KARACHI: Mortalities from Covid-19 are gradually inching up as six people died of the viral infection during the last 24 hours, official figures showed on Monday.

During the past three days, total five deaths were reported as one each patient died on Friday and Saturday while three deaths were reported on Sunday.

According to the data, six coronavirus patients died overnight lifting the death toll to 7,703 while 3,238 new cases emerged when 17,725 tests were conducted.

The city reported 76 per cent of the new Covid-19 cases detected in the province.

“Currently, 23,963 patients are under treatment; of them 23,643 are in home isolation, 26 at isolation centres and 294 at different hospitals. The condition of 260 patients is stated to be critical, including 20 patients have been shifted to ventilators,” the data showed.

2,446 test positive in Karachi; health workers stop vaccination at Expo

Out of the 3,238 new cases in the province, 2,446 were detected in Karachi, including 976 from district East, 695 South, 521 Central, 242 Korangi, 219 Malir and 93 cases were reported from district West.

Hyderabad had 186, Sukkur 53, Shikarpur 34, Ghotki 24, Jacobabad 22, Dadu 21, Jamshoro 20, Mirpurkhas and Shaheed Benazirabad 14 each, Sanghar 12, Naushahro Feroze and Thatta 11 each, Matiari and Badin 10 each, Larkana, Tando Muhammad Khan nine each, Kashmore eight, Tando Allahyar and Umerkot six each, Khairpur and Tharparkar two each.

Unpaid vaccinators stop work at Expo

The mega Covid-19 immunisation centre opened at the Expo Centre less than a year ago by the provincial government has lost its status as the majority of vaccinators deprived of their nine-month salaries are no longer ready to work.

Sources told Dawn the health department hired a significant number of vaccinators through a third party to set up the country’s largest Covid-19 vaccination facility at the Expo Centre in May 2020 with a strong 500-workforce of health workers.

The government targeted to inoculate 25,000 people in a day at the facility.

The facility, the sources said, did a remarkable job in the initial months as it was operated round the clock. Frequent vaccinators’ protests, however, marred its performance.

In December last year, the vaccination timings were reduced from 8am to 8pm as the health department engaged the manpower in its outreach Covid-19 vaccination programme.

“Today, no one was ready to provide the service. On other days, it has become a routine that many vaccinators won’t turn up for their duty while some just refuse service,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.

Upon contact, a spokesperson for the provincial health department claimed that the department had released salaries’ funds to concerned district health officers last week.

“Funds have been released. I think the delay in salaries has been due to some incomplete documentation pertaining to vaccinators,” he said, adding that the matter would be sorted out soon.

It might be recalled that vaccinators at the Expo Centre observed strikes and held demonstrations over non-payment of their salaries over the last two months.

Sources said the government initially hired around 300 to 400 vaccinators but their number now stood at 100 due to reduced workload.

“If the government had thought it wise to outsource the job, it should have ensured in the agreement with the company that staffers are paid on time. Else, it should have been fined. Apparently, if an agreement exists at all, it completely favours the company,” said a senior health department official

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2022

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