Policemen wearing face masks asked a doctor (L) to come out of a car to salute him at a checkpoint during a nationwide lockdown in Islamabad on Thursday. AFP
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
A majority of the 1,190 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Pakistan constitute young adults falling in the age bracket of 21-30 years, contrary to the trend seen in China where cases of the contagion were highest among elderly people aged 65 years and above.
“24 per cent of the confirmed cases in Pakistan so far are between 21 to 30 years of age. This constitutes a majority of the cases. The pattern is unlike other countries where cases mostly comprise older people,” Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said.
Although Mirza did not share a complete picture of coronavirus trend in the country, the numbers highlighted indicated that no age group was immune to the virus - the young and the old were equally susceptible to contracting the disease.
Moreover, new evidence from the United States and Europe also drew attention toward young adults falling extremely sick because of Covid-19. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, 705 of the first 2,500 coronavirus cases in the United States were aged 20-44 years.
However, complications and ICU admissions among younger people were relatively lower as compared to the older age bracket, the centre underlined.
“The fact that Pakistan has a higher young population as compared to China and many other affected countries, explains why a majority of the confirmed cases in Pakistan constitute young adults,” Chief Epidemiologist at the National Institute of Health, Dr Rana Safdar, said.
Presenting further analysis of data as the number of confirmed cases in Pakistan crossed the 1,000 mark, Mirza added that local transmission of the virus stood at 7 per cent, meaning that 93 per cent of the confirmed patients contracted the disease in countries already affected by it. Men account for 64 per cent of the cases, with 36 per cent being women, he noted.
Dr Mirza shared that 5,225 people were currently isolated in quarantine facilities across Pakistan. Of these, 23 per cent had tested positive, while all others were being sent back home with explicit instructions for protection.
Commenting on this, Dr Rana added that many suspected patients who were screened in quarantine facilities tested positive for the virus with little or no symptoms.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government of Pakistan has appointed at least 1,300 new doctors on contractual basis across the province to help stem the spread of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the Punjab government has also decided to hire 10,000 doctors in view of the shortage at a time when the pandemic has hit the province.
Chief Minister Mahmood Khan said the provincial Public Service Commission has approved the recruitment of 635 more doctors, who would join the health force soon to ensure better care for the people during the current coronavirus outbreak.
Taimur Saleem Jhagra, the Health Minister for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, where both victims died, told AFP the men had recently travelled internationally.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Thursday that several countries were not showing "the level of political commitment" needed to "match the level of the threat we all face." "This is not a drill," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters. "This epidemic is a threat for every country, rich and poor."
Several Arab ambassadors praised the UAE’s humanitarian initiative to evacuate citizens of friendly countries from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak, and host them in a humanitarian city in the country, to ensure their safety and recovery and provide them treatment.
He had been scheduled to re-emerge on Friday after a week of recovery and working remotely, but said he would remain at home because he still had a high temperature — one of the symptoms.
The Department of Dhafra Hospitals affiliated to the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company “Seha” opens today “Monday” the screening centre for covid-19 in Madinat Zayed, next to Madinat Zayed Council in Al Dhafra Region. The centre’s daily capacity reaches up to 300 people.
The ministry also announced that 19 cases fully recovered from the coronavirus, after receiving treatment.