Given the number of critical coronavirus cases in the federal capital, prices of oxygen cylinders have doubled in the open market on Thursday.
According to the latest rates, a small oxygen cylinder that was being sold for Rs6,000 a couple of days ago is now being sold for Rs12,000 while the bigger cylinder previously priced at Rs12,000 is now rated at Rs20,000.
Sources stated that due to the shortage of cylinders as well as oxygen itself, private traders have started selling them in the black market. Following this alarming situation, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) held a special meeting and decided to import 5,000 oxygen cylinders and 6,000 metric tons of oxygen.
According to a daily situation report issued by the Rawalpindi Corona Management Centre on Thursday, 156 patients were reported in Rawalpindi in a span of 24 hours.
Presently, 190 patients are admitted to various city facilities with 36 at Holy Family Hospital, 26 at Benazir Bhutto Hospital, 100 at Institute of Urology, 22 at Fauji Foundation Hospital, five at Hearts International and one at Begum Akhtar Memorial Trust.
District Health Coordinator for Covid Dr Jawad Zahid has advised the citizens to avoid crowded places, stay at home and follow safety measures issued by the government. He said 10 people have died during the last 24 hours in Rawalpindi.
Cases on a decline in capital
The coronavirus cases appear to be on the decline in the federal capital as 327 cases were reported the other day, an NCOC spokesperson stated. As many as 354 cases were reported on Tuesday while 469 cases were reported on Monday, they added.
He said so far 74,131 cases have been reported while 675 deaths have occurred in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), adding that 60,821 patients have recovered completely. He further stated that the positivity rate in the capital was recorded at 8.6 per cent while the active cases currently stand at 12,218.
Commenting on the present situation across the country, an official of the Ministry of National Health Services said the government was closely monitoring the third wave and it may lock down more areas if other interventions do not work in the next few days.
“Our engineers are actively working on making more plants functional for the production of oxygen,” he said, adding that diversion from non-essential industries was also being planned while avenues for import from other countries were also being explored.
The official further mentioned that logistics for transport, including the availability of trucks and drivers were also being monitored while guidelines for using oxygen efficiently were being issued to ensure that there was no wastage.
Special counter set up at Sasta Bazaar
The Rawalpindi administration has set up a special counter at a Ramazan Sasta Bazaar to create awareness among the masses about the implementation of anti-Covid SOPs.
In a tweet, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Anwarul Haq informed that the desk has been established at Chungi no 22 of the Rawalpindi Cantonment area in collaboration with the Rotary club. DC urged the residents that following SOPs is in the interest of the people and citizens should avoid unnecessary movement, maintain distance and wear masks.
The district health authority also reported that 99,468 people have been jabbed against the lethal virus at 24 vaccination centres of the district since the inoculation drive began on March 10.
Furthermore, Rawalpindi Commissioner Gulzar Hussain Shah said no negligence would be tolerated in the implementation of SOPs aimed to effectively control the third wave of the pandemic.
Chairing a meeting to review the anti-coronavirus arrangements at Rawalpindi Medical University (RMU), he lauded the role of doctors, paramedics and nurses in tackling the health crisis. Shah said that the government was adopting all preventative measures to combat the pandemic and committed to providing the best health care facilities to the residents at their doorstep.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2021.
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