ICUs full as second wave of coronavirus grips Pakistan - GulfToday

ICUs full as second wave of coronavirus grips Pakistan


A worker checks body temperatures of students upon their arrival at a school in Karachi on Wednesday. AP

Tariq Butt, Correspondent / AFP

The Intensive Care Units (ICUs) across Pakistan are nearing capacity as a second, deadlier wave of the coronavirus builds momentum and officials struggle to counter public indifference to the pandemic.

Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar feared that Pakistan might face the worst coronavirus situation after two weeks if preventive measures were not strictly adhered to.

StudentsIslamabadStudents return from school in Islamabad. AFP

"We experienced a peak in COVID-19 cases in June and if we do not follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), we may face the worst situation in the next two weeks,” he told reporters.

"As many as 1,750 people are on oxygen or ventilators in the county, but in June 3,400 were on ventilators. If we do not care, the worst situation can occur,” Umar warned.


Pakistan announces closure of educational institutions from Nov.26 amid virus surge

Pakistan issues fresh health procedures for international travellers

Pfizer seeks emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine

PIA stops serving hot beverages on domestic and international flights

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has made important decisions endorsing a decision of the education minister regarding educational institutions, ban on indoor dining in restaurants and public gatherings, strict implementation of SOPs and engaging religious scholars for observance of SOPs in mosques.

Umar urged the opposition parties to avoid holding public meetings to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

Meanwhile, the government has announced that all the Islamabad hospitals are full to their capacity with the COVID-19 patients.

Several doctors said on Wednesday that hospitals are having to turn away suspected COVID-19 patients, with the potential for a major health care crisis increasing daily.

"The coming two weeks are critical and our situation is going to worsen," said Qaisar Sajjad, secretary general of the Pakistan Medical Association.

"Around 95 per cent of the beds are occupied. Only a few hospitals still have capacity — but most of the hospitals are full and refusing to take more patients."

Sajjad said the virus was proving "far more lethal" this time around. Authorities this week ordered the closure of educational institutes and banned indoor dining at restaurants.

The new outbreak has surprised Pakistan, where for months many have been saying the pandemic was done.

MaryamBilawalFazlOpposition leaders attend an anti-government rally in Peshawar. AFP

The government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, which never imposed the sort of sweeping lockdowns seen in wealthier countries, had boasted of controlling the virus but is again urging people to follow safeguards.

Pakistan has confirmed more than 382,000 cases including over 7,800 deaths since the virus arrived in late February.

Faisal Sultan, the prime minister's special assistant on health, said the "death ratio" — the number of people with Covid-19 who die from the disease — was rising, and officials warn that more and more people are testing positive. "The current wave of COVID-19 is more lethal," Sultan said.

"The pandemic is fast spreading and we should all be concerned."

Federal Minister for Law and Justice Barrister Farogh Naseem has warned the multiparty opposition alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), to stop holding public meetings and rallies.

He said the PDM leaders should heed the government’s warning, as the second wave of the coronavirus was coursing through the length and breadth of the country.

Related articles