Punjab on Sunday recorded the highest coronavirus death toll since the outbreak of the pandemic.
At least 97 deaths caused by Covid-19 were confirmed across Punjab in 24 hours.
Besides the record deaths, highest number of new patients in a single day during the third wave of the pandemic was also recorded as 3,562 patients were brought to the government and private hospitals in the 36 districts of the province.
Amid the rising infection rate, at least 19,134 patients tested positive from coronavirus in Punjab during the past week. The death toll in the province during the week was 458. Both the figure are the highest during the ongoing wave of coronavirus.
On the other hand, besides young people, children are also contracting the virus. During the past 24 hours, 22 children suffering from coronavirus were reported and the infection claimed the life of a child in Lahore.
The rising death toll despite the efforts of the authorities to stem the spread of the virus has alarmed the Punjab health department authorities as 97 fatalities were confirmed in the province.
“This much casualties were not confirmed last year when coronavirus was at its peak in June and July during the first wave and it is a horrible indicator that 97 deaths were reported today.
The province’s earlier highest death toll in a day of 88 was reported on April 6. Thus the current month is proving to be crucial with regard to the pandemic,” a senior official of the department said while speaking to The Express Tribune.
The worst month so far has been June last year, when 50,022 new cases of coronavirus were reported in Punjab. “We reported 1,265 deaths with 20,467 recoveries in the month. Last year, the highest number of deaths was recorded at 86 on June 24, followed by 82 on June 19 and 68 on June 16, but it is shocking that 97 deaths were reported in Punjab and a record 3,562 patients were brought to hospitals. We need no more evidence to prove that the situation is alarming,” the official said.
He said the numbers of deaths as well as patients were on the rise.
The province is under almost semi-lockdown condition during the ongoing month of Ramazan and the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) recently urged he authorities concerned to strictly implement the coronavirus safety standard operating procedures (SOP).
When contacted, Punjab health department spokesman Sayed Hamad Raza said, “No doubt the situation is alarming and we are concerned over the death toll. However, we are doing our best for the people.
There are enough facilities at hospitals while at the moment we are also doing speedy vaccination in the province.”
He said Punjab government had also improved infrastructure and number of beds at hospitals in view of the situation.
“We are prepared but it is also the responsibility of the people to follow the SOPs. The NCOC also held a meeting and called for tightening the restrictions and implementing the SOPs. We are following our SOPs and also thinking about smart lockdowns in more localities.”
Commenting on the reported affliction of children, Mayo Hospital Child Specialist Dr Ghulam Fareed said, “It is for the first time that we are seeing that little kids are also becoming victims of coronavirus. We are asking parents to take care of the children.
Parents should ask the children to wear mask like adults and avoid going outside. A positive thing is that the recovery rate among kids is better but there is need to ensure that they also follow the SOPs,” he said. According to the health department spokesman, the figures for Lahore are more alarming, where 1,748 patients were confirmed on Sunday.
The total death toll from Covid-19 in the province has risen to 7,430, while 268,572 patients contracted the virus and 216,237 of them recovered. Over 4.278 million tests for the infection have been conducted.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2021.