ISLAMABAD: As many as 14 people lost their lives as the number of cases continued to rise in the twin cities on Wednesday.

In another development, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) closed its main outpatient department (OPD). The aim of the step is to save doctors from exposure to the virus and also utilise their services in coping with the increasing burden of coronavirus patients, sources told Dawn.

Officials at Pims said the decision was taken at a meeting which also discussed the rising number of patients and the treatment being provided to them. The meeting was chaired by Pims Joint Executive Director Dr Minhajus Siraj and attended by heads of various departments and in-charge of medical ward 4.

However, other hospitals at Pims - Children Hospital, Mother and Child Hospital, Cardiac Centre and Burn Care Centre - will function as per routine.

The meeting decided to suspend the previous order of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University which said general practitioners (GPs) would perform 24-hour duty instead of 30 hours.

All GPs and medical officers will perform duties assigned to them and in case of non-compliance, pay/stipend will be stopped and disciplinary action initiated against them.

Meanwhile, officials of the capital administration said during the last 24 hours, Islamabad reported six deaths and 424 new cases with the positivity rate recorded at 5.9pc.In view of the rising number of cases, beds allocated at the 12 hospitals were increased from 365 to 395.

Pims OPD closed; health experts concerned with rising cases

The officials said two patients each died at Pims, Isolation Hospital and Infectious Diseases Treatment Centre and Dr Akbar Niazi Teaching Hospital.

Two of them were residents of G-11 and one each from G-10, Rawat and G-8, the officials said, adding that the address of one of them was not known.

During the last 24 hours, five hotels, four restaurants and a shop were sealed for violating SOPs, the capital administration officials said, adding that fine amounting to Rs2,500 was imposed on citizens, Rs14,000 on shops and Rs21,500 on restaurants for violations.

Rawalpindi

As many as eight people lost their lives in Rawalpindi district while 132 patients tested positive. As many as 143 were discharged from the hospital after recovering.

Noor Fatima, 56, a resident of Iran Road, Satellite Town, was brought to Rawalpindi Institute of Urology (RIU) on Nov 24 but she died late on Tuesday night.

Haji Nawab, 75, a resident of Gulshan Colony Wah Cantonment, was brought to Holy Family Hospital on Nov 24 and he died on Wednesday.

Niaz Ahmed, 50, resident of Raja Bazaar, died at Holy Family Hospital while Danial Ehsan from Bahria Town lost his life at RIU.

Sakeena Bibi, 79, a resident of Kallar Syedan, and Mahri Bibi, 54, resident of Quaid-i-Azam Colony, died at Fauji Foundation Hospital. Sabir Khan, 74, resident of Usmanpura near Fawara Chowk, died at Holy Family Hospital while Shamim Akhtar, 64, resident of Satellite Town, succumbed to the virus at Shifa International Hospital.

AFP adds: Intensive care units across Pakistan are nearing capacity as a second, deadlier wave of the coronavirus builds momentum and officials struggle to counter public indifference to the pandemic.

Several doctors told this agency on Wednesday that hospitals were having to turn away suspected Covid-19 patients, with the potential for a major health care crisis increasing daily.

“The coming two weeks are critical and our situation is going to worsen,” said Qaisar Sajjad, secretary general of the Pakistan Medical Association.

“Around 95pc of the beds are occupied. Only a few hospitals still have capacity - but most of the hospitals are full and refusing to take more patients.”

Mr Sajjad said the virus was proving “far more lethal” this time around. Pakistan has confirmed more than 382,000 cases including over 7,800 deaths since the virus arrived in late February.

Faisal Sultan, the prime minister’s special assistant on health, said the ‘death ratio’ - the number of people with Covid-19 who die from the disease - was rising, and officials warn that more people are testing positive.

“The current wave of Covid-19 is more lethal,” Sultan said, adding that “the pandemic is fast spreading and we should all be concerned”. In Lahore, Khizer Hayat, who chairs Punjab province’s Young Doctors Association, said ventilators were running short and critical care units were full.

“Coronavirus is at its worst right now in Pakistan,” Hayat said, urging the government to impose full lockdowns.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2020

Opinion

Living in Karachi
19 Jan 2021

Living in Karachi

The poor often end up paying more than middle-income segments.

Editorial

Updated 19 Jan 2021

LNG contracts

It is important for industry to reconnect with the national grid and for gas to be allocated for more efficient uses.
19 Jan 2021

Murdered judges

THE continuous violence in Afghanistan has raised serious questions about the sustainability of the peace process, ...
19 Jan 2021

K2 feat

A TEAM of 10 Nepalese mountaineers made history over the weekend as they scaled the world’s second highest peak K2...
Updated 18 Jan 2021

More ignominy for PIA

Decades of mismanagement, nepotism and political opportunism were bound to take their toll.
18 Jan 2021

Agriculture woes

AGRICULTURE is the lifeline of Pakistan’s economy. It is a source of livelihood for two-thirds of the country’s...
18 Jan 2021

Internet access

AS the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, and shows few signs of dissipating, one of the many lessons policymakers should ...