COVID Watch

Over 1,000 Sindh Prisoners Infected

To date, 1,363 inmates in prisoners across Sindh have contracted COVID-19, of whom 1,091 infected prisoners emerged from Karachi Central Jail alone. A second outbreak has been recorded in prisons in the past two weeks following the decision to lift bans on family visits.

Schools to Reopen on Sept 15th

In a press briefing on July 9, Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood announced September 15 as the tentative reopening date for schools, colleges, and universities across the country. Private and public institutions are to ensure that SOPs are strictly enforced on campus, and may face closure if found to be in violation of government-mandated guidelines.

Should the pandemic situation worsen, the decision may be revoked, stated Shafqat Mehmood.

Refugees Demand Relief Package

Afghan refugees have approached the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other international charities for relief packages for refugees affected by COVID-19. Affectees aired their grievances that although the UNHCR has announced a Rs. 12,000 relief package for registered Afghan refugees, scores of unregistered families are bereft of aid.

Vaccine Awaits DRAP Approval

The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has yet to give its approval for local clinical trials of an internationally tried and approved COVID-19 drug. Under DRAP regulations, if the drug is approved in two weeks, clinical trials will commence for the next three to four months. It is expected that the drug will be available for mass production by December.

60% Beds Vacant in Rawalpindi

According to Rawalpindi Commissioner Captain (R) Mohammad Mehmood, around 60% of dedicated COVID-19 beds in the city’s hospitals remain vacant. The decreasing count of coronavirus patients is due to the government’s smart lockdown, resulting in fewer virus-positive patients in hospitals. Currently, 190 out of 790 beds occupied. Furthermore, there are 154 people in high dependency units (HDUs) across 4 hospitals in the city, of whom 52 have stabilized, 86 require oxygen and 21 are on ventilators.

However, doctors claim the lower COVID-19 patient count in hospitals may be due to the fact that the administration has not increased testing capacities from 110 to 600 tests per day, meaning there may be more hidden cases that are not being detected.