The rate of coronavirus infection in Punjab has started rising again after a respite during the Eidul Fitr holidays. At least 64 deaths including 35 deaths in Lahore were reported in the past 24 hours as Punjab recorded 898 new cases of the pandemic. The total number of confirmed cases has reached 332,000 in the province while 9,704 peoples died in province including 3,975 deaths in Lahore.
As many as 297,179 peoples successfully recovered from the pandemic so far. The pandemic has claimed 1,153 lives in the province during the ongoing month. The provincial capital has recorded a death toll of 458 during the past 20 days. As many as 29,988 people of the province contracted the virus during the period, including 13,314 in Lahore. The number of fresh patients of coronavirus has started rising again after the prolonged Eid holidays.
The data depicts a better situation as compared to last month when record deaths were caused by the pandemic in the province. However, the situation rains alarming and the relief brought during the lockdown imposed in the holidays may prove to be temporary as the coronavirus wards in the big hospitals are filling up. When the ongoing month started, the third wave of the pandemic was at an alarming level as the virus claimed 90 lives and inflicted 2,068 people on May 1, according to the Punjab health department.
The situation improved during the holidays as 792 new cases of the disease and 15 deaths caused by it were reported on May 14, followed by 483 new patients and 40 deaths the next day. However, the number of patients as well as the death toll are now on the rise once again. There was a lockdown in the province from May 8 to 16, that kept the spread of the virus in check and improved the statistics. When contacted, the department's spokesperson Sayed Hamad Raza said, "We are analysing the daily data and satisfied that we got maximum results in controlling Covid-19 in the province.
The previous 20 days' record has shown that the decision of imposing lockdown was the best move of the Punjab government and according to our analysis the situation is under control now." He said it was a result of the government's efforts that now the markets, marriage halls and schools would open and the situation would further improve in the coming days. "More relaxation of restrictions will soon be given to the people, depending on improvement in the situation and further decisions in this regard will be taken by the Punjab government while following the recommendations of the National Command and Operation Centre," the spokesman added.
He said, "We have also analysed the current wave of coronavirus and according to our findings there is 10 per cent prevalence of the Covid-19 variant from the United Kingdom in Punjab and it also caused a number of death in recent months." However, the spokesman said the health ministry was doing its best and the steps taken by the provincial government would give good results in coming days. "We are continuously increasing vaccination centres and also the number of beds in hospitals so that we should be equipped with all facilities necessary to counter the coronavirus," said Raza.
A health expert stressed the importance of preventive measures. "Many countries in the world are struggling to control the spread of coronavirus but it is also a fact that many countries are winning the war against it just by adopting the safety measures and vaccination. The situation in Punjab will also improve if we behave with responsibility and follow the coronavirus safety standard operating procedures (SOPs)," Institute of Public Health Dean Dr Zarafshan Tahir said while speaking to The Express Tribune.