Corona killing four an hour in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Nationwide coronavirus cases jumped to over 117,200 while death toll touches to over 2,300 with 101 new deaths in Pakistan. While 6,365 new cases have been reported in a day across country. Four deaths have been reported in every hour in Pakistan while per million fatality rate is also reported fairly high. National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Wednesday told that 23,799 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in country during last 24 hours. At least 807 people died in Punjab, 738 in Sindh, 619 in KP, 73 in Balochistan, 57 in Islamabad, 14 in Gilgit-Balochistan and 14 in AJK due to COVID-19 till Wednesday. Total active COVID cases in Pakistan were 75,139 on June 9. A total of over 117,200 cases have so far been registered in country with Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) 444, Balochistan 7,335, Gilgit-Baltistan, 1018, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 5,963, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 15,206, Punjab 43,460 and Sindh registered 43,790 COVID cases. The NCOC apprised that 36,308 patients have so far recovered from the pandemic. Some 2,255 deaths have so far been reported with 83 deaths on June 9. Some 696 patients have died in Sindh, 807 in Punjab, 610 people lost their lives in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 57 in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 62 in Balochistan, 14 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 9 patients have died in AJK. Some 754,252 tests have so far been conducted. 776 hospitals were provides COVID-19 facilities. 5,546 COVID patients have been admitted in different hospitals. NCOC has geared up its preparations to deal with any contingency. Some 1,000 additional oxygenated beds would be provided to various hospitals by end June. Some 250 additional ventilators have been provided to provinces including Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). In Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) 379 beds has been allocated for COVID patients. The allocated oxygenated beds for COVID were 68. Some 43 ventilators have been allocated including 11 for Mirpur, 18 for Muzaffarabad. No patient is currently on ventilators in AJK. In Balochistan, as many 2,148 beds have been dedicated to COVID patients. 68 oxygen allocated beds had also been allocated for COVID patients. 29 ventilators were available in Balochistan hospitals. Right now no patient was on ventilators. Some 151 beds have been allocated in Gilgit-Baltistan. Some 43 beds with oxygen, 28 ventilators have been allocated for COVID patients. In Islamabad, 520 beds, 262 beds with oxygen, 94 ventilators has been allocated. 10 patients were on ventilator. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 5,110 beds, 628 beds with oxygen, 313 ventilators were allocated for COVID patients. Right now 70 patients were on ventilators. A total of 9,276 beds, 3,500 beds with oxygen, 387 ventilators has been allocated for COVID patients in Punjab. 159 patients were on ventilators in the province. In Sindh 8,094 beds, 548 beds with oxygen, 304 ventilators have been dedicated for the patients. 83 patients were on ventilators in Sindh. While, in a statement issued Wednesday with reference to a WHO letter being referred to in the media, the PM’s Special Adviser on Health Dr Zafar Mirza has said, the government is pursuing a holistic strategy to combat coronavirus and its choice of policies is guided by best available evidence. “The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), established under the auspices of National Coordination Committee for COVID-19, meets every morning at ministerial level, and with the help of technical experts, reviews disease data and trends very minutely and takes a holistic view of the situation along with the provinces and develops recommendations for NCC that is chaired by the prime minister and participated by all chief ministers and the prime minister of AJK. All decisions are made in NCC with consensus,” Dr Zafar has communicated through a written statement Dr Zafar has pointed out that Pakistan is a low middle income country with 2/3rd of its population dependent on daily incomes. “Conscious of the disease spread and mortality and having put in place a very robust national coordinating and decision making mechanism at the highest level, we have made best sovereign decisions in the best interest of our people. We have to make tough policy choices to strike a balance between lives and livelihoods,” he states. The SAPM said, Pakistan has consciously but gradually eased generalised lockdowns, but at the same time, has focused on enforcement of SOPs in shops, industry, mosques, and public transport, etc. “Mask donning has been made compulsory in the country. Along with this, we have developed a robust Tracing, Testing and Quarantine policy to identify hotspots and cordon-off them. Currently, there are more than 700 such smart lock-downs in place. Other plank of our strategy is ramping up of our health system capacity to cater to the growing number of patients,” he said. Pakistan is the fifth largest country in the world and largest country in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region which consists of 22 countries. Dr Zafar said, “Pakistan’s choice of policies has been guided by best evidence available about the disease spread and best assessment of the fast deteriorating socio-economic conditions in the country. The WHO is a UN specialised technical agency on health and they are our longstanding partner in health including in this pandemic, which we appreciate. We understand that it is their role to provide recommendations to member states but understandably theirs is the health-lens whereas governments have to take into account, a holistic picture and make decisions on relative risk assessment basis and this has been the case in Pakistan all along,” the statement concludes. Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has told Pakistan it should implement "intermittent" lockdowns to counter a surge in coronavirus infections that has come as the country loosens restrictions, officials said. Since the start of Pakistan´s outbreak in March, Prime Minister Imran Khan opposed a nationwide lockdown of the sort seen elsewhere, arguing the impoverished country could not afford it. Instead, Pakistan´s four provinces ordered a patchwork of closures, but last week Khan said most of these restrictions would be lifted. Health officials on Wednesday declared a record number of new cases in the past 24 hours. "As of today, Pakistan does not meet any of the pre-requisite conditions for opening the lockdown", the WHO said in a letter confirmed by Pakistan officials on Tuesday. Many people have not adopted behavioural changes such as social distancing and frequent hand-washing, meaning "difficult" decisions will be required including "intermittent lockdowns" in targeted areas, the letter states. Some 25 percent of tests in Pakistan come back positive for COVID-19, the WHO said, indicating high levels of infection in the general population. The health body recommended an intermittent lockdown cycle of two weeks on, two weeks off. Punjab´s provincial health minister Yasmin Rashid, who received the WHO´s letter, said the provincial government had already given "orders to take strict action against those violating" virus guidelines. Hospitals across Pakistan say they are at or near capacity, and some are turning COVID-19 patients away. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday that 136,000 cases had been reported in the previous 24 hours, "the most in a single day so far", with the majority of them in South Asia and the Americas.

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