PESHAWAR: Coronavirus has claimed 24 more lives and infected 413 others in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as chief secretary has convened a zoom meeting of the commissioners on Wednesday (today) to ensure full adherence to the precautionary measures during Eidul Fitr.

Officials said that Chief Secretary Dr Kazim Niaz would instruct all the commissioners regarding the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in line with the guidelines issued by National Command and Operation Centre for Eid.

Coronavirus claims 24 more lives in KP

They said that health department was concerned about non-compliance with SOPs, especially in the high risk districts. They said that the department would issue directives to the district administrations to take stern action against the violators of the SOPs.

Officials said that the main areas were Peshawar, Mardan, Swat, Charsadda, Nowshera, Swabi and Abbottabad where the virus was prevalent among many people. They added that complete lockdown was the only way to tackle the issue.

They said that Eidul Fitr was very crucial as traditionally people met their relatives and embraced each other on that occasion. They said that Eid should be celebrated in accordance with SOPs.

“Health department has been trying its level best to scale up public awareness regarding the preventive steps to put brakes on the infection, which has so far killed 3,668 persons and infected 125,392,” said officials.

They said that they conveyed to the government that people should be forced to wear mask, keep social distancing and practice hand hygiene as those were the only option to stay safe from the virus, which had become more virulent in the third wave.

They said that health department was spearheading diagnostic, treatment and vaccination aspects of the pandemic while the administration was required to enforce the Covid-19 guidelines for its prevention. “There is complete coordination among administration, police, health and other relevant departments because at this stage we need to contain the virus through SOPs as well as vaccination,” said officials.

A report of health department on Tuesday said that eight persons died of the pandemic in Peshawar, three each in Swat and Bannu, two each in Mardan, Kohat, Dera Ismail Khan and Hangu and one each in Swabi and Shangla. The provincial capital recorded 171 new cases, Mardan 43, Swat 28, Haripur 25, Kurram 22, Kohat 20, Abbottabad 17, Shangla 14 and Nowshera registered 13 new cases, it said.

The report said that number of recovered patients from the infection reached 112,706 in the province with 1037 more registered during the last 24 hours. Recovery rate in the province is 89 per cent. There are 9,018 active cases in the province.

During the past three days, the number of daily testing has been decreased in the province due to which the authorities are unable to ascertain the exact quantum of the positivity of the virus among the people.

The report said that 6,602 tests were performed which was less than the target of 8,000, the department had been conducting for the past one month.

Health authorities say that after closure of all sectors including educational institutions, elective services, tourist spots etc, the quantum of collection of swabs has recorded a slump.

“Still, we have issued directives to the district health officers, medical superintendents and hospital directors of medical teaching institutions to scale up testing in their respective areas. Soon after Eid holidays, we hope the level of tests would go up and we would able to ascertain the exact situation with regard to positivity of Covid-19,” said officials.

Health department will start vaccination of people above 40 years on Wednesday (today). They will be getting jabs at the 482 centres operating in 35 districts across the province.

The walk-in centres would provide vaccination to all the people as number of health workers and counters have been increased at the centres because number of visitors is increasing day by day.

Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2021

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