PESHAWAR: Eleven more people died of coronavirus on Wednesday, raising the death toll due to the pandemic to 500 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa amid calls by Provincial Doctors Association to dedicate one of the medical teaching institutions for Covid-19 to prevent widespread infection among the health workers.

The province reported 476 new cases, taking overall tally of people infected with pandemic to 11,373. The new patients include KP Director-General Health Services Dr Tahir Nadeem Khan, District Health Officer Dr Azmatullah and former head of medicine department Prof Intikhab Alam, who was admitted to ICU at Hayatabad Medical Complex.

“So far, 600 health workers, including 310 doctors have contracted the virus. If the situation remains the same, there will be no one to treat the patients. We demand of the government to establish field hospitals or allocate one of the existing health facilities for Covid-19 patients to contain spread of the virus,” Dr Zubair Zahir, chairman of Provincial Doctors Association (PDA), told Dawn.

Doctors want a teaching hospital dedicated for Covid-19 patients

He said that government eased lockdown measures owing to which the province was recording 450 new cases and 20 deaths on average per day. He said that if the situation remained the same, hospitals wouldn’t be able to manage the patients.

“We have the largest number of infected health workers in the country. KP has the largest number of infected workers and five doctors and as many health workers have passed away due to the virus because the hospitals lack personal protective equipments (PPEs) and staffers are exposed to infection,” he said.

Dr Zubair feared that within the next two weeks, they would run out of ICU beds and ventilators. “There will be no place to provide treatment to the critically-ill patients,” he added.

He said that a dedicated hospital would benefit the patients as they would be treated on the spot while the health workers would stay safe from the infection.

According to Covid-19 update released by health department, six persons died in Peshawar, two in Nowshera and one each in Khyber and Abbottabad. One person also died of the pandemic in Bajaur tribal district.

Peshawar has recorded 274 fatalities; Swat 47; Mardan 29; Malakand 17; Abbottabad, Nowshera and Bajaur 16 each; Kohat 12; Dir Lower and Swabi 11 each; Charsadda seven; Mansehra and Buner six each; Battagram five; Haripur and Khyber four each; and Kurram, Karak and Dir Upper have recorded three deaths each.

Peshawar also stays atop of list of new cases with 145, making its total count 4,174 while Swat recorded 53 fresh patients, making its overall tally 1,065.

The report said that 44 patients were diagnosed in Dir Upper, 33 in Malakand, 24 in Bajaur, 19 in Haripur, 17 in Battagram and 23 in Kurram, raising the number of total cases in those districts to 266, 552, 256, 141 and 124 respectively.

Nowshera and Khyber have reported 24 and 23 new cases where the number of total patients has reached 308 and 208, respectively.

During the last 24 hours, the report said, 65 patients recovered from the infectious ailments and were sent home from hospitals. So far, 3150 patients have recovered from the pandemic.

Our correspondent from Swabi adds: MPA Zeenat Bibi was also infected with coronavirus here on Wednesday, her family members said.

Anwar Haqdad, the spouse of MPA and district president of PTI, told Dawn that her swab was taken four days ago and they repeatedly contacted the officials concerned to know about the result but they adopted delaying tactics.

He said that they were forced to contact Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra, who directed the officials, and after that they were informed that her test for the coronavirus was positive.

Mr Haqdda said when an MPA faced such a problem what would be fate of the ordinary people. Zeenat Bibi, who belongs to Turlandi village of the district, has isolated herself in her residence.

Our correspondent from Shangla adds: MPA Faisalzeb Khan and Assistant Commissioner Wajid Ali tested positive for Covid-19 here on Wednesday.

Health officials said that the newly confirmed cases of coronavirus included the MPA and assistant commissioner.

Our correspondent from Nowshera adds: Two more doctors performing duty in district headquarters hospital tested positive for coronavirus.

The medical superintendent of the hospital, Dr Mohammad Shoaib, confirmed the report, saying Dr Sifat was performing duty at isolated ward of coronavirus while Dr Imran was on duty at the casualty ward.

He said that both the doctors were quarantined in their homes.

Our correspondent from Khar adds: Another person died of Covid-19 in Bajaur tribal district on Wednesday morning.

Officials said that the 63-year-old deceased was a former employee of education department. He belonged to Khar town. He along with his few relatives was admitted to district headquarters hospital after being infected by coronavirus some two weeks ago.

The deceased was laid to rest in his native town by following SOPs.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2020