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Least regard for SOPs causes surge in corona cases

May 15, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 36,736 and fatalities to 788 on Thursday, as buyers and traders’ willful disregard for the safety protocols has given the virus a free rein to infect and kill more.

The federal and provincial governments have set safety/health protocols for the masses and exhorted the masses to adhere them to the letter for their safety, but all these SOPs are being flouted by the people. The markets and bazaars are bursting at the seams with happy buyers wearing no masks and standing closely together.

Of the total confirmed cases of 36,736 countrywide, Sindh reported 14,099 cases, Punjab 13,561, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 5,423, Balochistan 2,239, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) 822, Gilgit-Baltistan 501, and AJK 91 as of 12:30am. Of the 788deaths countrywide, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reported 275 deaths, Sindh 243, Balochistan 27, Gilgit-Baltistan 4, Punjab 284, Islamabad Capital Territory 6 and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) one.

Meanwhile, the death of nine more patients on Thursday raised the death toll to 223 in Punjab, while confirmed cases rose to 13,561 with the addition of 336 new infections.

Out of a total of 223 fatalities as of 11:53pm, 82 took place in Lahore, 38 in Rawalpindi, 37 in Multan, 24 in Gujranwala, 15 in Faisalabad, six in Sargodha, five in Rahim Yar Khan, three in Gujrat, two each in Bahawalpur and Toba Tek Singh and one each in Attock, Hafizabad, Jhang, Sahiwal, Nankana Sahib, Sialkot, Muzaffargarh, Sheikhupura and Narowal.

Out of total 13,561 patients in Punjab so far, 1,926 are members of Tableeghi Jamaat, 768 pilgrims returning from Iran, 86 prisoners in nine districts and 10,781 citizens, who mostly have fallen prey to local transmission. Out of total confirmed patients, 4,636 have gone to their homes after recovery and 223 died while 8,702 are still under treatment at different hospitals and quarantine facilities across the province.

Out of the collective figure of common citizens, prisoners and those isolated at quarantine facilities in Punjab, the highest number of 6,699 cases have been confirmed in Lahore alone, which has become an epicentre of coronavirus with 82 casualties and addition of 178 new patients in a single day.

Besides, 978 patients are diagnosed with Covid-19 in Multan, 792 in Gujranwala, 791 in Rawalpindi, 601 in Gujrat, 524 in Faisalabad, 461 in Sialkot, 325 in Sargodha, 277 in Dera Ghazi Khan, 176 in Muzaffargarh, 165 in Rahim Yar Khan, 163 in Jhelum, 132 in Bahawalpur, 127 in Lodhran, 126 in Hafizabad, 105 in Vehari, 98 in Sheikhupura, 96 in Kasur, 95 in Khushab, 93 in Bhakkar, 80 in Mandi Bahauddin, 78 in Narowal, 65 in Attock, 62 in Jhang, 58 in Nankana Sahib, 48 in Bahawalnagar, 47 in Layyah, 43 in Chiniot, 38 in Pakpattan, 36 in Sahiwal, 33 in Rajanpur, 31 in Mianwali, 30 each in Toba Tek Singh and Okara, 24 inKhanewal and 20 in Chakwal.

As per spokesperson for Corona Monitoring Room at Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, so far 145,577 tests have been performed in the province. Out of them, he said, 13,561 tested positive for the virus.

In Sindh, the virus claimed nine more lives between Wednesday and Thursday in Sindh, raising the death toll due to the infectious disease in the province to 243, said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in a statement issued on Thursday.

He added that 758 new cases of COVID-19 had also been detected in Sindh during the 24 hours. The CM maintained that they had tested 4,487 samples between Wednesday and Thursday, of which 758 tested positive, which was 17 per cent of the samples.

He maintained that since the first COVID-19 case in the province, 107,827 samples had been tested and 14,099 cases, which were 13.1 per cent of the total tests, diagnosed. Currently, 10,783 patients were under treatment, of whom 9,307 were in home isolation, 915 at isolation centres and 561 at different hospitals, the CM said, adding that 105 patients were in a critical state, including 37 on ventilators.

According to Shah, so far 243 patients have recovered from the viral disease. He said the ratio of recovered patients was 17 per cent of the total patients. He said of the 758 new cases in Sindh, Karachi had 555, of which 137 belonged to District East, 124 to District Central, 107 to District South, 72 to District Korangi, 72 to District Malir and 58 belonged to District West.

