Experts warn of second wave of the coronavirus in Punjab yet again

Updated 25 Aug 2020

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A senior health official said the Punjab government had decided to impose micro-smart lockdown in 17 localities/sites of Lahore, Rawalpindi and Gujranwala. — AP/File
A senior health official said the Punjab government had decided to impose micro-smart lockdown in 17 localities/sites of Lahore, Rawalpindi and Gujranwala. — AP/File

LAHORE: The medical and health experts have, yet again, warned of the second wave of the coronavirus in Punjab as preventive measures are being ignored during Muharram.

A senior health official said the Punjab government had decided to impose micro-smart lockdown in 17 localities/sites of Lahore, Rawalpindi and Gujranwala. Of them, 12 sites had been identified in Lahore, three in Rawalpindi and two in Gujranwala, the official said and added that 19,538 people of the 17 sites in Lahore would face some sorts of restrictions, 947 in Rawalpindi and 53 people in Gujranwala during the micro lockdown.

In the related development, the Punjab government carried out smart sampling of 59,815 people all over the province after the Eidul Azha.

Of them, 95 tested positive for the coronavirus, showing a very meagre ratio of the virus’s transmission.

During the smart sampling, the samples of the people were taken for tests from shopping markets and various communities.

Minister Ijaz Shah loses brother to coronavirus

According to the official report, samples of 34,282 people were taken from markets, 4,810 from shopping plazas, 5,953 from tourist spots, 2,255 from hotels, 2,018 from restaurants, 684 shrines, 4,658 from polio/healthcare workers, 3,968 from government officers and 1,180 samples were drawn from Majalis/processions.

A health official said there were looming threats of resurgence of the virus in the wake of Eidul Azha due to the close physical interaction of people while celebrating religious activities. He said it was very encouraging to find that no surge in the new positive cases was reported as was evident from the result of the smart sampling.

However, he added, the medical and health experts were afraid that the threat was still there as there might SOP violations in the majalis during Muharram.

Meanwhile, Federal Interior Minister retired Brig Ijaz Shah’s brother Pir Tariq Shah died of the coronavirus at the Pakistan Institute of Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI) here on Monday while the health experts again warned of a second wave of the virus as standard operating procedure were being ignored since the onset of Muharram.

Tariq Shah had tested positive for the virus 10 days back and he was put on a ventilator a week ago when his condition got critical. He breathed his last on Monday.

A spokesperson for the PKLI confirmed his death. The deceased was a senior lawyer and president of the Nankana District Bar Association.

Almost a month back, Tariq’s younger brother Pir Hassan Shah also had died at the Mayo Hospital, Lahore. There was a controversy over the cause of death of Hassan Shah. However, the Mayo Hospital’s doctors claimed that he had recovered from the virus and died due to some chest infection.

The second death in a very short span of time shocked the family and other relatives in their native district Nankana Sahib.

President Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan and other dignitaries sent their condolence messages to the federal minister.

About Tariq Shah’s death, the PKLI spokesperson said it was very disturbing to find that the doctors treating Tariq Shah had suddenly put a demand for 30 blood bags. “The PKLI management alerted the relevant officials, including those working at the blood bank, and it could arrange around 15 blood bags for the patient after extensive efforts.”

He said the call to arrange 30 blood bags at once for the patient was very unusual as no such demand was ever made in the past even during the peak season of the virus or at the time when the PKLI’s ward was full of such patients.

Normally, the spokesperson added, the blood bags in a great number were demanded during the liver transplant surgery.

“For liver transplant, usually 15 blood bags are demanded for both the recipient and the donor,” he said and added that the PKLI used its maximum influence and managed to arrange 15 bags for Pir Tariq Shah but despite all efforts, he could not survive.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2020