson for the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, nine Covid-19 patients are in a critical condition. As many as 508 patients have so far recovered from coronavirus. They have been discharged after testing negative for the virus. One prisoner at the Cot Lakhpat Jail has also recovered from the virus.
The fatalities due to coronavirus remain 24 in the province so far, which include 11 in Lahore, six in Rawalpindi, two in Rahim Yar Khan and one each in Multan, Bahawalpur, Jhelum, Faisalabad and Gujranwala.
Out of total confirmed Covid-19 patients, 992 are preachers of the Tableeghi Jamaat, 701 pilgrims who recently returned from Iran, 89 prisoners in four districts and 1,074 citizens who either had travel history or fell victim to local transmission.
Of the 992 confirmed Covid-19 preachers, 472 are at a quarantine centre at Raiwind, 61 in Bhakar, 52 in Muzaffargarh, 41 in Jhelum, 37 in Vehari, 35 each in Hafizabad and Sargodha, 27 in Layyah, 19 in Sialkot, 17 in Mandi Bahauddin, 15 in Narowal, 12 in Sheikhupura, 10 in Gujrat, nine each in Bahawalnagar and Rajanpur, seven each in Mianwali and Sahiwal, six each in Rawalpindi and Faisalabad, four in Rahim Yar Khan, two each in Nankana Sahib, Gujranwala and Khushab.
As many as 10,263 preachers who have recently attended Tableeghi Ijtema are at quarantine centres in 33 districts for testing and isolation.
Out of 701 confirmed patients from amongst pilgrims, 457 are at a quarantine centre in Multan, 221 in Dera Ghazi Khan and 23 in Faisalabad. So far 1,074 citizens have been tested positive for the virus from across the province. These people either have a travel history or they got infected through local transmission.
The highest number of cases has been reported from Lahore where 469 patients are under treatment at different centres. As many as 138 patients are under treatment in Gujrat, 87 in Rawalpindi, 42 in Rahim Yar Khan, 38 in Gujranwala, 35 in Vehari, 33 in Jhelum, 32 in Faisalabad, 30 in Sialkot, 23 in Multan, 18 in DG Khan, 16 in Nankana Sahib, 14 in Sargodha, 12 in Hafizabad, 11 in Mianwali, 10 in Sheikhupura, nine each in Kasur and Mandi Bahauddin, eight in Narowal, six in Bahawalpur, five in Bahawalnagar, four each in Chakwal and Khushab, three in Lodhran, two each in Toba Tek Singh and Khanewal and one each in Attock, Pakpattan, Layyah, Okara and Jhang.
Out of 89 Covid-19 patients in jails, 59 are in Lahore, 14 in Sialkot, nine in DG Khan and seven in Gujranwala. The Punjab Health Department has forwarded SOPs for handling of Covid-19 patients and saving other prisoners in jails to the Home Department.
As per the spokesperson, serious patients are under treatment at High Dependency Units and those with normal or mild symptoms are at quarantine centres and isolation wards of public sector hospitals. 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.
At least 89 prisoners have tested positive for coronavirus in four jails of the province due to alleged sheer negligence of jail authorities.
New prisoners are still being sent to the affected jails that would prove fatal during the ongoing spread of pandemic. A source in the Punjab Prisons Department told The News that the safe inmates of the Camp Jail, who were locked in old section of the jail, have been shifted to two new jails of the province. On the other hand, the affected people of the same jail housed in new section have been shifted to old section by declaring it a quarantine centre.
He said the new section which was emptied from the affected prisoners is still being used for the upcoming under trial prisoners. The same practice is being done in other jails of the province.
As the staff keeps on moving from one section to the other, there are chances of spread of coronavirus. The official suggested that the upcoming under trial prisoners should be quarantined for 15 days and then they should be considered safe for shifting in healthy sections of jails. The official report shows that out of total 89 confirmed cases, 59 are in Camp Jail Lahore, 14 in Sialkot, 7 in Gujranwala and 9 in DG Khan. Overall the tests of 527 prisoners were conducted in Camp Jail.
The department has received report of 438 out of which 59 have been tested positive and 379 were negative. In Sialkot jail, the tests of 36 prisoners and 19 jailers were sent to lab. It’s also learnt that total 1,500 prisoners of Camp Jail have been shifted to two jails - 800 in Hafizabad and 700 in Lodhran.
The first case of Corona was reported in Camp Jail on 21 March. The inmate had returned from Italy and sent to jail in a drugs case.
Meanwhile, Covid-19 continued targeting more doctors, nurses and paramedics at Multan’s Nishtar Hospital as six more doctors tested positive on Tuesday, health officials said. The total number of health personnel including doctors, nurses, paramedics and citizens has reached 41 at the Nishtar Hospital. However, no corona patient could recover from the virus attack at the hospital. Female doctors are among the infected persons.
The corona virus has infected three nurses and five paramedics at the hospital while seven citizens were also infected by virus. As many as 147 new corona suspects were admitted to the Nishtar Hospital.
A Pakistan Medical Association spokesperson has said the numbers of corona infected doctors has reached 26 after six new doctors tested positive. Besides, three nurses and five paramedics have been tested positive.