ISLAMABAD/RAWALPINDI: The daily number of cases has significantly declined in the capital as only 189 Covid-19 patients reported to hospitals on Sunday.
This was a significant decrease from the 771 cases reported on June 14.
For the last few days, there has been no patient waiting for beds at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) where around 40 beds were vacant on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the commercial area of G-9 (Karachi Company) will open today (Monday) but strict monitoring will be carried out to ensure traders followed the standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Lockdown in I-10, I-8, G-10, G-7, G-6 and Ghouri Town will be lifted after completion of 14 days and some other areas from where cases were being reported will be sealed. However, officials feared another surge on Eidul Azha and during Muharram.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Islamabad Hamza Shafqaat told Dawn that though the number of cases had reduced, there was no decrease in the number of tests.
“We have been conducting around 3,000 tests per day which can be compared with any country across the globe in terms of per million population. Islamabad has a population of around two million. But in Rawalpindi, only 100 tests per day were being carried out despite the fact that the city has a population of five million,” he said.
“In Islamabad, cases had reduced to 189 because of the smart lockdowns. Whenever patients are kept at homes cases reduce as chances of further transmission are low. Moreover, we imposed heavy fines on the violators [of SOPs] due to which people have started following them,” he said.
But an official of the Ministry of National Health Services said there was another reason behind the decrease in cases.
“It is being observed that if one person gets infected in a house the whole family goes into quarantine and does not get tested. Because of this practice, the number of daily cases has reduced,” he said.
However, Mr Shafqaat disagreed with the claim and said 1,400 of the total 3,000 were conducted in private labs on Sunday which meant that people wanted to get themselves tested even by paying around Rs7,000 per test. But only 189 people were confirmed as infected, he said.
He said though the number of cases had reduced, Eidul Azha and Muharram will be a major challenge.
Pims Joint Executive Director Dr Minhajus Siraj confirmed that the patient burden on the hospital had reduced.
“Almost two weeks ago, we had seven to eight patients on the waiting list which meant that they needed oxygenated beds but beds were not vacant. However, for the last few days, we do not have any patient waiting for a bed. In fact, we have a number of vacant beds in the hospital,” he said.
Replying to a question, Dr Siraj said as per estimates there would be 300,000 cases in Pakistan by the end of June, and arrangements had been made in this regard. But cases just passed the 200,000 figure on June 27 so there were ample beds available.
“Though the number of daily cases has reduced, it should not be considered as flattening of the curve because another surge is expected in the coming days,” Dr Siraj added.
A total of 61 people tested positive in the garrison city on Sunday while one patient died and 115 other were discharged after recovering.
With the new patients, the tally of confirmed patients has increased to 5,654 in the district while 243 people have so far died and 2,955 patients discharged.
At present, 2,456 confirmed patients are under treatment, including 947 in hospitals.
Apart from this, 1,779 suspected patients were admitted to four hospitals and their samples sent to National Institute of Health (NIH) and Benazir Bhutto Hospital and Holy Family Hospital laboratories but the results are awaited.
Meanwhile, the district administration sealed 50 shops in different parts in the city and cantonment bazaars and imposed fines amounting to Rs141,000 on shopkeepers for violating Covid-19 SOPs.
Regional Transport Authority (RTA) Secretary Mehar Ghulam Abbas impounded 11 vehicles of public transport and imposed Rs22,000 fine on their owners for violating the SOPs.
Commissioner retired Capt Mohammad Mehmood told Dawn that there were192 confirmed patients in six hospitals of the city.
“As many as 106 patients are on oxygen, 27 on ventilators and the remaining are in the isolation rooms,” he said.
Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2020