COVID Watch | 23rd June 2020


Hidden Cases In Self-Isolation

The official tally of 185,000 infections across the nation may be underreported as many suspected COVID-19 patients opt for self-quarantine. According to the health ministry, 323 people in self-isolation have succumbed to the virus in the past 3 months alone – due to lack of access to life-saving medicines and equipment, deteriorating patients eventually lost their lives to the virus in their homes.

Drug Shortages & Price Hikes

Oxygen cylinders, oximeters, regulators and concentrators are no longer affordable to many as the current pandemic situation causes an abnormal inflation in prices. Hospitals are also short of oxygen supplies due to a market scarcity. Meanwhile, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has issued import and registration licenses to local companies for the supply of remdesivir, a drug that has proven effective in treating critical coronavirus patients.

Doctors Issue Health Warnings

Healthcare experts express their concern over unhygienic conditions in mask production plants, in which masks were found strewn across the ground in factories that failed to adhere to SOPs. Experts urged the health ministry to authorize and supervise production of quality masks made under hygienic conditions.

Meanwhile, doctors have also issued a warning to the public to not use steroids in mild cases. Steroids such as dexamethasone among others have found to have a better success rate in treating severe COVID-19 cases. However, doctors say, careful use is required even for critical patients under the supervision of experienced physicians.

Punjab’s Death Toll In Decline, KP’s Rising

Emerging cases and daily COVID-19 fatalities have been declining in Punjab since the imposition of a strict partial lockdown in hotspot areas, however daily testing has also steadily declined from nearly 10,000 on June 19 to around 8,300 on June 22. On the other hand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s case fatality rate (CFR) climbs to 3.72%, the highest among the provinces, as virus death toll reaches 843 by Monday, June 22.

Curfew Sought In Karachi

The Sindh health department has called upon the provincial government to impose a strict curfew for an indefinite amount of time in 182 union councils in Karachi. The department expressed its dissatisfaction with the current “smart lockdown” as commuters have been seen roaming freely to and from restricted zones sans any checks.

Lahore Hospitals Reaching Capacity

Government hospitals in Lahore are quickly running out of accommodations, especially in intensive care units (ICUs) due to the influx of new patients in the past few weeks. Smaller health facilities are unable to take in new patients while major hospitals such as Mayo and Jinnah are already at 85% capacity.

Partial Lockdown Delayed

Due to a shortage of police personnel, plans to seal hotspots in Rawalpindi delayed for another few weeks. According to the district Deputy Commissioner, one sub-divisional police officer and 30 constables are required for each restrictive zone’s picket point. So far, the police have managed to seal 22 red zones in Rawalpindi but does not have enough manpower to seal newly detected hotspots.