ISLAMABAD: While as many as 2,954 people tested positive for the novel coronavirus and 48 more patients died during the past 24 hours, a government study has estimated that around 15 million individuals have already been exposed to the virus.
The data released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Tuesday revealed that 10,050 health professionals — 6,285 doctors, 1,189 nurses and 2,566 other staff — have contracted the virus so far. Of them, 98 health professionals have died.
Since many patients are asymptomatic, every individual must wear face mask, maintain social distancing and take all other precautionary measures, while the relevant authorities need to increase diagnostic vigilance and testing to curb the second wave of Covid-19.
The number of active cases in the country has jumped to 40,379, according to the latest data released by the NCOC. There were 13,068 active cases on Nov 1.
The daily tally of new cases, which had dropped below 300 in September, had multiplied 10 times during the recent weeks to reach close to the 3,000 mark. Earlier, on July 9, 3,000 daily cases were reported from across the country.
Advising precautions, study shows 15m already exposed to virus
Leading the fight against the virus, health professionals have taken the major brunt of the deadly pandemic, as the number of doctors and paramedics having contracted the disease has surpassed 10,000.
Among the 6,285 doctors, 1,940 have been infected in Sindh, 1,600 in Punjab, 1,197 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 6,93 in Islamabad, 490 in Balochistan, 256 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 119 in Gilgit-Baltistan.
15m exposed to virus
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), Pakistan has successfully completed a second round of Covid-19 study that shows around seven per cent (15 million) people are exposed to the virus.
Pakistan is among the few countries that have conducted and completed the Sero-prevalence study in big and small cities.
“Government of Pakistan is closely monitoring the evolving Covid-19 situation in the country. As follow-up to the first round, a second round of Sero-prevalence study was conducted in 10 selected districts of Pakistan in the end of October. Health Services Academy in collaboration with multiple partners with support from World Health Organisation implemented the study. The study was aimed at monitoring the exposure to Covid-19 by detecting antibodies in samples of blood taken from randomly selected individuals,” it stated.
“In the second round, about 7pc of individuals were detected to be exposed to Covid-19 around the time the survey was conducted which was before the recent resurgence of Covid-19 cases. The spread of Covid-19 is still higher in urban areas as compared to rural districts. However, if compared to the first round, the difference is decreasing over the time.
“It is recommended that appropriate SOPs and preventive measures are adopted in [major] cities as well as smaller cities and villages by the general public,” it stated.
The study also indicated that many individuals would remain asymptomatic, signifying the importance of wearing mask by all persons. The results of the study will have policy implications for preventive strategies, areas of focus and identification of high-risk groups for vaccination, the statement added.
Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2020