About the rest of Sindh, the CM 33 new cases had been diagnosed in Hyderabad, 26 in Larkana, 16 in Matiari, six in Tando Mohammad khan, five in Kamber-Shahdadkot, three each in Dadu, Ghotki and Jacobabad, two each in Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, Shaheed Benazirabad, Shikarpur and Jamshoro, and one each in Tharparkar, Kashmore-kandhkot, Naushehroferoze, Sujawal, and Thatta.

Talking about Larkana, Shah said four deaths from the novel coronavirus had been established there while it was also being suspected that eight other deaths in a Mohalla were also caused by the contagious disease. “We have collected 105 samples of contacts of the eight persons who died due to unknown reasons for laboratory tests and their results are awaited,” he added.

Shah also lamented the people resisting giving their samples for lab tests. “This is a result of the baseless propaganda under which people on social media are seen saying coronavirus is nothing and it is a conspiracy while others are saying that fake tests are being conducted,” he said and pleaded to the people to understand the gravity of the situation as many people had died of the infection.

The CM deplored a similar propaganda in Pir-jo-Goth, Khairpur, where people had been misguided that fake tests were being conducted by the government.

“I am fighting for the lives and health of the people but some people without caring about the health and lives of others are playing politics for their vested interests,” he remarked.

The CM urged the people not to be influenced by the baseless propaganda and take care of themselves and others around them. He hoped that everyone would cooperate with the health department to help make its efforts against the viral disease succeed.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the pandemic claimed nine more lives on Thursday, raising the death toll to 284.

Also, 171 more people tested positive, taking the tally to 5,423 in the province. Peshawar continued to suffer more than any other district in KP as it lost four more lives as a result of the chronic disease. With these four deaths, the total number of fatalities in Peshawar reached 168.

It was also reported 73 positive cases on Thursday. Peshawar, which is stated to be the most affected place in the country, has recorded 2160 positive cases since outbreak of the infectious disease.

The virus claimed one life each in Charsadda, Mardan, Swabi, Swat and Malakand districts. As of May 14, 2020, the case fatality rate (CFR) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was 5.23 as compared to Wednesday's 5.23, the most in the country, with confirmed cases 5423 that is 171 new confirmed cases and 284 deaths, that is 9 new deaths which is still the most in the country.

The case fatality rate in Peshawar was 7.77 as compared to Wednesday's 7.85, the most in any city of Pakistan, confirmed cases, 2160 that is 73 new confirmed cases, deaths: 168 that is four new deaths which is still the most in the province. The case fatality rate has remained the same in KP while it decreased in Peshawar as compared to Wednesday.

With nine deaths reported in the last 24 hours from KP and four of them from Peshawar, it means that Peshawar has contributed 45 per cent of the deaths occurred in the province during the last 24 hours, and the situation is continuously very dismal, bleak and worse in KP in general and in Peshawar in particular.

APP adds: Amid the coronavirus crisis, a whooping number of nationals still remain stuck abroad due to closure of international regular flight operations across the world. However, the silver lining is that the Government of Pakistan rose to the challenge and took lead in starting relief flight operations for evacuation of its citizens from multiple countries.

As of May 13, at least 24,500 stranded Pakistanis have been repatriated from various countries under the special repatriation operation announced by the government after halting the international flights in March end to curb the coronavirus spread in the country, a senior officer of the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development told APP on Thursday.

He said the repatriation of stranded Pakistanis was being carried out in phases. Laid-off Pakistani workers, students and people with expired visas were given top priority during the repatriation process, he added.

Giving breakup, the officer said most of the repatriated citizens were from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as it always remained a top destination for Pakistani workers.

Till May 13, over 9,100 nationals were brought to Pakistan from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 1300 from Qatar, 1,000 from Saudi Arabia, 600 Oman, 227 Bahrain and 150 from Iraq. He said the government had also made arrangements for airlifting the Pakistanis from other countries like the United Kingdom from where it brought back some 3,000 nationals.

The officer said initially, the country’s bandwidth for airlifting the stranded nationals from across the globe was 2,000 per week, which was later increased to over 6,000 per week to boost the repatriation process, he added.

At least 49 flights would be operating between May 11 and May 21 to bring back 11,660 overseas Pakistanis from across the globe, the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis tweeted, announcing the addition of more flights in the already issued flight schedule. According to the ministry, 2,560 Pakistanis would return home from the UAE through 10 special flights.

During the said period, seven flights would airlift 1,750 Pakistanis from Qatar, whereas six flights were arranged for the stranded nationals in Saudi Arabia. Similarly, a large number of Pakistanis would be evacuated from China, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Oman under the special repatriation operation. It may be mentioned here that the efforts of government of Pakistan with regard to the repatriation of its national are being hailed at national and international level.