ISLAMABAD: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 9,739 on Tuesday after new infections were confirmed. AS many as 17 died of the complications related to coronavirus infections in a day.
The total number of confirmed cases stood at 9,739, with Sindh reporting 3,053 cases, Punjab 4,328, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 1,345, Balochistan 495, Islamabad Capital Territory 185, Gilgit-Baltistan 283 and Azad Jammu and Kashmir 50.
The dead toll stood at 209, with 80 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 66 in Sindh, six in Balochistan, three in Gilgit-Baltistan, 51 in Punjab and three in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar Tuesday reported two more deaths in the province from the virus. The grim total now stands at 51. The total number of infected now number 4,328. So far, 724 have recovered.According to Buzdar, 63,395 tests have so far been conducted in the province.
According to Murtaza Wahab, adviser to the Sindh chief minister on law, a patient from Karachi who had tested positive on March 15 was discharged after a week and remained in isolation for 34 days.
He tested negative after 34 days, said Wahab, adding: "Please isolate and help us help you". The Sindh health department spokesperson cautioned against acting irresponsibly, saying that the spread of the virus "will get very difficult to contain".
Meanwhile, the easing of lockdown in Punjab triggered a sharp increase in local transmission of novel coronavirus, as 60 new cases were confirmed on Tuesday among common citizens with no travel history or being part of a high-risk group.
Out of total 4,255 confirmed Covid-19 patients inPunjab so far, the virus has affected 1,545 citizens, who either contracted the disease from foreign-returned patients or fell victim to local transmission. As many as 2,697 were among the high-risk groups including a total of 1,857 participants of Tablighi Jamaat congregation, 743 pilgrims, who had returned from Iran, and 97 prisoners in nine districts.
Meanwhile, another four Covid-19 patients died in provincial capital on Tuesday, which raised the number of casualties to 23 in Lahore among 49 deaths occurring in Punjab so far. The confirmed cases of coronavirus positive swelled to 4,255 with the addition of 60 new cases in the province.
The reader of SP Civil Lines, Hafeez, has also tested positive for coronavirus, raising the number to nine in the Punjab Police Department. He has been shifted to a quarantine centre. The samples of SP Civil Lines Dost Muhammad Khosa and other policemen were also taken to rule out the chance of being corona victims.
Out of 49 casualties in Punjab so far, 23 patients died in Lahore, nine in Rawalpindi, six in Multan, two each in Rahim Yar Khan and Gujrat and one each in Bahawalpur, Jhelum, Faisalabad and Toba Tek Singh.
Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said that a total of 12,000 participants in Tablighi Jamaat had been quarantined in various districts of Punjab. “The most number of cases have been confirmed among high risk groups of Tablighi Jamaat, Zaireen from Iran and prisoners in jails,” she said, adding that 90 per cent of patients did not need hospitalisation, but they have been kept in hospitals or quarantines to prevent further spread of the virus.
The minister said Pakistan had the highest ratio of tests per million population in the region as the country conducted 455/million tests in comparison with 289/million in India, 180/million in Bangladesh and 200/million in Sri Lanka.
She revealed that 26 out of 27 healthcare providers affected by the virus while treating the patients at Nishtar Hospital Multan had recovered from Covid-19. She said that there was no dearth of personal protective equipment (PPEs) for healthcare providers anywhere in the province. “The disease is not necessarily fatal but it is very dangerous; therefore it is necessary to follow proper safety measures so that the pandemic does not spread, and the people over 70 years of age must take all precautions possible,” she advised.
The Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS) administration, which is looking after Covid-19 patients at Lahore's Camp Jail, has confirmed recovery of 10 more prisoners from the virus. So far 48 inmates of Camp Jail have defeated the virus.
The Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department (P&SHD) spokesperson said that so far a total of 61,174 tests had been conducted in the province. He said that 724 patients had recovered and sent home. He said that 14 serious patients are under treatment at High Dependency Units.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the corona situation is deteriorating with each passing day, as 14 people have been killed in the last two days, bringing the total death toll to 80. With 39 new patients diagnosed with Covid-19, the number of total confirmed positive cases rose to 1,276 in KP.
According to an official report released by the provincial Health Department, seven patients each died of coronavirus on Sunday and Monday.
KP is still ahead of all other provinces in terms of human losses caused by the COVID-19, and is far behind in testing capacity, though Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra had claimed recently they would soon raise it.
Also, apart from rise in human losses from the coronavirus, a shocking fact is the high fatality rate from Covid-19 in KP. With the latest fatalities, the present mortality rate in KP is 5.04 per cent. There is no one to explain the reasons behind the high mortality rate in KP from Covid-19.
This correspondent made multiple attempts to seek comments from Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra and Director General Health Services Dr Tahir Nadeem, but both of them avoided comments.
They neither answered phone calls from this correspondent nor replied to the text messages delivered to their cell numbers. The health experts, however, outlined certain reasons behind high mortality rate in KP, including the low detection rate, discouraging patients at the public sector hospitals, not even entertaining seriously sick ones, with co-morbid conditions until and unless not tested positive for coronavirus, and then it becomes too late for them to recover.
Also, continuous confusion around discretionary services provision in the public and private sectors is stated be a reason for high mortality in KP. Of the seven fatalities, six victims died in Peshawar and remaining one person succumbed to the disease in the Malakand district.
Before that, six patients had died in Peshawar and two others in the Kurram tribal district, where a large number of "Zaireen" had recently returned from Iran, and the majority of them had tested positive for Covid-19.
In Pakistan, the virus first arrived with Zaireen" from Iran who had crossed the border and were initially quarantined in the border area of Taftan in Balochistan. Since no proper arrangements were made for their isolation, therefore most of the "Zaireen" in Taftan contracted the virus from each other.
The KP government had made excellent arrangements for their isolation in Dera Ismail Khan and Peshawar that not only helped them overcome the disease but also saved their lives.
And majority of those quarantined in DI Khan and Peshawar had praised the KP government for taking care of them well. In KP, Peshawar is badly affected, as 37 people, out of 74 died of coronavirus so far, belonged to the provincial capital city. Also, it reported 17 cases, out of 39 confirmed positive cases, on Monday.
On Sunday, Peshawar had reported 25 new cases, out total 58. By now, it had recorded 363 confirmed positive cases, where the virus is stated to have spread to more than 50 residential areas. It has become a big challenge to the district administration as well as local police to ensure proper lockdown in areas that reported confirmed positive cases. Deputy Commissioner Peshawar Mohammad Ali Asghar told The News 107 places were quarantined and sealed. He said the number of places reduced to 83 as 24 places were de-quarantined on Monday.
Meanwhile, the district administration in Peshawar continued inspecting various places and arrested 230 more people, mostly shopkeepers, on violation of Section 144. The district administration during their weeklong crackdown arrested 1226 people in Peshawar on violating Section 144 and unnecessarily visiting markets and making crowds.
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