RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD: The number of Covid-19 cases reported in Rawalpindi rose to 818 on Wednesday after 85 more people were diagnosed with the disease, the largest increase in patients in a single day in the district.

Four more patients have also died, and five people were discharged from hospitals after recovering.

A 45-year-old woman from Faisal Colony Railway Scheme III died late Tuesday night, the same day she was brought to Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) in critical condition.

In addition, a 22-year-old man from Dhoke Hassu, who was admitted to Holy Family Hospital (HFH) Tuesday night with symptoms of Covid-19, died early on Wednesday after his condition deteriorated overnight.

A 60-year-old resident of E-Block opposite HFH who was brought to the hospital in serious condition with difficulty in breathing also died on Wednesday, while a resident of Gulshanabad on Adiala Road who was brought to Shifa International Hospital in serious condition died late on Tuesday.

Shah Allah Ditta unsealed after most suspected patients test negative for Covid-19; capital’s Ramna sectors emerging as hotspots

District health authority officials told Dawn the burials of all the deceased were monitored and funeral prayers offered according to guidelines introduced by the government. No one was allowed near the bodies in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

With 85 new patients reported, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Rawalpindi now stands at 818. Of these, 40 people have died and 220 patients have recovered. There are currently 558 people being treated in hospitals and 171 isolated at home.

Apart from this, 323 suspected Covid-19 patients were brought to Rawalpindi’s three hospitals and their samples have been sent to the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the BBH laboratory for testing.

The officials said that 700 people have tested negative for the disease in the last three days. Samples from close contacts of confirmed patients have been sent for testing as well.

Local administrations have quarantined 1,466 people who were close contacts of confirmed patients; 1,292 people are at home, 171 in hospitals and three are in quarantine facilities.

The samples of 24 members of the Tableeghi Jamaat have been sent to the NIH to be tested for Covid-19.

Commissioner retired Capt Mohammad Mehmood confirmed that 85 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Rawalpindi.

He said the lockdown and safety measures need to be implemented in Rawalpindi, which is reporting a greater number of patients than other districts.

The district administration has been asked to seal all areas where Covid-19 cases are increasing to keep the disease from spreading further, he said.

Islamabad

Another 21 people in Islamabad tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total to 485.

Three cases were reported from G-13, two each from F-11, G-11, G-6 and Shahzad Town and one each from D-12, G-7, G-8, G-14, Jhangi Syedan, Kak Pul, Pind Behwal, Sihala, Sohan and Tarnol.

The capital administration unsealed Shah Allah Ditta after most of the suspected Covid-19 patients from there tested negative; the area has reported seven Covid-19 cases and still has 10 suspected patients.

Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Hamza Shafqaat told Dawn Shah Allah Ditta had been unsealed and police, Rangers and army personnel have been withdrawn from the area.

Shah Allah Ditta was sealed on April 22 after seven people were diagnosed with Covid-19, he said. Their contacts were traced and around 150 people were considered suspected patients. The results of 140 people have been received so far, and they were all negative, he said, while the number of confirmed patients remained stable during this period.

All the patients are recovering and are isolated in their homes, he added.

He said the situation is under control because of the response by healthcare departments and district administrations to prevent the coronavirus from spreading further in the area.

However, local residents are advised to follow standard operating procedures (SOP) issued to prevent the spread of the virus, including practicing social distancing. Surveillance is ongoing to check violations and enforce SOPs.

Mr Shafqaat said I-10 is being examined further after more Covid-19 cases were reported from the sector.

I-10/1 and I-10/4 were sealed by the administration on April 29 but were later unsealed, and two streets in I-10/4 and four in I-10/1 were sealed instead.

Mr Shafqaat said the area is being reexamined by a team from the NIH andDistrict Health Office (DHO)as the virus is continuing to spread among residents.

He said that depending on the inspection team’s recommendation, the sub-sectors will either be sealed once again or more streets will be sealed as part of the administration’s “smart lockdown” policy.

Capital administration officials told Dawn on condition of anonymity that after the I-10 sub-sectors were sealed, residents in I-10/1 held a protest against a water shortage on May 1. The administration is response provided the locality with 19 water tankers and repaired a pipeline to supply water to 300 houses. They said the protest forced the administration to unseal the sub-sectors and seal specific streets on May 3.

Covid-19 cases are also being reported in the Ramna sectors - G-5 to G-14 - everyday, and the area is emerging as a hotspot, Mr Shafqaat said. There have been 143 confirmed cases in the Ramna sectors so far, along with 828 suspected cases - of which 367 are in G-8 alone.

These sectors are also under the observation of the NIH andDHO, he said, who are carrying out surveillance and will recommend safety measures such as sealing an area.

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2020

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