Fighting on the front line, at least 253 healthcare workers infected with Covid-19 in Pakistan so far
At least 253 healthcare providers and medical workers have been infected with coronavirus in Pakistan so far, according to data shared by the National Emergency Operation Centre on Thursday.
Based on the report, which has data up until April 22, 124 doctors, 39 nurses and and 90 health workers have been infected by the virus in the country.
Ninety two of these healthcare providers are in isolation, 125 are admitted in hospitals while 33 have recovered and have been discharged.
The first known Covid-19 fatality among the local medical community occurred in Gilgit Baltistan when a young doctor, Usama Riaz, succumbed to the disease last month.
In Punjab, 83 medical workers have been affected so far, according to the ministry's data; this includes 53 doctors, 12 nurses and 18 health workers. Out of these, 15 are in isolation, 61 have been admitted to hospitals and eight have been discharged.
In Sindh, the total number of infected medical workers stands at 56, according to the report; this includes 19 doctors, 15 nurses and 22 other healthcare providers. Of these, 41 are admitted to hospitals and 15 have been discharged.
However, in a press conference held on Wednesday in Karachi by senior doctors, it was shared that in Sindh alone, 162 health professionals had tested positive.
The ministry's report says 30 medical workers have been infected so far in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; 14 doctors, four nurses and 12 health workers. Of these, 25 are in isolation, four are admitted to hospitals and one has been discharged.
In Balochistan, 32 medical professionals have been infected with the virus, out of which 24 are doctors, one is a nurse and seven are health workers. Twenty seven of these people are in isolation, four are admitted in hospitals and one has been discharged after being cured.
In Islamabad, 31 medical workers have been infected so far, out of which 12 are doctors, seven are nurses and 12 are health workers; 26 are in isolation, one is hospitalised, and three have been discharged. One medic, according to the report, lost their life.
In Azad Jammu and Kashmir, four medical workers have been infected. Out of these, one is a doctor and three are health workers. All four have recovered.
Gilgit Baltistan has lost two medics out of the 17 infected; 14 are being treated at hospitals and one has recovered.
On April 22, Pakistan passed the grim milestone of 10,000 Covid-19 cases; the day ended with a total of 10,513 cases, including 224 deaths.
The need for safety equipment for all healthcare providers has been repeatedly stressed in the country. A single breach in protocol — even an N95 mask reused once too often or an accidental mistake in wearing or removing personal protective equipment — can expose them to the contagion and its consequences.
Medical associations all over the country are asking the government to not ease the lockdown measures as doing so at the moment can lead to a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in the country.