Slow testing blamed for decline in Covid-19 cases in Pindi district

Updated 04 Jul 2020

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Govt hospitals, NIH running short of testing kits, official says. — Reuters/File
Govt hospitals, NIH running short of testing kits, official says. — Reuters/File

RAWALPINDI: Slow testing was blamed for reduction in the number of Covid-19 patients in Rawalpindi district as 26 tested positive for the disease on Friday.

A senior official of the district administration told Dawn that the total capacity of Rawalpindi’s two main laboratories at Holy Family Hospital and Benazir Bhutto Hospital was 90 tests per day while 20 samples were referred to National Institute of Health (NIH).

However, he said the provincial government planned to increase the capacity from 110 to 600 tests per day but there was a shortage of kits.

“Kits are not available and we are conducting 110 tests on a daily basis, therefore, the number of positive patients has reduced,” he said. However, the official said, the recovery rate had increased to 56pc and confirmation of patients was at 39pc while death rate was 5pc in the district.

Govt hospitals, NIH running short of testing kits, official says

“As many as 887 patients were discharged after recovering on Friday but they were mostly isolated in their homes,” he said.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner retired Capt Anwarul Haq said the provincial government was striving to increase the capacity of Covid-19 testing in the district.

“We got the equipment from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) but there is shortage of kits and the issue will be solved soon,” he said.

“Our basic concern is to protect the lives of people in the intensive care units and efforts in this regard brought fruit and the number of critical patients declined from 270 to 86 in the last three days,” he said.

About the highest number of patients discharged after recovery on Friday, the deputy commissioner said mostly patients isolated in their homes were allowed to end isolation after three weeks and thus the recovery rate increased.

With the arrival of 26 more patients, the tally increased to 5,882 in the district whereas 244 people died and 4,193 patients were discharged after recovery.

At present, 1,445 confirmed patients are under treatment including 664 patients in the hospitals while 300 patients belonged to other districts and 781 patients were isolated in their houses.

Apart from this, samples of 256 suspected patients, admitted to four hospitals of Rawalpindi city, had been sent to National Institute of Health (NIH) and Benazir Bhutto Hospital and Holy Family Hospital laboratories for Covid-19 serology. They are waiting for their results, he said.

Meanwhile, 247 passengers arriving from abroad through different flights were sent to quarantine centres of their respective districts. Two weeks on, their Covid-19 test results are still pending. A total of 1,985 passengers from other districts also tested negative.

23 shops sealed in city areas

Thedistrictadministrationon Friday sealed 23 shopsand imposed a fine of Rs48,500 on shopkeepers for doing business without taking safety measures. The visitors to bazaars were also seen violating the safety measures and visitingshopswithout wearing masks.

Rawalpindi Regional Transport Authority (RTA) Secretary Mehar Ghulam Abbas on Friday inspected the bus terminals and public transport vehicles and found violations. The RTA teams impounded 43 vehicles, issued warning to 22 vehicle owners and imposed a fine of Rs43,000 on them.

Attock

With the emergence of four new cases during the last 24 hours in Attock, the number of confirmed Covid-19 patients in the district increased to 440, officials of the district health department said

The district focal person for Covid-19, Dr Asif Arbab Niazi, informed mediapersons that the number of active patients in the district also rose to 158.

In Taxila, four more tested positive on Friday raising the number of Covid-19 positive patients to 358. A female nurse serving in the Christian Hospital is among the new patients.

Deputy District Officer Health Dr Sara Qadeer said so far 90 patients have recovered from the deadly virus. — Additional reporting by Amjad Iqbal

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2020