HYDERABAD: Government officials seal a shop in the city’s cloth market on Thursday after its owner was caught violating SOPs for Covid-19 during an operation carried out by the local government.—PPI
HYDERABAD: Government officials seal a shop in the city’s cloth market on Thursday after its owner was caught violating SOPs for Covid-19 during an operation carried out by the local government.—PPI

ISLAMABAD: As more than 2,500 Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours were reported on Thursday after a gap of over four months, the number of critical patients is also continuously increasing with 234 patients being treated on ventilators.

Balochistan is the only province in which there is no patient on ventilator.

The data released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) showed that 2,547 people tested Covid-19 positive and 18 lost their lives due to the disease in a single day.

Earlier over 2,500 cases were reported on July 11 and since then the number of cases was decreasing. The number of daily cases dropped to less than 300 in September but it again star­ted increasing in October.

The total number of active cases has reached 32,005. The number of patients admitted to hospitals has also increased as 2,025 patients have been hospitalised across the country.

An official of the National Institute of Health said it was expected that the number of cases would increase during the winter season.

“Virus of influenza becomes more active during winters. Moreover, the number of Covid-19 cases had decreased due to rains as coronavirus becomes heavy in humid atmosphere and immediately drops on the land. However, during winter, due to less humidity, it remains stagnant in the air for more time,” he said.

Dr Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, attended a virtual press briefing of health ministers of the WHO eastern Mediterranean region where he talked about ongoing efforts to control Covid-19 in Pakistan.

According to a statement, he said: “Pakistan is a country affected not just by Covid-19. Our populations are exposed to insecurity, natural disasters and other emergencies. We are also battling polio, and our decade-long efforts to eradicate this disease have now been impacted by Covid-19 as polio staff and resources are diverted to the pandemic response.

“Pakistan has made many achievements in battling Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, and we were able to significantly reduce transmission by July and August this year. However, like many countries around the world, easing of lockdowns resulted in a resurgence of cases in October. This required a strategic review of our response.”

Dr Sultan said that in October a team from the WHO’s regional office for eastern Mediterranean had visited Pakistan to review some of the lessons learned to strategise and offer technical guidance and recommendations for a stronger, more robust response to the pandemic.

“The specific objectives included providing technical assistance in strategic planning in the short, middle and longer-term for the following four pillars of the Covid-19 response: reviewing progress towards integrated disease surveillance and response, examining the situation on the points of entry, initiating work on essential health services to align with the targets for universal health coverage and reviewing risk communication and community engagement,” he said.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2020