Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Coronavirus Update: 11 more, including a kid, perish in Sindh

By Mukhtar Alam
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Sindh reported its first death among the COVID-19 positive patients living in the age brackets of zero to nine years on May 11, as a three-year-old girl from Hyderabad lost her life at a Karachi hospital, taking the overall fatality toll to 200 for the province. 

According to official statistics, as of May 11, there were 704 coronavirus positive patients of ages from zero to nine years, followed by 70 plus-year-old COVID-19 patients (481).

A health department official said that the kid had an auto-immune disease, and also was mentally challenged since her birth. 

The disabled girl was brought from Hyderabad some days back by her family for treatment to Karachi where she was, initially, admitted to a private hospital in KDA Scheme 33 and later shifted to the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) where she breathed her last at night on May 10, the official added, saying due to complex health status baby’s organs had also started malfunctioning. 

Apart from the minor girl, eight more people including a woman, aged from 20 to 89 years, died of COVID-19 at Karachi, while two men of 84 and 90 years expired at Hyderabad. 

According to the health department’s COVID-19 summary updated on May 11 morning, with the detection of 537 new coronavirus cases, the number of infected people rose to 12,017 in the province, while the number of total tests conducted stood as 95,053. 

As many as 3,730 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours ending at 8 am on May 11. Karachi reported 448 positive cases, followed by Sukkur (22 cases), Shikarpur (19), Kambar Shadadkot (11), Tando Allahyar (8), Larkana (7), Hyderabad (4), Sanghar (4), Matiari (4), Jacobabad (3), Sujawal (2), Jamshoro (1), Badin (1) and Mirpurkhas (1). 

Another 68 recovered from the disease during the 24 hours, taking the tally of such people to 2,149. Giving a breakdown of the infected peersons in the province, the report said that 11,103 (93%) people, including 767 members of tableeghi jamat, contracted the virus locally, while 634 (5%) returned infected from abroad, in addition to 280 (2%) pilgrims who returned from Taftan, Iran.

Time to learn lessons from history

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

“Today the whole world is talking about various aspects of a common enemy COVID-19. Whatever the reasons, rationale or conspiracy theories on the subject, which are in abundance, the fact remains that we are obsessed by this monster.” 

This was observed by Senator Nisar Memon, a former federal minister, in his latest newspaper article.

“The fear is monumental because there is no medicine and vaccine but the positive aspect is availability of preventive shield which is simply to stay out of its possible contact by taking suggested precautions and isolation to insulate its entry into human body. So simple but yet not practiced, causing unprecedented halt!” he opined. 

“It is ironic, that while internationally everyone accepts it is a common war but yet the countries, states and cities are battling each other. China and USA, the two major economic powers though bruised by pandemic, do not see eye to eye on its origin. New York Governor has taken a course independent of Washington to fight pandemic,” he wondered. 

“The citizens in many countries are either defying government instructions like in most of our cities or are in streets protesting against continued lockdown like in Berlin. The scientists of different countries are researching in different directions and world bodies offering differing programmes,” the former federal minister added. 

“In this backdrop, let’s see how we are faring. Pakistan federal government with its civil and military administration in Islamabad is on one page, if voices of some cabinet members were to be ignored. Parliament is still under lockdown but the parliamentarians are contesting each other vehemently in media. Judiciary has scores of questions from executive to allow it to be counted on same page. Unfortunately, a divisive debate rages whether to save lives from COVID-19 or from hunger,” Senator Nisar Memon commented. 

“The federal and provincial governments, including the ruling party’s own governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, can be seen by all whether they are on one page or not. The business, trade and industry despite financial pressures have shown remarkable resilience to be on one page with provincial governments. Finally, the Ulemas came in to defy the government perceived to be weak is not a silver lining but ‘call to attention’ notice,” he remarked. 

“The intensity of COVID-19 sooner or later will recede but the world would have lost opportunity to be on one page in preparing itself for a peaceful and just world order with respect to Mother Earth and its children, the humans. In post-Coronavirus, people expect a new world order which is different from the one that emerged after World War I and II. The economic powers must concede their domineering role and neocolonialism; while developing economies must move away from aid, loan and support and ‘break the begging bowl’ if they wish to be sovereign,” he reckoned. 

