Dr Sana Fatima (Left) and Fakhruddin Syed.
Earlier, a private news channel’s senior reporter, Fakhruddin Syed, died of novel coronavirus at a hospital in Peshawar becoming the first virus fatality among journalists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (KP). The deceased, who was around 40, has left behind a widow and two minor daughters.
According to the Punjab health department, Dr Sana Fatima was treating COVID-19 patients at Fatima Memorial Hospital in Lahore.
She was admitted to Doctors Hospital and Medical Centre on May 20 after testing positive for the virus and developing symptoms of its related disease — COVID-19. She died early morning today after her condition deteriorated, the department said.
Fatima was also a resident at Chughtai Lab, Lahore, and leaves behind a husband and a daughter.
Speaking to Dawn.com, Punjab health secretary Nabeel Awan expressed his condolences over the passing.
"The government is providing doctors with all the facilities. Doctors all over the world who are fighting the virus on the frontlines are dying. The situation in Pakistan is no different," he said.
Earlier this month, another doctor – a recent graduate from the Quaid-e-Azam Medical College in Bahawalpur – had died from the virus in Rawalpindi just days before she could begin her professional career with a house job.
Punjab has reported 29 deaths on Friday, its highest single-day death toll so far, the health department said, adding that a majority of the cases were being reported in the provincial capital, Lahore. The province has reported a total of 22,964 cases since the virus first emerged in Pakistan on Feb.26.
Fakhruddin Syed’s funeral was held in Gulbahar Colony, Peshawar, which was attended by journalists in large numbers while observing social distancing.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz expressed deep grief and sorrow over demise of Fakhruddin. In a statement, the minister also expressed deep grief and sorrow over demise of Radio Urdu newscaster Huma Zafar and engineer Muhammad Ashfaq.
He said along with doctors, nurses and medical staff, the media was also playing a leading role in the fight against coronavirus. He saluted the proud heroes of the nation who were martyred while performing their duty of service to the nation. He prayed to Allah Almighty to rest them in eternal peace and grant courage to their families to bear their loss with fortitude.
Fakhruddin, who was a reporter at 92 News Channel, had been attached with journalism for around 20 years and apart from other issues, he had vigorously covered crimes and terrorism related stories. His close friends said he was not feeling well for around two weeks and had stayed at home.
However, when his condition deteriorated and he started facing severe breathing problem he was rushed to the Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC), a major public sector hospital in Peshawar.
“Fakhruddin was shifted to the hospital when his condition aggravated and he could not survive despite hectic efforts made by health professionals,” said HMC medical director Dr Shehzad Akbar Khan.
He said after plasma transfusion, his condition had improved slightly but it worsened yet again on Wednesday, so he was shifted to the intensive care unit and put on ventilator.
“Just like doctors, media persons have also been on the front while covering COVID-19related stories and therefore, they should take extra care and adopt all precautionary measures,” he said.
The close friends of the deceased said Fakhruddin was a down-to-earth person known for meeting journalists with a pleasant smile.
The deceased had remained in forefront and never hesitated from covering any challenging stories especially during militancy when suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism were frequently taking place in the provincial capital.
Meanwhile, the KP chief minister’s adviser on information, Ajmal Wazir, attended the last rituals of Fakhruddin. He said that the chief minister had announced Rs1 million financial assistance for the deceased’s family and ordered its early disbursement.
Fourteen journalists have so far tested positive for COVID-19 and 12 of them have recovered.
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