LAHORE: Coronavirus unleashed its deadliest streak on Friday with Punjab reporting a record 31 deaths from Covid-19 in a single day.

A young medic, Dr Sana Fatima, medical student Salman Tahir and a Pakistan Railways Headquarters worker, Muhammad Latif, were among those who died of the virus in Lahore. The doctor and student died in private hospitals where they were diagnosed as Covid-19 patients. Dr Fatima was working at a private health facility, while Tahir was a student of a private medical college.

Punjab has crossed the 400 mark after the deaths reported on Friday. The toll in Punjab has reached 410, including 153 in Lahore, 83 Rawalpindi, 49 Muzaffargarh, 33 Gujranwala and 32 Gujrat.

Meanwhile, 927 confirmed cases of the virus were reported from across the province in the last 24 hours, including 428 in Lahore, 119 in Sheikhupura, 98 in Multan, 77 in Hafizabad and 39 in Faisalabad.

The medical superintendent of Lahore General Hospital, two superintendents of police, two deputy secretaries, a deputy superintendent of police, a station house officer, an investigation in-charge of a police station and 12 employees of Punjab Food Authority were among those who tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the Young Doctors Association held the government responsible for the rapid spread of the virus and its transmission among health professionals.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, Ammar Yousaf, the president of LGH chapter of YDA, claimed the number of health professionals who have so far tested positive for the virus at Punjab Institute of Neuro Sciences and LGH has reached 93.

He said the Punjab government should start mass screening of health professionals at state-run institutions, as the total number of them suffering from Covid-19 would be more than what is being reported officially.

Dr Yousaf said the samples of 400 doctors, nurses and paramedics of both institutions were sent to labs and 93 of them were declared positive.

He demanded the health authorities establish isolation rooms for doctors and close down the outpatient departments of both institutions. Issuing a deadline of 48 hours, he warned if their demand was not met, the YDA would take an extreme step.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2020