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The News Special on COVID-19: New strategy against corona working in ICT

Top Story

July 1, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Declining case positivity and a tremendous upward recovery trend portray the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) as reaping the dividends of smart lockdown within just two weeks of implementation of the Test, Trace and Quarantine (TTQ) strategy to restrain the vicious spread of Covid-19.

The mortality rate in the federal capital, however, still remains high. According to the data available with The News, only 1,292 patients tested positive in the last week of June as opposed to 1,977 in the previous week (June 17 to 23).

The number of recoveries has also shown a tremendous upward trend over the last two weeks. As of June 16, only 2,037 of the 8,857 confirmed patients of Covid-19 in ICT had recovered from the disease. In contrast, 5,224 recoveries have been reported during the last two weeks alone. The mortality rate remains a concern nonetheless, as the city is yet to experience a decline in the number of Covid-19 deaths.

The outbreak exemplified a shocking pattern as it hit the federal capital. There were only 2,192 confirmed cases with 23 deaths during the period betweenFebruary 26 — when the first positive case was confirmed in Islamabad — and May 30. In the month that followed (May 31 to June 30), as many as 10,683 new cases were confirmed with 105 deaths.

Health experts blamed relaxation in partial lockdown —allowed in view of Eidul Fitr — as having triggered the case positivity rate, which registered a tremendous increase within just a week of the festive occasion. During the period between June 1 and 15, Islamabad became the country’s worst hit area, reporting the highest number of cases per population compared to other districts.

During the said period, 6,000 new patients tested positive for Covid-19, with the death toll rising from 28 to an alarming 78. It was at this juncture that the government planned the imposition of smart lockdown under the TTQ strategy, and the impact was visible within a week.

“While it is heartening to note a decline in the number of confirmed cases in ICT, the situation may worsen yet again if the laid down SOPs are not adhered to at the time of Eidul Azha,” District Health Officer Dr. Muhammad Zaeem Zia flagged while talking to The News on Tuesday.

Zaeem said, well over 60 percent of the total cases reported from ICT thus far were concentrated in the urban areas because of population clusters. To date, a total of 12,775 patients have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 in ICT; of these, 128 have lost their lives, 7,261 have recovered, and 5,386 are active cases.

It is also an astonishing observation that 77.3 percent of all cases in ICT are below 50 years of age, while 80.4 percent of all deaths are among patients over 50 years of age, with 67 percent being males.

Updated data reveals that 98 percent of deceased remained hospitalized, while 62 to 64 percent had co-morbidities. It is pertinent to mention that only 3 out of 128 patients died at their homes.

Data collected by ‘The News’ also reveal that around 50 percent of all deaths in ICT have been reported from 15 sectors in the urban area; these are F-6, I-10, G-6, G-10, G-11, I-9, G-8, E-11, F-10, G-13, I-8, G-7, G-9, H-8 and F-7; the proportion of confirmed cases in the federal capital is also almost similar.

There are also 450 unknown active cases in ICT, meaning that their area of residence is unknown so far. According to Dr. Zaeem, a majority of active cases of Covid-19 in Islamabad are concentrated in the Lohi Bher, Bhara Kahu, Tarlai, Rawat, Sohan and Khanna Pul areas, wherefrom 26 deaths have already been reported.

In the urban areas, I-8, G-8, G-9, G-7, I-10, G-10, G-6, G-11, F-6, E-11, F-11, F-8 and I-9 sectors have a majority of the active cases. Of the 128 Covid-19 deaths in Islamabad, 65 have been reported from these 13 sectors.