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May 22, 2020

18 doctors test positive for virus in Lahore hospital

Top Story

 
May 22, 2020

Ag APP

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD/QUETTA/KARACHI: Eighteen doctors at a Lahore General Hospital were diagnosed with Covid-19 on Thursday, triggering the three-day closure of a ward as the nationwide coronavirus infections exceeded 49,000 with 1,037 deaths.

All 18 doctors are from the hospital’s orthopaedics ward. Medical Superintendent Mahmood Tariq said the ward has since been disinfected and is now closed for an initial period of three days. In a separate hospital, the Institute of Neuroscience, three doctors and two nurses have also tested positive for the contagion, hospital sources told Geo News.

According to a World Health Organisation report released early this month, Pakistani doctors are the most affected by the coronavirus among their healthcare peers, including paramedics and nurses.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah announced on Thursday that he was dedicating this year to frontline workers such as doctors and medical staff. The development came as the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) was informed that 22 per cent of healthcare workers were performing duties in critical care, while over 1,000 were affected by the coronavirus.

The NCOC, headed by Minister for Planning Asad Umar, was also told that 631 “smart lockdowns” were in place across the country and testing capacity had been doubled.

The NCOC meeting discussed the EPI curve chart, decision support system, TTQ update, update on task tracker and communication strategy along with standard operating procedures (SOPs) for Eid.

In a video message ahead of Jummatul Wida and Eidul Fitr, Minister for Interior Brig (retd) Ejaz Shah urged the nation to follow the government’s SOPs. He asked people to observe social distancing while offering prayers and urged the wearing of masks at public places.

He also advised the people not to hug each other on Eid as per the SOPs and just extend greetings while maintaining the advised distance. “Easing lockdown does not mean that the coronavirus has ended in Pakistan. The virus is still there and will remain until the development of vaccine and medicine,” he said.

Meanwhile, the All Pakistan Public Transport Owners Federation announced the resumption of transport after successful talks with the Punjab government. There was a deadlock for days over government SOPs. According to the revised SOPs agreed upon between the transporters and the government. Buses running on Grand Trunk thoroughfare will be allowed to seat one passenger per two seats without a fare discount. The transporters said bus crew would make sure sanitisers and face masks are being used, however, passengers need to make sure they are wearing face masks on their own.

The ban on public transport in Balochistan, however, would remain. Speaking to reporters in Quetta, government spokesman Liaquat Shahwani said: “It is feared that with the resumption of transport services, the coronavirus will spread to our villages and less developed areas.” He added that about 30 per cent of the province’s districts were safe from the virus.