RAWALPINDI: Two confirmed Covid-19 patients died at the Rawalpindi Institute of Urology (RIU) and Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) on Tuesday while Attock district reported its first death from the disease.

Moreover, 19 more patients tested positive in Rawalpindi, increasing the tally to 166 in the district.

With the two deaths, the toll from the disease has reached six in Rawalpindi.

“The first deceased, a resident of Dhoke Kashmirian, had no history of foreign travel though he had visited Karachi. His nine contacts have tested positive but they all are in a stable condition,” a senior official of the district administration said.

The second deceased, a 63-year-old woman from Bahria Phase 7, was brought to the BBH on Monday in a critical condition and died on Tuesday.

19 more patients test positive in Rawalpindi, increasing tally to 166

“She also had no travel history. The Islamabad health authorities have been notified regarding her contacts’ sampling,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner retired Capt Anwarul Haq confirmed the two deaths but said the number of patients recovering from the virus was increasing.

He said the district administration was working to disinfect the streets and residential localities form where the patients had arrived in hospitals. He said maximum facilities were also being provided to all confirmed and suspected patients.

He said an awareness campaign had also been launched to educate the citizens to stay indoors and avoid coming out without any reason. He said all officials of the administration were working to ensure provision of facilities to the citizens in hospitals, quarantines and in markets.

“As the number of patients is increasing we have managed to establish field hospitals to accommodate over 300 patients,” he said.

At present, 113 confirmed patients are admitted to Rawalpindi hospitals while 14 are in their houses and 17 have been discharged. However, 11 more patients tested positive in Jhelum, nine in Attock, 51 in Jhelum and seven in Chakwal.

As many as 73 suspected patients are waiting for the results of their reports from the National Institute of Health (NIH). Besides, 323 suspected patients arrived in hospitals and 230 of them were discharged after they tested negative.

Moreover, 541 members of Tableeghi Jamaat are in quarantine in Rawalpindi division - 163 in Rawalpindi district, 70 in Attock, 192 in Jhelum and 116 in Chakwal. On the other hand, 124 preachers are isolated in their houses, 270 are in mosques and 147 are in quarantine centres.

The patient, who died in Attock was 72 years old man and had tested positive on April 9. He was buried in Hazro on Tuesday. District health authorities confirmed that this was the first death attributed to Covid-19 in the district. Dr Asif Arbab Niazi, the district focal person for Covid-19, said the deceased, a resident of Ghorghusti in Hazro tehsil, was admitted to a hospital in Islamabad.

He said the district had a total of 10 Covid-19 cases, of which nine were pilgrims who had recently returned from Iran. He said 1,708 suspected cases had been screened in the district so far.

Rescue 1122 Hazro tehsil in-charge Muneeb Qureshi said the deceased was buried according to Covid-19 safety protocols under the supervision of police and security forces.

He said only rescue officials performed his funeral and burial rituals in safety gear. No relative was allowed to participate.

District health authorities also disinfected and sealed a private health centre in Hazro where the deceased was treated for several days before being taken to Islamabad. They have also taken samples from his relatives and quarantined them.

“They are being kept in isolation and their symptoms are being monitored,” said the chief officer of the Hazro city municipal committee, Sardar Aftab Khan.

He said the street where the deceased had lived had also been sealed and all 60 houses and their 230 or so residents quarantined. Announcements were made from mosques telling people to remain in their homes while security forces started patrolling to enforce the lockdown, he added.

Police and security agencies have set up pickets on roads leading to the street in order to prevent entry or exit, and the municipal committee and police personnel have been deployed there.

Deputy Commissioner Ali Annan Qammar and health and police officials visited the area and monitored the administration’s efforts to disinfect and lock down the area.

Separately, samples have been taken from 17 people, including three physicians and a barber, who have all been quarantined after a man they had interacted with tested positive for the disease.

According to health authorities, the patient is a resident of Kambalpur Syedan in Attock city who tested positive on Monday. District health authorities confirmed that this was the first death attributed to Covid-19 in the district.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2020