HYDERABAD: Fawad Talpur always carries a pulse oximeter with him on all occasions since the day he had contracted novel coronavirus in March last year in Hyderabad.

Fawad returned from London on March 16 only to become the second positive coronavirus case of Hyderabad district on March 23 when the Sindh government enforced lockdown across the province.

His 14-year-old son, Abiyan, contracted the virus from him. “It was indeed scary. Nobody knew how to go about this as it was a new virus,” he recalls while watching the George Floyd trial on TV.

Fawad was shifted to Liaquat University Hospital on March 23 and the health authorities allowed his family to keep Abiyan in home isolation.

“After having stayed two nights there, I went to a private hospital in Karachi where I stayed till April 4 and then I was allowed to go home,” he says. One of the repeat tests, still, turned out to be positive.

“Again I remained in home isolation under medical advice,” Fawad says smilingly. He is insulin dependent. “Stay in hospital was depressing. I used to hear of patients being put on ventilator, and general impression in those days was that if someone is put on vent he is considered clinically dead. Everything around me was frightening in that sense. But I didn’t lose trust in Allah,” he says.

“As the time passed, I started to have a foreboding that I won’t survive,” he says. For quite some time during the post-coronavirus period, he felt loss of energy.

He now carries oximeter to keep checking his oxygen saturation. “This became necessary in new situation for health reasons,” he remarks.

Hyderabad, last year, became a hotspot of coronavirus cases as infections started pouring in. It served as the largest isolation facility in Sindh for suspected patents.

By March 31, 2020, coronavirus trajectory started showing upward trend especially after around 100 Tableeghi Jamaat members tested positive, raising alarm bells in the government.

Hyderabad’s first coronavirus death of a resident of Latifabad was reported on April 3. Since April 2020, 178 deaths of coronavirus patients of Hyderabad have been reported in Liaquat University Hospital (LUH) Hyderabad alone. The city fell prey to maladministration, unfortunately though, due to posting of some inexperienced officer in the district as important as Hyderabad, Sindh’s second largest and sprawling urban centre.

Not only this, some people even took advantage of loose administrative situation and supplied underweight ration bags with substandard food in government contract. But the government did not waste time in realizing flawed administrative measures and posted the new district head. This led to a fair change in handling of the situation as incumbent Deputy Commissioner Fuad Soomro worked closely with health functionaries.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2021

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