Pakistan sees highest Covid-19 positivity ratio of this season

Published November 24, 2020
In this file photo, a paramedic wearing protective gear takes a nose-swab sample to be tested for the coronavirus in Karachi. — Reuters/File
In this file photo, a paramedic wearing protective gear takes a nose-swab sample to be tested for the coronavirus in Karachi. — Reuters/File

• 19pc of cases found in educational institutions • NCOC reports 38,348 active patients • PMA says virus more lethal in second wave

ISLAMABAD: The highest positivity ratio of the current season was recorded on Monday as Pakistan continues to reel under the impact of Covid-19.

According to the data released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the positivity rate in the country stood at 7.46 per cent with 35 people having died on an average from Covid-19 during the last one week.

The NCOC said that out of the total number of cases, 19pc surfaced in educational institutions.

The ratio is calculated on the basis of positive results in 100 samples.

The NCOC said Azad Kashmir emerged on top among the federating units with the positivity ratio of 11.45pc, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at 9.85pc.

Similarly, Sindh recorded 9.63pc positivity ratio, Islamabad 8.09pc, Balochistan 7.73pc, Gilgit-Baltistan 5.23pc and Punjab 3.95pc.

Educational institutions saw an 82pc increase in cases during the last two weeks, with the positivity ratio rising from 1.8pc to 3.3pc.

Most of the cases in Punjab were reported from Rawalpindi, Multan, Lahore and Faisalabad whereas Karachi and Hyderabad were on top in Sindh.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar, Abbottabad and Swat had the highest number of patients, while Mirpur in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit in Gilgit-Baltistan recorded the highest infection rate.

The positivity ratio among residents of Islamabad’s urban localities was more than those living in the rural areas.

The participants of the NCOC meeting were informed that 2,155 patients were admitted to hospitals, while the number of critical patients had increased twofold during the last two weeks.

As many as 267 ventilators were in use across the country out of 1,803 reserved for coronavirus patients.

The meeting was also informed that the number of active cases, which was less than 6,000 in September, had reached 38,348 on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), a representative body of health professionals, warned people against taking the virus lightly and urged them to adopt precautionary measures.

In a statement, PMA secretary general Dr Qaiser Sajjad said the second wave was more lethal as the infected people were developing severe symptoms with many losing their lives.

“We should be thankful to God for His special blessings that we remained safe during the first wave and did not face a serious situation like seen in other countries. However, we regretfully say that despite the severity, people are not seen adopting preventive measures and the government seems to have failed to enforce SOPs,” Dr Sajjad said.

“Large political and religious gatherings that are being held have led to the drastic rise in cases with many doctors and paramedics getting infected,” he said, adding that the government had not provided personal protective equipment (PPE) to medical professionals, leaving them with no choice but to perform duties without them.

Dr Sajjad warned that if the situation worsened, most healthcare workers would not be available as they would themselves be in quarantine.

“The burden on designated hospitals is increasing by the day with almost 90-95pc beds occupied. The number of coronavirus cases and deaths are rising shockingly. If the government does not tackle the situation properly, more doctors and paramedics will be infected and we can face their shortage,” the statement said.

The PMA demanded that the government immediately provide PPE to healthcare workers and increase facilities in hospitals for proper management of coronavirus patients.

It said the government was performing less number of tests and demanded that at least 25,000 tests be conducted daily in every province.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2020

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