ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR/KARACHI: The death toll from COVID-19 in Pakistan rose to 169 on Sunday with record 24 new deaths in a day, and number of confirmed infections reached 8,411 as the virus cases are now sharply increasing in the country.
Out of total cases, Punjab has 3,822, Sindh 2,537, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 1,137 Balochistan 432, Islamabad Capital Territory 171, Gilgit-Baltistan 263 and Azad Kashmir has 49 cases.
So far, 1,868 patients of coronavirus have recovered, while 167 have died including 56 in Sindh, 41 in Punjab, 60 in KP, two in ICT, five in Balochistan and three in GB.
As many as 47 corona patients are in critical condition. 98.522 tests were conducted during the last 24 hours. There are 63 percent cases of local transmission, while foreign travel cases are 37 percent.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that coronavirus hit high on Sunday when it claimed eight lives and pushed the death toll to 56 within a month. “May God have mercy on us and save our people from this novel virus,” the CM said in a video message released from the CM House.
He said that during the last 24 hours, 1,520 COVID-19 tests were conducted in Sindh, of them 182 were diagnosed as positive. The number of tests conducted so far comes to 24,458.
It may be noted that on Saturday, 138 positive cases came out of 1,666 tests and the positive cases increased by another 182 cases when 1,520 more tests were conducted. “The positive cases keep on increasing when more samples are tested,” the chief minister said.
Murad Ali Shah said that eight patients of coronavirus lost their lives on Sunday, which was the highest toll during the 24 hours so far. “The first COVID-19 patient had died on March 19 and after that, the highest number of deaths of six patients was reported on April 11 and on Sunday it has claimed eight lives, which is quite saddening and painful,” he said and added: “The total death toll of a month from March 19 to April 19 has reached 56, which is 2.1 per cent of the total patients.”
Murad Ali Shah said that the death of 56 patients in a month was quite worrisome and it showed that the coronavirus was claiming more than one life every day, therefore, he urged the people to adopt precautionary measures.
Talking about the patients under treatment, the chief minister said that 1,066 were in home isolation, 492 at isolation centres and 299 were in different hospitals. The total number of patients under treatment are 1,857, he said, and added 33 patients had recovered and left for their homes and patients who recovered so far were 625, which is 25 per cent of the total patients.
Giving details of the Tableeghi Jamaat people, the chief minister said that out of the 4,724 people, 4,346 were tested, of them 494 came as positive. Three more Tableeghi Jamaat people had recovered and returned to their homes.
The chief minister said that the first flight from Oman had brought 176 Pakistanis and they all were tested. “With the grace of God, 170 of the Oman-based Pakistanis tested as negative while the result of six others was being awaited.” He added that the male passengers had been kept at the Labour Colony while females were housed in the Ramada Hotel at the airport.
Murad Ali Shah said that very soon he would relax the lockdown, but it would not be the same life as it was on January 1. “We all have to adopt new health-oriented precautionary measures in our lives and these precautions would continue till the treatment of COVID-19 is discovered,” he warned. He said that the coronavirus has brought an emergency all over the world and all the nations were fighting against it by adopting precautionary measures suggested by the experts. “We are a Muslim nation believing in hygiene and purity, therefore, time has come to practice these principles of Islam,” he said.
The chief minister in his concluding remarks urged the people to keep social distancing even from their family members. “When anyone returns to his/her home, he/she must wash hands and change clothes and preferably take shower to keep his/her family members safe and secure from the virus,” he said.
In Hyderabad, more than 40 policemen have been quarantined in the CIA Centre after coronavirus test report of an arrested suspect came back as positive.
In-charge CIA Munir Abbasi said that 35 personnel of CIA and 10 of A-section police station had been put under quarantine.
Situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has become quite alarming as 10 more patients died of coronavirus in a day, the largest number of people who died in a single day from the incurable disease in the country since outbreak of the COVID-19.
With these 10 fatalities, death toll from coronavirus has reached 60 in KP, according to the provincial Health Department. Also, 62 more patients tested positive in the province on Saturday that raised the total number of the infected patients to 1,137. KP Director General Health Services Dr Tahir Nadeem said that 226 patients had recovered from coronavirus in the province thus far, 10 among them only on Saturday. The provincial capital city, Peshawar, has been in the grip of the virus for the past few weeks as among the latest 10 fatalities, four died in Peshawar.
Until now, Peshawar has lost 26 people, where, according to the authorities, the virus has spread to 44 major residential areas. And out of 62 new confirmed positive cases, 28 were reported only from Peshawar in a single day.
After Peshawar, Swat and Mansehra reported nine positive cases each. A man, Shahabuddin, tested positive in Lower Chitral and that was the first case from this far-off district. In Swat, the home district of Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, the virus has quickly spread to different areas and 84 people had been confirmed as infected with the virus.
Eight people lost lives in Swat as a result of COVID-19 until now, which is the highest in KP after Peshawar. Other districts, including Mardan, Swabi, Upper Dir, Abbottabad, Buner, Shangla and Dera Ismail Khan also reported positive cases. The authorities are clueless about the sudden rise in the spread of the virus the causalities it has been causing in KP.
However, health experts believe that since the virus has now spread to most of the densely populated areas, therefore it was a major reason the way it transmitted to a large portion of the population. Another reason, according to the experts, is an utter lack of awareness among the people about the communicable disease and their behaviour towards the pandemic.
Majority of the people in KP have not taken seriously the meaning of lockdown and social distancing. This is why when the government relaxed lockdown to people associated with certain professions, they got it as if the disaster was over. According to government officials, a very limited number of people followed the government instructions about the social distancing and acting on precautionary measures to remain safe from the infectious disease. “The problem is most of the people, either for lack of information or their misconception, don’t even believe that coronavirus is in fact, a disease and can be transmitted from one person to another person,” said an official of the Health Department.
Pleading anonymity, he said the government in the initial few days was serious about taking action against those used to mislead people about the disease through their baseless propaganda on social media. “I don’t understand why the government has stopped taking interest in initiating disciplinary action against certain elements spreading mistrust on social media about COVID-19. It is causing a serious loss to efforts of the government and would endanger the lives of innocent people,” he said.
Pakistan Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) in Punjab has said that as many as 136 cases were reported since 4pm and up to 10pm on Sunday, bringing the province’s tally to 3,822.
Punjab Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid said that 29 more patients have been recovered from Mayo Hospital Expo Centre and Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI) Hospital.
In a statement in Lahore on Sunday, the minister informed that till yet, collectively 206 patients from Lahore have been recovered from coronavirus disease.
She said 54,000 diagnosis tests have been done and more than 608 patients have been recovered across the province.