Govt to provide 1,000 additional beds with oxygen facility

Updated June 09, 2020

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Ex-PM Abbasi, Sheikh Rashid contract coronavirus.  - APP/File
Ex-PM Abbasi, Sheikh Rashid contract coronavirus. - APP/File

ISLAMABAD: With the burden on healthcare facilities continuously increasing and Covid-19 patients failing to get beds in hospitals of metropolitan cities, the federal government on Monday decided to provide 1,000 additional beds with oxygen facility across the country, of which Karachi will get 200.

On the other hand, more politicians, including former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid, former MNA Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, Marriyum Aurangzeb and MNA Tahira Aurangzeb have been infected with the deadly virus.

The country reported 4,441 Covid-19 cases and 80 deaths over the past 24 hours, taking the national tally of cases to 105,909 and deaths to 2,112.

The number of complaints about unavailability of beds in hospitals is continuously increasing in cities like Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore. Relatives of the Covid-19 patients across the country complain that hospitals are refusing to admit them. In Karachi, a doctor died while being shifted from one hospital to another, in search of a ventilator.

Ex-PM Abbasi, Sheikh Rashid contract coronavirus

The National Command and Operation Centre decided to provide additional 1,000 beds with oxygen facility for capacity building and enhancement of the critical healthcare system in major cities across the country by the end of this month.

Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar tweeted: “Of the additional 1,000 hospital beds with oxygen which will be ensured by the federal govt in June in major cities at least 200 will be added in Karachi.”

Experts warn that a lack of testing or accurate reporting in rural areas of the country could be hiding true figures. Last week, a leaked government report suggested that there were nearly 700,000 virus-infected people in Lahore alone.

General secretary of the Pakistan Medical Association, Lahore, Prof Dr Shahid Malik told Dawn that the number of cases had touched the peak but no one knew how long this peak would continue.

The graph of Covid-19 cases will straighten when their input and output will become equal. “It means that the number of daily infected and recovered patients will become same. The process is called SEAR (suspected, exposed, active and remove). Initially, just a few deaths were being reported and the number of deaths was doubling in 20 days, but now the number of deaths is doubling in around 12 days, which means the situation is worsening day by day,” he said.

Prof Malik said the country’s health system lacked capacity to deal with the situation and that was why patients were not getting beds in public sector hospitals. “On the other hand, private hospitals are minting money from the masses. There is also disconnect between primary and secondary healthcare systems due to which the situation is continuously worsening,” he added.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza, while talking to Dawn, rejected a perception that the Covid-19 patients were not getting beds in hospitals. “Yes, it is a fact that we are getting complaints that some patients are not getting beds in some big cities, but we should be aware that people lodge complaints with their own perspective or from point of their position. Till date less than 30 per cent hospital resources, dedicated for the Covid-19 patients, are being used and the situation is under control,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani called Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday and inquired after his health.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shahbaz Sharif prayed for the health of Tariq Fazal Chaudhry.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2020