PESHAWAR: A worker fills oxygen cylinders for Covid-19 patients at a factory on Monday.—AFP
PESHAWAR: A worker fills oxygen cylinders for Covid-19 patients at a factory on Monday.—AFP

ISLAMABAD: The coronavirus disease has severely affected the country’s healthcare system and the situation is worse than that in June last year, Dr Faisal Sultan, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health, revealed on Monday.

“Only five per cent of the people wear masks and violation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) has become the norm across the country,” Dr Sultan said at a press conference.

According to data compiled by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), 4,584 people contracted Covid-19 on Monday and the number of deaths was 58.

The number of active cases was 75,266 and 4,979 patients were hospitalised across the country.

Dr Faisal Sultan deplores violation of SOPs has become a norm across the country

Faisal Sultan said at his presser the positivity ratio was hovering around 10pc for the past few weeks while Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Islamabad and Azad Kashmir were facing a grim scenario as the number of infections was rising steadily.

“Over 4,200 patients are under critical care at the moment as compared to 3,300 patients in June last year. So there is enormous pressure on the healthcare system and we are trying to ensure availability of beds.

“We are focusing on non-pharmaceutical intervention to control the number of infections,” he said.

“It seems that from April 1 to 11 all caution was thrown to the wind. The transport sector openly violated SOPs, businesses remained open and indoor dining continued.”

Dr Sultan said the nation must follow SOPs as the country’s healthcare system was finding it difficult to cope with an unforeseen situation.

He called upon religious scholars to advise their followers to abide by coronavirus guidelines during Ramazan.

“I urge people to register themselves for vaccination and those who are over 65 years old should avail walk-in facility. Vaccines are being arranged and by May there will be millions of doses available.

“But since vaccination does not ensure 100pc immunity, people should still follow SOPs in order to save their loved ones and society from the pandemic,” the SAPM said.

Federal minister Asad Umar, who heads the NCOC, also sounded a grim warning about the worsening situation.

“Reviewed situation of disease spread, fill-up of hospitals & SOP compliance status in the NCOC meeting today. SOP compliance remains very weak & pressure on hospitals is increasing.

Admi­nistration has been asked to ramp up compliance enforcement to avoid a crises-like situation,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, President Dr Arif Alvi, who had contracted Covid-19 last month, has fully recovered from the disease and resumed his duties.

Also on Monday, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed got his second dose of the vaccine.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2021

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