COVID Watch | 15th July 2020


Warnings of the second wave on Eid

The Punjab Department of Primary and Secondary Healthcare issued a plea to the public to practice precaution during Eid al-Azha and Muharrama, as any mistake can trigger a second wave. Recalling the frightening boom in cases post Eid al-Fitr, the government urged citizens to strictly adhere to health guidelines and SOPs to limit person-to-person transmissions. Given that Pakistan’s case positivity has further declined from 31% in June to 6% by mid-July, SOP violations can easily reverse this progress.

Virus can be found in environment

Research from the Pakistan National Institute of Health (NIH) indicates that COVID-19 can persist in the environment – sewage from areas with higher COVID-19 populations, quarantine centers and COVID-19 wards may have epidemiological potential. As around 92% to 98% of Pakistan’s urban wastewater is not treated, and directly drains into open air sewages and water bodies, infected sewage may possibly become another mode of transmission.

A total of 78 wastewater samples were collected from 38 districts, from which 21 wastewater samples from 13 districts with higher number of COVID-19 patients, and quarantine center drainages tested positive for the virus.

Punjab lockdown extended

The Punjab government extended the province-wide general lockdown for non-essential services and activities for another two weeks till the end of July, to mitigate COVID-19 numbers to furthest extent before an expected boom in infections around Eid al-Azha and Muharram.

Federal Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry reiterated on Tuesday, July 14 that a strict lockdown was not a viable option for countries that lack social protection mechanisms, such as Pakistan.

3 in 4 Pakistanis suffering from stress

Three out of four Pakistani adults suffer from stress while one in three suffer from moderate to severe anxiety induced by the pandemic situation, according to an online survey conducted by the Department of Community Health Sciences of the Agha Khan University. A total of 373 respondents were included in the study, 90% of whom were from Sindh and Punjab.

Remdesivir selling for double the price

A 100mg vial of remdesivir, an antiviral drug found to have been effective in treating severe and advanced cases of COVID-19 infections, is being sold for double the price authorized by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan. The market price for 100mg of remdesivir has been set at Rs. 10,873 regardless of the brand, however the widespread price-gouging hints toward a lack of government regulation.

90% beds in Punjab vacant

8,213 of 8,902 beds reserved for COVID-19 patients across Punjab are currently vacant, according to data issued by the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department and the Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department. Moreover, 2,130 of 2,347 COVID-19 beds in Lahore’s government hospitals remain unoccupied. A total of 54,658 coronavirus patients in Punjab have recovered so far, while 3,047 patients managed to beat the virus in the last 24 hours.