PESHAWAR: The two-day a week lockdown, re-imposed by the provincial government three weeks ago, is yet to make any impact regarding reduction in Covid-19 cases and mortalities as 33 more people have died of the pandemic including a senior physician and 1,294 cases have been reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The rate of positivity for coronavirus swabs has also increased during the third wave of the pandemic despite enforcement of precautionary measures by the administration. The government, on the recommendation of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), imposed lockdown on March 20, initially in five districts that later was extended to 11 districts a week.
However, the number of infections, deaths and positivity level continue to surge, according to health officials.
“We need complete lockdown like that in June and July last year that led to slump in cases and deaths. There is no result of the two-day a week closure of markets as during the remaining five days all the activities sail smoothly,” said officials.
According to them, the health department is considering to recommend to NCOC through provincial government to go for complete lockdown to stem the tide of the infection.
Officials mulling over complete closure to control situation
On March 21, the province recorded 9.7 per cent positivity rate that remained above 10 per cent till April 11, according to Covid-19 statistics compiled by the health department.
The number of daily mortalities due to Covid-19 also rose during the corresponding period as on March 21 seven persons passed away that increased to more than 15 deaths per day till April 1. Since April 2, the number of average mortalities per day is about 30.
Officials said that several studies showed that lockdown controlled the infection but the present modus operandi of two-day a week was of no value as cases and deaths continued to swell with every passing day.
The province diagnosed 792 people with Covid-19 on March 21. During the past 10 days, the tally of daily cases had reached to 1,000 which is a matter of grave concerns because the hospitalisation is on the rise and the situation can turn worse if the present policy of lockdown is not replaced with total lockdown.
“In March, we had 263 admitted patients in the hospitals with 38 of them in critical condition but on April 11 the number of admissions was 645 with 74 serious ones,” said officials.
The district administrations have been checking markets and transport system to ensure that the people adhere to standard operating procedure (SOP) to stem transmission of the virus but there is no impact as the infection continues to go up.
The administration in Peshawar, the worst-hit district, on Sunday arrested 18 shopkeepers and 32 drivers for violating the precautionary measures, said a press release. Smart lockdown was also imposed in five localities on the basis of positive cases, it said.
Meanwhile, a health department report said that Peshawar registered 17 deaths and 428 new cases during the last 24 hours. Peshawar has more than 24 per cent positivity rate than the 6.8 per cent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and it accounted for over 500 per cent mortalities and incidence.
Seven persons fell prey to the virus in Mardan and Swat each and one each in Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan.
Swabi diagnosed 158 new patients, Charsadda 122, Mardan 75, Malakand 69, Buner 67, Haripur and Nowshera 38 each, Upper Dir 37 and Kohat recorded 29 new coronavirus patients.
A total of 83,852 patients have recovered from the infectious ailment as 627 more recovered during the last 24 hours in the province. At present, there are 13,092 active cases with 3,957 in Peshawar.
Officials said that Chief Secretary Dr Kazim Niaz was in touch with the health department regarding Covid-19 scenario in the province and issued strict directives to the home and tribal affairs department almost on daily basis to make sure that the people followed the SOP but given the speed with which cases and deaths were rising, the situation might go out of control.
Meanwhile, Provincial Doctors Association said that Prof Ilyas Saeedi, a former head of medicine department at Lady Reading Hospital, died of Covid-19. So far, 57 medics have fallen to the virus in the province.
PDA asked the government to award compensation package to the families of the doctors and health workers, who died of Covid-19.
Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2021