LAHORE: With the Covid-19 infection rate reaching the alarming level of 9pc in Lahore, the pandemic killed 22 more people in Punjab on Friday.
The new infections also witnessed a surge across the province as 661 more people tested positive for the virus in the province during the last 24 hours.
The health and medical experts said the new reports indicated no respite in the spike of the cases in the coming few months because of the new strain of the coronavirus that emerged in some countries recently.
The official figures showed the total number of the deaths in Punjab had reached 4,370 while number of positive cases increased to 147,953.
Though the data shows the daily death rate had witnessed a decrease during last one week, the number of daily causalities is alarming.
While quoting some reports, the health officials said the new variant recently emerged in some countries, including England, from where it reached Pakistan, which reported the first positive case of this new strain a couple of weeks back, raising eyebrows of the health authorities.
After the new variant reported in Karachi, the health experts started studying it quickly to learn more to control its spread, a senior official in the health department said.
In Punjab, the experts were also closely monitoring the situation, he said while sharing serious concerns about the public response to the pandemic, referring to violation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in markets, public places, offices and religious places.
“The worrying part of this development is that the new variant spreads quickly from person to person as compared to the infection reported during the first wave of the coronavirus,” said the expert who wanted to remain anonymous.
He suggested that the Punjab government must call meetings of the health authorities and the relevant forums, departments and stakeholders to formulate new guidelines.
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 update on Friday showed the Lahore was still a hotspot for the virus where the total number of deaths reached 1,730 while the number of positive cases went up to 73,897.
Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2021