“But if the world emerges out of COVID-19 without learning the lessons of history, a disaster of unimaginable magnitude compared to pandemic may emerge and therefore all efforts must be made to avoid it. Let the world reboot and move on to live with new economies with different means of production, trade, communication; and new human relationship with dependable health and education systems. Pakistan should shun deceit and petty politics and truly bring all on one page,” he urged.

Construction of Diamer Bhasha dam begins

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The construction of the most talked about Diamer Bhaha dam has started on May 11, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, Lt General Asim Saleem Bajwa tweeted. 

“Today is historic news for all generation of Pakistan, a huge stimulus for our economic development,” he announced. 

“The project will help create 16,500 jobs, besides generating 4500 MW Hydel power and to irrigate 1.2 million acres agricultural land. It will also help enhance life of Tarbela Dam by 35 years,” he added.

To be executed by WAPDA, it will be Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) dam, having a height of 272 meters with 14 gates measuring 11.5 meters by 16.24 meters. The gross storage will be 8.10 MAF (10 BCM) while live storage will be 6.40 MAF (7.9 BCM). Its installed capacity will be 4,500 MW with a dozen tributes, each of 375 MW.

It may be recalled the then Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, realizing the importance of generation of hyder power through construction of dams, had personally taken the initiative by setting up Diamer Bahshah dam fund for collection of money through banks in July 2018. 

It was later joined by Prime Minister Imran Khan, making it a joint venture to overcome the country’s water scarcity and the project was named as the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of Pakistan Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams Fund.

Azeem Sarwar, Athar Shah Khan immortalized Jaidi

Pakistan News & Features Services

The legendary radio producer Azeem Sarwar, who is credited to have revived the iconic character of Jaidi, lavished the man, Athar Shah Khan, with huge praise as the celebrated writer, playwright and actor passed away in Karachi on May 10 at the age of 76. 

Although Athar Shah Khan had himself created the character of Jaidi for a television play but it became a household name much later when revived by Azeem Sarwar through radio programmes like ‘Rung hee rung, Jaidi kay sung’ and ‘Jaidy kay mehman’ which ran for a staggering 23 years. 

His monumental success on radio upstaged his own earlier good work for television. 

“The character of Jaidi had died in the television play. Yes it was on my suggestion that he had agreed to revive it. The rest is history as they say. It turned out to be a masterstroke and the character of Jaidi was immortalized with our radio programmes,” Azeem Sarwar recalled modestly while talking exclusively to PNFS.

“Athar Shah Khan was a master craftsman. He excelled in everything he was doing. Being an educated man, he was creative and versatile. As a colleague, he was cooperative and punctual. It was both a privilege as well as pleasure having worked together for so long and we treasured those moments,” he added.

Together, Azeem Sarwar and Athar Shah Khan deserve to be regarded as the trailblazers of the Pakistan entertainment industry as their blockbuster programmes not only popularized Radio Pakistan nationally and globally but they also invented a template which was emulated in future successfully and most notably by the duo of Anwar Maqsood and Moin Akhtar on television.

COVID-19 camp for police force held at Mirpurkhas

Pakistan News & Features Services

The Serving Hands Organization, with the collaboration of the Citizen Police Liaison Committee (CPLC), organized a coronavirus safety programme in Mirpurkhas to carry out testing and medical check-up of the police force in the district. 

The senior officers of the Sindh Police were present on the occasion, who lauded the services of their personnel engaged in the fight against the pandemic. 

Earlier similar events were also held at Karachi and Hyderabad. The officials of the Service Hands Organization highlighted the fact that it was essential to conduct corona tests of the police force in order to protect them and let them serve the masses more enthusiastically.

Chinese military medical experts commend Pakistan’s government, army; desire greater public awareness about COVID-19

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Chinese military medical experts, currently undertaking a trip of Pakistan during which they have been visiting hospitals and other facilities, have praised the Pakistani government and the Pakistan army for playing their proactive role in control and prevention of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“They have established relatively sound epidemic prevention systems and also made some achievements. However, the general public need to further raise their awareness of the pandemic’s control and prevention, particularly they should do better in keeping a social distance,” Xu Yinzhe, one of the Chinese experts visiting Pakistan to share China’s experience on COVID-19 prevention and control, was quoted as saying by the Chinese media. 

