LAHORE: With 134 Covid-19 deaths during three days of Eidul Fitr, the health experts have warned that the third wave of the virus may get intensified in Punjab in the next two weeks.
Though the parks and public places wore a deserted look during the three days of Eid as the public stayed away from them, the religious festival was celebrated with traditional zeal by the people who organised family functions and other kinds of gatherings at a large scale.
The Covid standard operating procedures (SOPs), issued by the Punjab government to keep distance during the Eid prayers, were violated. People also thronged the food markets and food points, which might cause another strike of massive transmission of the corovnavirus across the province.
134 deaths reported in three days
According to experts, the virus circulation period from person to person ranges from one week to 14 days.
Quoting a recent global study, a senior medical expert says over 90pc of people who contract Covid-19 show symptoms within 11 days of exposure to it.
“The incubation period of the virus is two to 14 days after the exposure,” he adds, saying that many people show mild symptoms.
Punjab has reported the UK variant in more than 90pc of the total positive patients and the variant has been highly contagious.
“The UK variant spreads 70pc faster than the variants reported during first two waves in Punjab,” the expert reveals.
He fears that the number of new positive cases may increase sharply due to the Eid celebrations, saying that a large number of people travelled from major cities of the province, including Lahore, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi, back to their native districts/hometowns to celebrate Eid with their relatives.
On May 9, he argues, the government had conducted about 15,000 tests and found the infection rate in South Punjab to be gradually increasing.
According to the official figures, Rahim Yar Khan had reported 23pc infection rate, Bhakkar 22pc, Chiniot 20pc, Chakwal 18pc and Sargodha 16pc.
“The next two weeks would be crucial in Punjab as the natives of the districts would come back to the big cities from their hometowns,” the expert warns.
The official figures released on Saturday showed a sharp decline in the positivity rate, bed occupancy and number of deaths across the province.
According to the figures, Gujranwala reported 15.1pc infection rate, Faisalabad 8.7pc, Multan 6.3pc, Bahawalpur 6.2pc, Rawalpindi 4.6pc and Lahore recorded 4.3pc positivity ratio during the last 24 hours. However, there was a conflicting report of the World Health Organization (WHO), which reported that the positivity rate of the infection in Lahore increased to 18.3pc and in Rawalpindi 32pc.
About Covid patients in Lahore’s public and private hospitals, the Saturday’s official data showed the bed occupancy in high dependency units (HDUs) dropped to 28.9pc and in intensive care units (ICUs) 64.1pc. This ratio had increased to 65pc in the HDUs of the both public and private hospitals of the city some two weeks back when the third wave was at its peak while 95pc of the ICUs of these health facilities.
The official figures released by the Punjab government on Saturday showed that 2,472 more people tested positive for the virus during three days of Eid across the province, taking the total number of cases to 324,589.
Of the new cases, 1,178 were reported from Lahore while others from Lodhran, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Multan, Rahim Yar Khan, Jhang, Bahawalnagar, Khushab, Layyah, Sheikhupura, Narowal, Gujrat, Kasur, Okara, Bhakkar, Sargodha, Sahiwal, Muzaffargarh Sialkot, Chiniot, Jhelum, Mianwali, Mandi Bahauddin, Khanewal, Nankana Sahib and Hafizabad.
Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2021