Monday, May 18, 2020

Coronavirus Update: Unchanged infection pattern in interior Sindh

By Mukhtar Alam
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Despite increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) testing facilities the average daily tally of new cases in the interior districts remained almost unchanged as the health authorities on May 17 confirmed another 156 cases, with four related deaths, in the districts outside of Karachi. 

During the week ending on May 17, the districts other than those of Karachi, have reported on average 146 new cases, in comparison of 136 of the preceding week (May 4 to 10). The districts in all have reported 3,822 (23% of the total) infections, in comparison of 12,555 (77%) cumulatively reported by six districts of Karachi division since February 26 when the COVID-19 outbreak was confirmed in Sindh.

The lethal virus originating from China had infected the entire districts of Sindh by April 26. 

The tally of coronavirus positive cases in Sindh reached to 4,956, including 3,524 reported in Karachi, with 85 related deaths, on April 27, while another milestone of 10,771 cases, including 8,051 Karachi, with 180 deaths were recorded on May 9. 

Sindh’s tally of cases jumped to 15,590, including 11,924 from Karachi, with 268 deaths on May 16, according to official sources. 

The experts, taking note of considerable difference in the infection rates of Karachi and the remaining districts, attributed it to the non-availability of the virus testing laboratories in the interior parts of the province. 

Sindh needs to reach out for more and more hidden infection cases timely in the interior as well, otherwise it will become difficult further for the authorities to contain the diseases in any shortest possible time, they added. 

The official sources maintained that Sindh in all has 16 designated coronavirus testing laboratories in the public and private sectors, including two at Hyderabad and one at Sukkur. 

According to the Sindh health department routine summary, new infections were reported from Shikarpur (31) Sukkur (25), Larkana (25), Hyderabad (16), Ghotki (14), Kambar Shahdadkot (13), Sanghar (10), Khairpur (6), Jamshoro (3), Mirpurkhas (3) and Badin (2) while Sujawal, Thatta, Matiari, Kashmore and Jacobabad reported once case each, in addition to 631 cases reported by Karachi. 

The department also confirmed deaths of five COVID-19 patients, including a woman at Karachi during the last 24 hours ending at 8 am on May 17, whose ages ranged from 30 to 75 years. In addition, two patients, including a woman, in the age brackets of 49 to 53 years, died at Hyderabad while a 40-year-old woman lost her life at Sukkur and another women, aged 45 years, died in Matiari, taking the overall death toll to 277 for the province on May 17. 

However, the official summary did not mention the place of deaths of the patients in question, nature of diseases and their treatment period in the hospitals or homes. 

So far, according to a report, 206 patients have died at 16 public and private hospitals across the province, including JPMC (36), DUHS Ojha (35), SIUT (34), AKUH (31), Indus Korangi (24), CHK (18) and others. About remaining deaths it’s being assumed that those occurred at homes of the deceased patients since no official statement about their deaths was made available. 

As many as 5,034 samples were tested during the last 24 hours against the cumulative capacity of testing 6,550 samples, with an overall positive rate of 20 percent. 

 A maximum 45% positivity rate came from the South City Hospital, followed by SIUT (44%), CHK (29%), Indus Korangi (29%), DUHS Ojha (24%), KU-PMDC (23%), AKUH (23%), Liaquat National (21%), PNS Shifa (195) and others.

China fondly remembers Pakistan’s timely support in 2008 earthquake

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The government and the people of China still fondly remember and highly value the support that Pakistan had extended in overcoming Sichuan earthquake disaster in 2008. 

A report published by Gwadar Pro, recalled that May 12 was the 12th anniversary of 2008 China Sichuan earthquake which had caused a total of 69,227 deaths, 374,643 injuries, 17,923 missing and it’s considered as one of the most destructive catastrophes to have hit China. 

Pakistan, it has been recalled, had immediately reacted to support China to help overcome such a major disaster. In the last 12 years, the friendship between Pakistan and China has been continued to grow. 

After the earthquake, the Pakistan government had immediately responded and donated several batches of relief supplies, gross worthy over 7 million RMB (over Rs 110 million) to the disaster area. 

Within four days after the earthquake, Pakistan mobilized all of the transport aircrafts, invoked funds from national reserves and emptied reserves of disaster supplies to extend support to China. On May 16, 2008, two Pakistani Air Force C-130 transport planes had landed at Sichuan China with rescue team and supplies. 

Yao Jing, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, said that the friendship between China and Pakistan had been stabilized by that catastrophe again. 

Li Jing Feng, a researcher at the Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), who has studied the Pak-China relations for a long time, also reckoned that the friendship between Pakistan and China has had deep roots in the hearts of people and each disaster could be regarded as a catalyst to unite two countries. 

The photographs of inside C-130 loaded with relief goods and relief workers standing to provide more space to accommodate goods had earned widespread publicity and appreciation from the Chinese people.

NDMA dispatches medicines to provinces to combat locust

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has announced dispatching medical items, including sprayers to provinces for combating the locusts in their respective areas.

The NDMA sources informed PNFS that a dozen spraying machines each have been sent to Sindh, Punjab and Balocistan while six and eight sprayers had been provided to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and department of plants protection respectively. 

The spokesman further revealed that the affected provinces had been provided 350,000 liters medicine to combat locusts. 

Balochistan has been provided 106,299 litres, Sindh 124,000 litres, Punjab 79,800 litres and DPP was provided 40,000 litres. The anti-insecticides medicines included 300,000 litres of methylene, 96 percent ULV and 50,000 litres Limda two percent. 

There was severe locust attack on various crops in district Jhang of Punjab province, Dosti FM98 radio channel reported. Quoting Deputy Commissioner, Tahir Watto, it was disclosed that spray was being carried out on crops in the affected fields, while agriculture experts had joined hands for supervising and facilitating the spray operation while the department of agriculture was motinoring the movement of locust.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, in a recent report, had warned of a potentially serious food security crisis this year in several regional countries, including Pakistan, due to locust attacks. 

The report titled ‘Desert locust situation in Pakistan’ highlighted migration pattern of desert locust in South West Asia, its current invasion in different countries, potential impact on Pakistan’s agricultural economy as well as the ongoing efforts of Pakistan’s government to contain the pest and the emerging scenario. 

According to the report, Pakistan and Iran in the eastern region were particularly prone as locust breeding was taking place in these areas, also due to the wet winter this year.