‘Sufficient beds, ventilators available for Covid patients in Punjab’

Updated 27 Jun 2020


Punjab government has allocated 2,890 beds in both private and public hospitals, says Mayo Hospital chief. — Dawn/File
Punjab government has allocated 2,890 beds in both private and public hospitals, says Mayo Hospital chief. — Dawn/File

LAHORE: Mayo Hospital Chief Executive and Coronavirus Experts Advisory Group (CEAG) member Prof Dr Asad Aslam told a media briefing on Friday that Punjab’s public and private hospitals had sufficient beds for Covid-19 critical and other patients.

He said that the Punjab government has allocated 2,890 beds in both private and public hospitals in isolation wards, high dependency units (HDUS) and intensive care units (ICUs). Of them, 1,989 were available in isolation wards, 445 in HDUS and 295 in ICUs. Also, of 463 ventilators in Lahore, 295 are available.

About other parts of Punjab, Prof Aslam said the government allocated 1,390 bedsfor coronavirus patients in 63 hospitals, and of them, 1,115 were vacant in isolation wards, 468 in HDUs and 170 in ICUs. There are more than 120 ventilators in 19 private hospitals in Lahore. Currently, 1,800 to 1,500 beds are available forsymptomaticpatients.

“We’ve formed a team, which includes three virologists and a clinical specialist, to provide information about the re-infection of Covid-19 after a person has already made complete recovery,” CEAG convener Prof Dr Mahmood Shaukat said.

He said relaxation was being given to common men just to enhance the convenience of people based on research evidence, facilities such as two PCR tests were mandatory to be conducted and there was also a complete discharge procedure that had to be applied in all cases. These conditions have now been relaxed.

Another member of the group, Prof Dr Saqib Saeed, also endorsed the point.

“On the basis of WHO and CDC data, we concluded that within 10 days most people get rid of the virus completely. If they do not show any symptoms for another three days, they can break the quarantine,” Mr Saqib explained the reason behind relaxing two negative test terms. He said that the condition has also been removed for those who come forward through contact tracing.

But the condition of two PCR will apply to healthcare workers, people from madrassas and people living in hostels.

“People who have symptoms can break quarantine after 10 days without testing and those who have no symptoms at all can break quarantine after three days,” Prof Saeed said.

He added that according to current research, the period of the virus ended in 10 to 11 days.

Therefore, there is no chance of the rebirth of the virus at all. “But we, like the rest of the world, are still learning about the virus. As soon as the verified information is available, let us present it to you,” he said.

WHO representative Dr Jamshed Ahmed said the issue of how to bury a coronavirus deceased had become a major issue.

Some changes have been made to the earlier SOPs after consideration by the Technical Working Group Punjab.

“Earlier, we were not giving baths to the corpse because at that time the corpse was thought to be spreading a lot of viruses,” Mr Jamshed said. Now, heirs and close relatives have been allowed to attend the funeral with complete guidelines.

“In the previous guidelines we only allowed a trained team but now relatives are allowed with the details of disinfecting the place and items used during the burial and full body devolution are also shared”, he said.

According to the WHO, if the body is not leaking contaminated liquids or blood, it does not need to be wrapped in a special plastic cover, wrapping in a shroud will suffice, Dr Jamshed concluded.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2020