Dengue, coronavirus come to haunt Lahore amidst rains

Residents are irked that standing water has not been dealt with and safety protocols ignored

Muhammad Ilyas August 18, 2022


If the torrential downpour induced flooding was not enough, Lahore’s residents are now on the receiving end of rising dengue and resurgent coronavirus waves - a triple whammy of difficulties.

The monsoon rains have exacerbated the spread of disease, with puddles of water becoming a breeding ground for dengue mosquitoes and frequent changes in weather weakening immunity making people more susceptible to contracting Covid-19.

However, apart from the spread of both viruses, the newly formed Pervez Elahi-led Punjab government’s lax attitude towards battling the two infectious diseases has perturbed residents. One such local, Usman Chaudhary, who lives in Johar Town, said that no one was batting an eye towards the dismal condition of the public hospitals providing treatment for dengue and the coronavirus.

 “The testing process takes ages and the doctors misdiagnose, which can be fatal,” Chaudhary lamented, adding that he had to visit multiple hospitals before he was diagnosed with the mosquito borne viral disease. He further said that the government did not realize that most people could not afford a check-up in private hospitals.

Muhammad Ijaz of Garhi Shahu, had a similar bone to pick with Punjab’s administration, stating that it had been weeks but no one had bothered to do something about the standing water in their neighbourhood which had become a dengue hotbed. “Most people in our area have gotten dengue. Even I contracted the disease and fell sick beyond measure,” he informed. Ijaz is now worried that if the water is not cleared anytime soon, he might fall prey to dengue again.

On the other hand, resident of Raiwind, Mohammad Qasim says that his main concern is the prevalent coronavirus wave in his area. Qasim said that public hospitals were not even taking patients of the virus, instead sending them home to quarantine. He is now anxious that with precautionary measures discarded long ago, the super-spreader could wreak havoc again. It is pertinent to mention that the number of suspected dengue cases in Lahore has reached 3,112, whereas the number of active coronavirus cases in the city has increased to 219. Even though, recently, Chief Secretary, Kamran Afzal, has instructed the district administration to take action and issued an alerts in all hospitals, General Secretary of Pakistan Young Doctors Association, Salman Kazmi believes that not enough is being done. “As the influx of patients, with dengue and coronavirus, increases in hospitals, we are reminded yet again that the government has failed to take precautionary measures,” Kazmi opined, further adding that dengue larvae had not been sprayed properly and super-spreader related safety protocols were shown the door.

Health Secretary Punjab, Ali Jan Khan, when asked about the current state of affairs regarding the spread of diseases, said that the actions were being taken throughout the province to combat the rise in cases. “We are spraying dengue larvae everywhere to fight dengue and increasing the awareness about booster shots to curb the coronavirus,” Khan told The Express Tribune.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2022.


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