• Govt plans awareness campaign through recovered patients
• Over 92,600 of 205,647 patients across the country recover from disease
ISLAMABAD: Just a day after the national tally of coronavirus cases crossed the 200,000 mark, Prime Minister Imran Khan praised his team for helping him navigate the country through the Covid-19 crisis and expressed the hope that the worst of the crisis would be over if the masses took all the precautionary measures.
Over the past 24 hours, the country reported 56 deaths and 4,233 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the national tally of cases to 205,647 with 4,154 fatalities.
In a tweet, PM Khan said: “My team was amongst the first to enforce smart lockdowns. I am proud of it for helping me continue to navigate our country through the Covid19 crisis. InshaAllah, from now onwards if we follow SOPs we will see off the worst of this crisis.”
Also as 92,624 of the 205,647 patients have recovered since Feb 26 when the first cases was reported, the government has planned to approach the recovered patients to help spread awareness among the masses regarding the disease.
Also many families have pinned their hopes on the recovered patients for the availability of plasma to treat moderate or serious Covid-19 patients amid the heinous sale and purchase of plasma.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza told Dawn that although the Ministry of National Health Services had not taken any position on plasma therapy, it was a fact that the availability of plasma had become easier due to considerable number of recovered patients.
On April 9, the Clinical Study Committee (CSC) of Drap allowed clinical trials of convalescent plasma for the purpose of passive immunisation during the Covid-19 pandemic in Pakistan. The application was submitted by Professor Dr Tahir Shamsi, principal investigator and chairman of the National Institute of Blood Diseases and Bone Marrow Transplantation, Karachi. As per study, convalescent plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients is injected into the bodies of moderate and serious patients for the purpose of passive immunity and to prevent patients from going on ventilators.
However, some of the people who recovered from the Covid-19 started demanding tens of thousands of rupees for donating their plasma. Some laboratories also started illegal business of the plasma, as it is believed that antibodies are formed in the blood of the Covid-19 victims and, once they recover from the disease, those antibodies can help other patients to recover.
The PM’s aide said the availability of plasma had become easier due to the rising number of recovered patients though the ministry had not taken any position on plasma therapy till date.
For the awareness campaign, Dr Mirza said: “We have planned to approach the recovered patients and use them for the awareness of the masses. Every week we hold an awareness session on Facebook and it has been decided that on upcoming Wednesday, a recovered patient will also be available, along with me, to answer queries of the masses.”
A recovered patient, Sajid Shah, had already been informed that he should be available to answer the queries of the people, the PM’s aide said.
An official of Ministry of National Health Services, requesting anonymity, said the percentage of recovered patients, as compared to active cases, had increased during the last one week. “The number of daily cases has dropped by 40 per cent but the patients have been recovering with same pace due to which we are hopeful that there will be around 50pc recovered patients in Pakistan in first week of next month,” he said.
While referring to the PM’s tweet praising his team over smart lockdowns, Special Assistant to the PM on Information and Broadcasting Lt Gen (retired) Asim Saleem Bajwa said: “Balancing life and livelihood had been the prime focus since the start of the coronavirus disease spread. Key to fighting this pandemic has been to contain disease through smart lockdowns and adherence to SOPs. Our nation adapted/shown remarkable improvement in wearing masks/social distancing.”
According to the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Covid-19, 7,228 violations of the health guidelines were reported from across the country. The data released by the NCOC showed that 502 ventilators, out of total 1,562, were occupied by the critically ill patients on Sunday.
Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2020