ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: The total active COVID-19 cases in Pakistan on Saturday were recorded 34,974, as 2,843 more people tested positive during the last 24 hours.
A total of 42 corona patients lost their lives out of whom 34 died in hospitals on Friday, according to the latest update issued by the National command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday.
No COVID affected person was on ventilator in Balochistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), while 246 out of 1,798 ventilators allocated for COVID-19 patients elsewhere in Pakistan were occupied.
Some 42,752 tests were conducted across the country on Friday, including 12,975 in Sindh, 16,275 in Punjab, 4,615 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 7,052 in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 664 in Balochistan, 302 in Gilgit Baltistan (GB), and 896 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
Around 328,931 people have recovered so far across Pakistan making it a significant count.
A total of 371,508 cases have been detected so far, including 5,911 in AJK, 16,699 in Balochistan, 4,506 in GB, 26,177 in ICT, 3,730 in KP, 113,457 in Punjab and 161,028 in Sindh.
About 7,603 deaths have been recorded so far, including 2,799 in Sindh of whom 12 died in hospital and seven out of hospital on Friday.
In Punjab, the death toll is 2,826 out of which 15 died in hospital, while in KP 1,323 died out of whom three died in hospital and one out of hospital on Friday.
In ICT, 270 died out of whom four died in hospital on Friday, 158 in Balochistan, 93 in GB and 134 in AJK.
So far, around 5,141,043 tests have been conducted countrywide.
Meanwhile, an alarming situation is developing in Karachi where half of the beds at the city’s public and private hospitals’ Covid-19 wards have become filled with ‘serious patients’ of coronavirus, The News has learnt.
At least five leading public and private hospitals in the city are denying admission to patients after becoming overwhelmed by the sick and are directing them to other hospitals.
Meanwhile, 17 more people have died due to Covid-19 and another 1,199 cases tested positive during the past 24 hours in Sindh, with the death toll due to the viral disease reaching 2,816 in the province.
Officials associated with COVID-19 management in Sindh said of the 500 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in Karachi, around 260 are filled with patients but in some of the leading public and private health facilities, all the ICU, High Dependency Unit (HDU) and ward beds had become full of patients and they are directing them to other health facilities.
“Indus Hospital Karachi, Aga Khan University Hospital, Ziauddin Hospital, Liaquat National Hospital and Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation have become overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients,” said Prof. Dr. Abdul Bari Khan, a member of Sindh Chief Minister’s COVID-19 Task Force while talking to The News.
According to official figures, there were around 13,886 active COVID-19 cases in the province till Saturday morning, of whom 13,333 were at home isolation while 544 patients were admitted to different health facilities. Of them, the condition of 477 was serious while 62 were on life support.
Dr. Abdul Bari Khan, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Indus Health Network (IHN), maintained that Covid-19 positivity had increased five-fold in the province, from 2 percent to above 10 percent, which means that of the 10,000 or above tests being conducted daily, over 1000 people were infected with Coronavirus, especially in Karachi and Hyderabad.
“Fortunately, 90 percent of the infected people remain uninfected but remaining 10 percent are coming with serious health conditions. Although during this second wave, most of the people are getting treatment at home through telemedicine, using oxygen and supportive treatment but still the number of seriously sick is on the rise and now up to 50 percent beds at city’s hospitals are occupied with serious patients,” he added.
Prof. Abdul Bari Khan maintained that space was still available at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK), Lyari General Hospital (LGH), Sindh Services Hospital, and Dow varsity’s Ojha campus, Infectious Diseases Hospital at NIPA Chowrangi and some other private hospitals but added that after getting refused from the five public and private sector leading hospitals’, now these facilities were under tremendous pressure.
“So far around 100 healthcare providers including 67 doctors have lost their lives in the country. The most affected province is Sindh where we have lost around 40 healthcare providers due to complications of Coronavirus infection,” an official of the Sindh health department said.
Sindh health department officials said their biggest worry was spread of Covid-19 among healthcare providers, especially those serving at the public health facilities as they were already facing a shortage of trained and qualified staff while very few volunteers are working at the Covid-19 wards, ICUs and HDUs at the public health facilities.
“We need specialized healthcare providers to deal with very sick Covid-19 patients. If most of the trained and qualified staff contracts the disease and are unable to work, it could be a terrible scenario for us,” the official added.
Meanwhile, authorities have imposed micro smart lockdowns in four districts of Karachi as coronavirus cases are on the rise in the metropolis, according to notifications issued on Saturday.
The deputy commissioners, on the recommendation of district health officers, ordered micro smart lockdowns to be enforced in the streets/localities of the specified areas until active cases come down to zero. The restrictions will come into force from 12am today (November 21) till 7pm on December 5.