COVID Watch

NCOC allows smaller cattle markets

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Monday, July 13 ordered an increase in the number of cattle markets in Lahore on the condition that they be smaller in size. This was among the many other safety measures, such as the strict implementation of standing operating procedures (SOPs), to curb the spread of the virus during Eid-ul-Azha. To further ensure public safety, the NCOC also ordered screenings for people entering the cattle markets and issued instructions to wear face masks and to maintain social distancing.

WHO: “No return to the old normal”

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that due to a number of countries’ poor response to the pandemic, there would be no return to “the old normal” anytime soon. After a daily record of 230,000 new COVID-19 cases reported on Sunday, July 12, the WHO said the pandemic was only going to get worse unless people complied with regulations like social distancing, washing hands, and staying at home if unwell.

“Too many countries are headed in the wrong direction”, warned Director-General WHO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who urged governments to roll out “comprehensive strategy to suppress transmission” of the virus.

114 Sindh police infected

114 new cases of coronavirus were reported amongst Sindh police personnel in the last two days, bringing the total count of infected police personnel in the province to 2,210 on Monday, July 13. A spokesperson for the Sindh Police revealed that so far 16 officials have succumbed to COVID-19, while 1,608 are being treated and 586 have recovered from their illnesses. The representative added that the infected officials were being well-cared for.

Discrepancies in case count

In the last 10 days, the number of COVID-19 patients in critical condition in Lahore has reportedly declined by about 50%. As a result, most of the beds in intensive care units (ICUs) and high dependency units (HDUs) of the city’s major government hospitals lie vacant. Moreover, overall occupancy rate of ICU ventilators at state hospitals in Lahore has fallen to 38%.

However, PPP Chair Bilawal Bhutto Zardari accused the federal government of making misleading claims regarding the decline in coronavirus cases and of intentionally suppressing case-count by reducing testing. He further accused federal ministers of “making a mockery of themselves by saying that the graph [of cases] was going down”.

Men more at risk than women

A new report by the World Health Organization reflects the gendered impact of COVID-19 in, showing that the pandemic has killed more men than women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with the districts of Bajaur and Swabi recording the highest numbers of fatalities in the province. According to the report, 1,099 people have succumbed to the novel coronavirus disease in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; 798 of these people were men, and 289 were women. Furthermore, the total infected population in the province was 72% male and 28% female. This extends into other statistics as well – of 2,026 health workers infected by the pandemic, 73% were male and 27% female.