Covid-19 entering third phase, says expert

Cases may cross 200,000 in the first two weeks of June, warns Prof Khanani

Tufail Ahmed May 31, 2020
Passengers wearing facemasks wait for their train at the Rawalpindi railway station. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

KARACHI: Coronavirus is rapidly entering its third phase, known as the 'Lag Phase,' claimed Pakistan Infection Control Society president Prof Rafiq Khanani on Sunday.

Stating that the transmission of the virus had been aggravated in this phase due to the carelessness exhibited by people in the last 10 days of Ramazan, Dr Khanani stressed that with over 3,000 infections reported in the country within a day, matters had become alarming both for the public and the government.

"The situation may even worsen during the next two weeks, but the public is still not taking it [the pandemic] seriously," he lamented, warning that the number of infections could cross 200,000 in the first two weeks of June.

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He expressed the belief that Pakistan would continue to witness this severity in the pandemic until September.

Dr Khanani pointed out that government hospitals were slowly reaching their capacity due to the increasing number of cases, leaving people with no choice but to look towards private hospitals. He added that patients were now also facing issues such as the non-availability of ventilators as well as other facilities required for Covid-19 patients at private hospitals, while their movement from hospital to hospital in search of facilities was aiding the spread of the virus.

"Pakistan, having the weakest healthcare system in Asia, adds to the jeopardy due to the non-availability of facilities in hospitals," he worried.

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According to Dr Khanani, only 40,000 beds are available for a population of 47.5 million in Sindh - along with only 16,000 doctors, which is approximately one doctor for every 12,000 patients.

Furthermore, there are only 600 ventilators available at government and private hospitals in the province, he added.

Khanani further highlighted that new symptoms of Covid-19 have also been discovered, including lack of smell, bad taste and diarrhoea.

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