PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa registered a spike in coronavirus cases on Friday as 77 more people tested positive for the virus taking the tally to 180.

Among them is Mardan MPA Abdus Salam Afridi, said a health department report.

The lawmaker tested positive few days after the country’s first coronavirus death was recorded in his constituency, Mardan.

Of the new cases, 34 were reported in Mardan, five in Peshawar, four in Buner and three each in Nowshera, Swabi and Mansehra and one each in DI Khan, Malakand, Charsadda, Orakzai, Shangla and Swat.

The respective district administrations ordered a complete lockdown in the areas, where the confirmed Covid-19 cases hailed from.

District admins order lockdown of areas with confirmed cases

The province also recorded 100 suspected virus cases in the day.

Two confirmed coronavirus patients in Mardan were discharged from a local hospital after complete recovery.

According to the report, the province has recorded a total of 820 suspected cases since the outbreak of the virus. Of them, 195 tested negative for the disease, while the results of the tests of 345 are awaited.

The report said more than 400 pilgrims were quarantined and 52 of them tested positive for the virus and 49 negative, while the reports of the test of 177 have yet to be received from the lab.

It said 8,533 health care providers had been trained in all districts, while the personal protective equipment was being provided to them.

The relevant officials told Dawn that the government was concerned about the spread of coronavirus and wanted to strengthen the health and quarantine systems to contain the virus.

They said the administrations of all districts were striving to prevent Covid-19 with many district health officers trying to track the people, who recently returned from the virus-hit countries, with the help of the locals.

Swat district health officer Dr Mohammad Akram Shah said a confirmed coronavirus case, who returned from UK lately, was being managed.

He said the people, who got in contact with the patient, had tested negative for the virus.

The DHO said the people should stay home to prevent the virus.

“We are using the strategy of home quarantine and lockdown of areas for symptomless individuals, while our medical teams are visiting them at home,” he said.

The DHO said only the people with ‘case definition’ were admitted to isolation centres.

Meanwhile, the Young Doctors’ Association has begun a telemedicine programme in hospitals during lockdown. The doctors speak to patients and prescribe them medicine over the telephone.

YDA president Dr Rizwan Kundi said the association’s representatives examined over 2,000 people in the last two days.

“Our centre at the Institute of Kidney Diseases has got specialists to listen to the patients’ complaints and prescribe medication. Our helpline is 0311-1333699, which works from 9am to 7pm daily,” he said.

Dr Rizwan said the association would soon extend the programme to Shangla, Swat, Kohat and Abbottabad.

He said the association also ran an online OPD from Hayatabad Medical Complex, and got WhatsApp calls and messages on 03441005478.

“The measure is meant to prevent crowds in hospital,” PDA information secretary Dr Salim Yousafzai said.

Dr Khalid Mahmood of the Lady Reading Hospital told Dawn it was the delivery of healthcare services, where distance was a critical factor, by healthcare professionals using information and communication technologies in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities.

Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2020