Xu added that they hoped to work together with Pakistan to mobilize the masses to join in the fight against the pandemic. 

The Chinese military medical experts have also commended the Pakistan’s testing capacity of the disease.

“We have visited a total of eight military hospitals in the surrounding areas in the last week and a half. We shared with them our experience of fighting against the coronavirus. They also told us their diagnosis and treatment procedures. As for their problems encountered in fighting the virus, we made suggestions based on our experience, which they thought were helpful,” Zhou Feihu, head of the Chinese expert team and former director of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Department of the Chinese PLA General Hospital, remarked. 

“Both of the tests, quantity and level, at the virology institute are good. One laboratory could conduct about 700 tests every day, which is relatively large. We advise Pakistan to further improve the testing capacity to meet the clinical demand,” Li Mianyang, another military medical expert, suggested. 

Based on their inspection and findings, the Chinese military medical team will work on the clinical front line and conduct research and discussion with the Pakistani medics about the diagnosis and treatment scheme for severe cases in the following more than one month. 

The visiting Chinese military medical team has been sent by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to Pakistan to help them contain the pandemic.

The 10-member medical expert team of PLA, along with a batch of COVID-19 aid, had arrived in Pakistan on April 24. These experts have 

This team, possessing rich diagnosis and treatment experience, not only in COVID-19, but also Ebola and SARS, is the second batch of medical rescue teams to Pakistan, having been sent by the Chinese government. 

The first batch of medical rescue teams, eight experts, had arrived in Pakistan on March 28 and returned home on April 17 after completing their assignment.

N95 masks stolen from warehouse in England

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

As many as 80,000 N95 masks were stolen from a warehouse in Salford, England. These masks were originally planned to be provided to staff of the National Health Service (NHS) and frontline anti-epidemic personnel.

Reportedly three thieves broke into the warehouse of a medical supplies company in Salford and stole 320 boxes of high-quality N95 masks worth £ 166,000. 

According to police, the three thieves carried out the theft operation from 9:30 pm on the 7th to 0:20 am on the 8th, and then drove three cars to remove the stolen masks. 

The report mentioned that other medical equipment in the warehouse, including some other cheaper masks, were not stolen. 

Policeman Chris Mannion of the Greater Manchester remarked rather angrily that this was a particularly disgusting crime adding that the theft of equipment that protects vulnerable groups and frontline workers is too shocking. 

“When you think of these protective equipment for NHS staff and home health care workers, and now we are working hard to protect our national health care system against a common enemy, the new crown pneumonia, this is really disgusting crime," he regretted.

COVID-19 cases resurface in China

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The health authorities in China received a warning shot as Jilin province's health commission reported three new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases on May 11, bringing the total during the past three days to 15.

One of the new cases was in Shulan, which has been categorized as a high-risk epidemic region since May 10, the only such area in the country. The other two cases were in Jilin's Fengman district, which raised its COVID-19 alert level from low to medium risk, the provincial epidemic control team said May 11 

A 45-year-old woman in Shulan, who was diagnosed on May 7, was tied to infections in several of her family members and others with whom she had close contact, according to the commission. 

A total of 276 related close contacts have been placed in quarantine, the commission said. All residential areas in Shulan have been locked down since May 9, the local epidemic control department revealed as families were allowed to send one member outside each day to make purchases. 

It has been made mandatory for the residents to register information and scan the health codes on their phones when entering and leaving communities, and masks and temperature checks are mandatory and the visitors were not allowed. 

On May 10, the China Railway Shenyang Group temporarily suspended train service between Shulan and some other cities, including Changchun, Jilin's capital. 

Changchun published notices on May 11 to residents who had traveled to Shulan after April 26. Anyone who returned to Changchun from Shulan has been advised to report to the authorities immediately to be placed under quarantine and to get tested for the coronavirus, a statement from Changchun's virus control and prevention department said.