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Pakistan continues to witness major surge in COVID-19 cases, doctors protest in pockets

Pakistan continues to witness major surge in COVID-19 cases, doctors protest in pockets

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 06 Apr 2020, 01:51 pm

Islamabad/IBNS: Amid reports of improper implementation of policies by PM Imran Khan-led government, Pakistan continues to witness a major surge in the number of COVID-19 patients with the figure on Monday touching 3520, media reports said.

Pakistan has so far registered 52 deaths. Punjab region in the country seems to be the worst hit as it recorded 1684 cases till Monday.

A huge number of new cases emerged from amongst 10,263 preachers of Tableeghi Jamat staying at quarantine facilities in 33 districts across the province. Of the 443 confirmed COVID19 preachers, 359 are at quarantine centre at Raiwind, 31 in Hafizabad, 13 each in Sargodha and Vehari, eight in Gujrat, six in Rawalpindi, four in Khushab, three in Mandi Bahauddin, two each in Nankana Sahib and Rahim Yar Khan and one each in Bhakkar and Rajanpur, reported The Nation.

Doctors, Police in troubled waters:

Doctors in the region seem to be suffering as 10 medical professionals, including a female doctor, in Dera Ghazi Khan have been declared COVID19 positive as they contracted the disease while providing treatment to the coronavirus patients in DG Khan, the host district of Zaireen from Iran. 

The YDA, Punjab President Dr Haseeb Chaudhry has, however, lambasted the Punjab government for failing to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to the doctors and medical staff, which resulted in virus transmission among the doctors and medical staff, reported The Nation.

Apart from doctors, policemen are also facing the plight of the disease.

Forty per cent of the total police force (128,319) deployed all over the province has been exposed to the coronavirus threat after the Punjab government provided only five per cent of the demanded personal protective equipment (PPE), reported Dawn News.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has also witnessed three per cent mortality due to the infection.

Physicians told Dawn that the asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic cases weren’t tested in the province due to limited testing capacity, so they later developed complications and faced critical situation.

Doctors protest:

Facing troubles while performing their duties, several doctors have started protesting in different pockets of the country.

A joint action committee (JAC) of Sindh doctors has threatened to stop working in coronavirus-related areas in all hospitals from Monday if they are not provided personal protective equipment (PPE), reported Dawn News.

In an online meeting held on Sunday, the committee expressed concern that performing duties in the infected areas was tantamount to putting the life of doctors at a risk, reported the news paper.

It noted that the government had failed in providing the PPE and other basic facilities to doctors and paramedics in quarantine centres and isolation wards, and not withdrawn from deducting their salaries etc, reported Dawn News.

Pakistan Medical Association Sindh and Young Doctors Association (YDA) Sindh, including PMA Sindh general secretary Dr Pir Manzoor, YDA Sindh chairman Dr Umer Sultan, Dr Mohammad Khan Shar, Dr Abdul Razzaq Rajpar, Dr Yasin Umrani and others attended the meeting.

Asking doctors to perform duties without the PPE was like pushing them to death, they said, adding that the PMA had been demanding the equipment for doctors from day one, but those calls remained unheeded, reported Dawn News.

They also said that the medical practitioners were performing their duties by wearing black armbands.

In Quetta, police arrested protesting doctors near the  Red Zone region.

According to Young Doctors Association (YDA) president Dr Yasir Achakzai, YDA and paramedical staff in Balochistan staged a protest against the unavailability of Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) in their fight against Covid-19, reported Dawn News.

They were later baton-charged by security forces and dozens of them were arrested near Red Zone, he told the newspaper.

"Yes, the police arrested dozens of protesting doctors today," Razzaq Cheema, Quetta deputy inspector general police, confirmed to the news channel, not commenting on the allegations of high-handedness.

Unmanageable Mosques:

Even as COVID-19 infection continues to grow in India, the mosque remained open in the country on Friday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is relying on restricting the size of congregations attending mosques and advice to stay at home from religious groups like the Islamic Ideology Council, reported Daily Times.

However, the government’s call for ‘complete lockdown’ on Friday from noon to 3 pm was defied by some mosques as congregational prayers were held as per routine, reported newspaper.

Majority of the people who attended the congregations and the prayer leaders who led them were of the view that they have left the current situation to the ‘Will of God’ and no harm will befall them unless it was Divine Will, read the newspaper report.

In capital Islamabad, the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) even flouted ban on congregational prayers on Friday.

The Abpara police have registered a First Information Report (FIR) against the Red Mosque former khateeb (ex-prayer leader) Maulana Abdul Aziz and seven others on charges of provoking people against the state, playing jihadi anthems and organising congregational prayer despite ban, The Express Tribune reported.

The district government had banned congregation for Friday prayers to contain COVID-19 spread.

Maulana Aziz started delivered a sermon and provoked people to resist the state’s decisions, reported the newspaper.

Askin them to stop the congregation, the police showed official notification issued by the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA) to mosque’s management. 

However, the former Red Mosque cleric continued his speech and started chanting slogans and playing jihadi anthems to incite the worshippers. Aziz said that they did not accept orders of a state that followed international agenda, adding that they would only abide by their own rules and laws, reported The Express Tribune.

COVID-19: A Brutal Picture

The federal health ministry has told the apex court that coronavirus infections in Pakistan may rise to 50,000 by April 25 – a projection based on the pandemic’s trends in other countries, reported The Express Tribune.

Meanwhile, doctors from China, the country which Pakistan considers as an all-weather ally,  are visiting Lahore and they have suggested to the Punjab government to extend the current lockdown for 28 days to save the province from Covid-19 havoc.

According to Dawn News, a Chinese delegation leader Dr Maming Hoi busted the myth that the coronavirus would fade away with the advent of summer, saying, “the possibility of spread of the coronavirus in hot weather cannot be ruled out and ignored”.

“At times, the coronavirus symptoms do not appear and people having better immune system and immunity recover early while coronavirus can prove to be dangerous for the elderly and for those suffering from other ailments,” a Chinese doctor told the newspaper.


Images: Pixabay, Wikimedia Commons