Public disregard for SOPs aids corona spread

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ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: People’s willful disregard for the health protocols set by the government and false sense of immunity against the COVID-19 has led to a surge in positive case and fatalities in the country.

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 24,041 on Wednesday after 1,165 new infections were confirmed countrywide as of 12:30am.

Of the 24,041 positive cases, Sindh reported 8,649, Punjab 9,077, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 3,712, Balochistan 1,663, Islamabad Capital Territory 485, Gilgit-Baltistan 388 and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) 76. The death toll reached 563, with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reporting 203 deaths, Sindh 157, Balochistan 21, Gilgit-Baltistan 3, Punjab 156, and Islamabad Capital Territory 4.

In Punjab, death of 12 more patients on Wednesday raised the death toll to 156, while confirmed cases reached 9,077 with the addition of 560 new infections in the province.

Out of the confirmed 9,077 patients, 1,926 are preachers of Tableeghi Jamaat, 768 pilgrims who returned from Iran, 86 prisoners in nine districts and 5,917 citizens who either had travel history or fell victim to local transmission.

From amongst 5,917 common citizens, who contracted the virus, the highest number of cases has been reported from Lahore where the number reached 3,210. Besides, 497 patients were confirmed in Rawalpindi, 358 in Gujranwala, 310 in Sialkot, 246 in Faisalabad, 245 in Gujrat, 129 in Multan, 94 in Sargodha, 78 in Rahim Yar Khan, 69 in Kasur, 67 in Jhelum, 57 in Jhang, 55 in Vehari, 47 in Hafizabad, 38 each in Sheikhupura, Attock and DG Khan, 36 in Mandi Bahauddin, 28 in Muzaffargarh, 25 each in Okara and Bahawalpur, 23 in Toba Tek Singh, 22 in Pakpattan, 21 each in Mianwali and Narowal, 20 in Sahiwal, 19 each in Nankana Sahib and Chiniot, 18 in Lodhran, 17 in Khushab, 14 in Bhakkar, 13 in Bahawalnagar, seven each in Khanewal, Chakwal and Layyah.

Of the 1,926 confirmed Covid-19 preachers, 815 were confirmed at Raiwind Markaz, 145 in Sargodha, 126 in Multan, 106 in Lodhran, 67 in Bhakkar, 61 in Muzaffargarh, 56 in Rahim Yar Khan, 54 in Jhelum, 46 in Vehari, 43 in Bahawalpur, 38 in Layyah, 35 in Hafizabad, 33 in Mandi Bahauddin, 32 in Khushab, 30 in Rawalpindi, 28 in Nankana Sahib, 27 in Bahawalnagar, 26 in Narowal, 22 each in Rajanpur and Sialkot, 21 in Gujranwala, 18 in Faisalabad, 16 in Attock, 13 in Pakpattan, 12 in Sheikhupura, 10 in Gujrat, eight in Sahiwal, seven in Mianwali, six in Khanewal and two in Okara.

Out of 768 patients from amongst pilgrims, 457 were confirmed in Multan, 221 in Dera Ghazi Khan, 42 in Gujranwala, 25 in Sargodha and 23 in Faisalabad.

Out of 86 Covid-19 patients in jails, 59 were confirmed in Lahore, nine in DG Khan, seven in Gujranwala, three each in Sialkot and Jhelum, two in Bhakkar and one each in Faisalabad, Kasur and Hafizabad.

As per focal person of the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, a total of 106,927 tests so far have been performed in the province. As many as 3,086 patients have recovered and returned home. Presently, 25 serious patients are under treatment at High Dependency Units in public sector hospitals.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Wednesday ranked 20th and 29th in the global ranking after reporting 1,000 positive cases and 20 deaths daily from the new coronavirus disease COVID-19.

Around 1,000 cases and over 20 deaths are being reported daily in the country during the last five days. Moreover, in Asia Pakistan ranks sixth in terms of most number of cases and eighth in terms of most number of deaths.

According to the data available on the website of the Ministry of National Health Services, the countries in which most number of deaths have been reported are the US with around 70,000 deaths, Italy over 29,000, United Kingdom over 28,000, Spain 25,000 and India more than 1,500 deaths.

On the other hand, China and Iran, which initially ranked the top in terms of number of cases, have now dropped to the double-digit ranks.

Executive Director National Institute of Health (NIH) Major General Prof Dr Aamer Ikram told a local English newspaper that things would start improving in Pakistan next month.

He said according to different models, the total number of cases in Pakistan could go up to 150,000 but hoped that the number [of cases] would remain less than 100,000 by May 30.

“The curves in top nine countries, including Italy and Spain, have started plateauing. Brazil and Russia are going to become new hubs of coronavirus. The curve will start flattening in Pakistan after May 30,” he said.

Ikram said he was hoping that the surge [in the number of cases] would dip due to increase in temperature but the sudden rain spell helped the virus to spread. “However, still the situation is under control and we believe that Pakistan will be able to pass through this difficult time without a major damage,” he hoped.

Microbiologist Prof Dr Javed Usman said the virus dies at 56 degree Celsius which the human body could not attain as human cells destroy at over 42 degree Celsius. Moreover temperature inside buildings usually remains at 30s degree Celsius, he said.

“However it is a fact that the virus is not as aggressive in the subcontinent as it is in the US and Italy. As the virus is made of RNA (ribonucleic acid), it has 100 times more tendency to change or mutate itself. That is why it is most difficult to invent vaccines for RNA viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C viruses,” he said.