Sindh records its highest Covid-19 spike yet

CM Shah orders expanding testing range, boosting bed capacity of isolation centres

​ Our Correspondent April 26, 2020
PHOTO:FILE/ AFP

KARACHI: As Sindh saw the emergence of 383 more coronavirus cases on Sunday - the highest number reported in the province in a single day since the outbreak began on February 26 - and three more infection-related deaths, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah ordered stepping up testing and treatment measures.

In a video message issued on Sunday, the CM stated that of the results of 3,028 tests that came out on the day, 383 people were found infected, including 301 from Karachi.

"This is the highest number of Covid-19 cases reported over the past 61 days when the pandemic emergency was enforced," he said, alarmed. "The situation is going from bad to worse and we will have to take extraordinary measures."

As of Sunday, the province's collective virus tally has climbed to 4,615, which is 11.2 per cent of the total tested samples.

Besides, three more patients succumbed to the virus on the day, the CM said, which raised the provincial death toll to 81.

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Further sharing details of patients under treatment in Sindh, he said that 2,436 of them were isolated at their homes, 767 at isolation centres and 463 at various hospitals. Furthermore, 41 were critically ill and 12 were on ventilators, he stated, adding that doctors were struggling to save their lives.

He also shared that 70 recovered patients were sent home on Sunday, after which the number of cured patients had risen to 872.

'Karachi worst hit'

Particularly speaking with respect to Karachi, housing the highest number of Covid-19 patients in the province, the CM said that it was the worst hit division.

In the metropolis, 594 cases have been reported from Central district, 676 from East district, 318 from Korangi, 272 from Malir, 895 from South district and 322 from West district, thus far, according to the breakdown presented by the CM.

Of 4,615 cases in the province, 3,077 belonged to Karachi, he pointed out, saying "this is a serious situation," and underlining the need for establishing more isolation and quarantine facilities in the port city.

'Enhance treatment, testing'

Keeping in view the dire situation arising in the aftermath of the pandemic, the CM, while chairing a meeting later in the day, issued directives for health and other relevant officials to work towards increasing the bed capacity of isolation and quarantine facilities. He said that it could be achieved by not just enhancing the existing capacity of field healthcare units but also establishing new isolation and quarantine facilities.

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The CM ordered the Karachi commissioner to devise a plan for enhancing the bed capacity of the field hospital at the Expo Centre from 1,200 to 1,500 as of now, also issuing instructions for setting up isolation centres at PAF Museum's convention centre, Dalmia ground, Darul Ehsas in Manghopir and other locations.

In this regard, he directed planning and development department chairperson Muhammad Waseem to explore and identify empty building and grounds where isolation facilities and field hospitals could be established.

He also emphasised for completing the establishment of 10,000-bed facility at the Expo Centre at the earliest, ordering relevant officials to regularly review equipment, staff and other requirements for the centre.

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At another meeting, the CM reviewed the sampling method being employed for Covid-19 testing and ordered officials to increase the range of testing.

He directed Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho to constitute special teams of laboratory experts, which would visit every district and guide officials on properly collecting samples.

The instruction came in the wake of suspicion raised by the CM over the method used for sample collection. "Maybe it is not up to the mark," he suggested.

Moreover, the CM also directed deputy commissioners to improve health facilities in their areas and encourage people to observe social distancing.

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