ISLAMABAD: For the first time since the end of July, the number of coronavirus cases being reported on a daily basis has surpassed the 1,000 mark, while active cases have also doubled in one and a half months with around 100 patients requiring ventilators at present.
In view of the deteriorating situation, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Covid-19 held a special meeting on Saturday and discussed measures to stem further spread of the virus.
According to the NCOC data, 1,078 new cases — the highest in the past three months — were reported from across the country on Oct 29. While the number of new patients dropped to 807 the following day, the health authorities and medical experts expressed concern over the situation and advised the masses to ensure strict compliance to the health guidelines issued by the government.
The NCOC data showed that as many as 1,114 people contracted the virus in the country on July 30. Since then the number of daily cases remained less than 1,000, with 330 cases reported on Aug 3 and 213 on Aug 30. However, the number of new cases again rose to 330 a week later, after which there has been a constant increase in positive cases. On Oct 3, 632 new cases were reported. The number of daily cases jumped to 755 on Oct 14, 847 on Oct 23 and 1,078 on Oct 29.
NCOC asks provinces to increase drug stocks at hospitals; spike in cases feared amid winter
Similarly, the number of active cases has more than doubled during the past one and a half months, as there were only 5,936 active cases reported on September 15, but the figure jumped to 12,121 on Oct 31, according to the NCOC data.
The situation can also be assessed through the increase in use of ventilators by patients. One hundred ventilators out of the 1,884 allocated for Covid-19 patients across the country are in use in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa only.
Meanwhile, the NCOC special meeting, which was presided over by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, expressed its concern over the prevailing situation and asked the provincial administrations to not only ensure availability of medicines and equipment in hospitals but also increase their stocks.
The provinces were further advised to make sure that people followed the standard operating procedures, according to a statement issued by the press information department.
A few days ago, the NCOC had directed the relevant administrations to fine violators of SOPs in 11 cities where commercial activities have been banned after 10pm and public parks are supposed to remain closed after 6pm.
Talking to Dawn, University of Health Sciences (UHS) Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Akram said the virus had again started spreading among the masses and the number of cases was expected to rise further during the winter.
“When cases declined, people stopped taking precautions. They need to understand that the cases had declined due to rain and humidity as aerosols become droplets in humid conditions and chances of infection decrease because the droplets become heavy and fall on the ground. Cases are rising again because there are no checks on gatherings and educational institutions are also open,” he said.
The UHS vice chancellor appealed to the people to behave responsibly in order to prevent the situation from worsening.
Replying to a question, Dr Akram said the third phase of the vaccine’s clinical trial was under way, but he could not say when it would become available for commercial use.
Imran visits PIMS
Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan accompanied by Information Minister Shibli Faraz and Special Assistant Dr Faisal Sultan visited Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Islamabad.
The prime minister visited the emergency block and inquired about the facilities being provided to patients. He also spoke to doctors and asked about the issues they were facing.
Dr Sultan briefed the prime minister about the facilities and how Covid-19 suspects were isolated and patients were treated.
Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2020