Monday, May 25, 2020

Ignoring coronavirus SOPs could cause serious miseries in Pakistan

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The shopping spree of Eid-ul-Fitr, in which the agreed SOPs for coronavirus (COVID-19) were flouted blatantly by the traders as well as the shoppers all over the country, is now being followed by the Eid festivities in which people’s reluctance to pursue the safety measures continues to give rise to more infections and causes more challenges for the already hard pressed health system.

Not surprisingly the rate of infection has been shooting up alarmingly of late which are serious warnings for things to come in the near future if the existing practices are allowed to continue longer. 

While the government has its own obligations, and limitations too, the role and the attitude of the people become more significant. 

As responsible citizens, the SOPs should be followed in letter and spirit in order to prevent catastrophic situation. Otherwise things could go horribly wrong within no time. 

We have already witnessed a country as resourceful as the United States of America (USA) besides the powerful European countries like Italy, Spain, England and France suffer immensely due to their late realization about the venom of this virus, a country like Pakistan, with limited health facilities, simply cannot afford to take it lightly. 

The people of Pakistan need to stand up and take the responsibility of protecting themselves and the country by following the SOPs which everyone seems remembering by heart but for some reasons they are unable to do it. Doing simple things like wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining social distancing should not be an issue for anyone.

Coronavirus Update: Sindh’s rate of infection continues rising phenomenally

By Mukhtar Alam
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

As Eid-ul-Fitr was observed amid advices for exercising restraints, its rate of new COVID-19 infection in Sindh rose to 23.85% on May 24, against 17.57% of the preceding day (May 23). 

According to official sources, various testing laboratories working in the public and private sectors conducted as many as 3,547 tests for coronavirus, out of which 846 were found positive. 

Earlier, the COVID-19 new infection rate in the province remained almost stationary during a period from May 16 to 22. During the period in question Sindh’s new daily infection rate was on average recorded as 16.59%. 

The Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, observed on May 24 that the new infection rate of 24% was the highest ever ratio of such cases since February 26 when Sindh reported its first case of COVID-19. 

He didn’t mince words in stating that the COVID situation was going from bad to worse in the province, revealing that out of 846 new cases, 703 belonged to Karachi. 

“This is why I keep requesting our people to stay home because Karachi is a thickly populated city and the threat of local transmission looms large here,” he added. 

Reporting increase in the infection rate, the authorities confirmed another 13 deaths due to lethal coronavirus infection during the last 24 hours ending at 8 am on May 24, pushing the COVID-19 death counts to 367 for Sindh. 

However, there was no elaborated information about the latest deaths as the health department did not release the relevant summary for reasons best known to them. 

It was learnt that 157,449 samples have been tested across the province so far, out of which 22,491 were detected COVID-19 positive. In addition to Karachi, the districts from where the new positive cases were reported on May 24 included Larkana (24), Ghotki (12), Tando Allahyar (10), Hyderabad (9), Sanghar (8), Kambar-Shahdadkot (7), Jacobabad (7), Thatta (4), while Badin and Jamshoro presented two cases each and Mirpurkhas and Tando Mohammad Khan one cases each. 

As many as 13,094 (88.5%) infected people were taking treatment in home isolation, while 791 (5.5%) were in isolation centers and 880 or (6%) were in different hospitals. It was further learnt that 156 patients were in critical condition, of them 34 have been put on the ventilators. 

In the meantime, Sindh Minister for Health, Azra Fazal Pechuho, in a message on May 24, urged the people to prefer staying at home then going out. 

“Coronavirus is very much existent in the community while beds and ventilators are available in limited numbers in our health system,” she revealed, adding that two children are at present on ventilators. 

On the other hand, the Sindh government spokesperson, Murtaza Wahab, noted that the province has seen a jump in the number of coronavirus cases in children in the last 20 days. “On May 2 we had 253 children infected with the virus, today there are 788 children up to the age of 10 were infected.” 

He appealed to the people to practice social distancing and follow relevant SoPs to keep themselves safe. “We went outside and brought coronavirus into our homes. The lockdown policies were for our betterment and to keep us safe,” he added. 

According to an official report, as of May 24, there were 1,654 admitted in different hospitals in the province, out of which 1,499 were in stable condition, 121 in critical condition and 34 on ventilators.

BRI playing important role in fighting COVID-19: Chinese FM

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The infrastructure and public wellbeing projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have played an important role for partner countries during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, declared on May 24. 

Addressing the foreign and domestic media at the sidelines of second session of the Chinese parliament, Wang Li said that looking into the future, the joint building of the BRI will be conducted on a more solid foundation, with more vitality and broader prospects after the pandemic. 

According to Wang, China-Europe freight trains have transported 8,000 tons of materials used to help combat the virus from January to April. 

The Chinese Foreign Minister took various questions and responded in detail via video link from Beijing. For the convenience of foreign media, the press conference provided simultaneous interpretation service in six languages, English, Fresh, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Japanese. 

Wang came up with comprehensive response to the queries regarding COVID-19 pandemic, China-US relations, globalization, China-Russia relations, global aid, China-EU relations, lawsuits related to COVID-19 and China diplomacy in 2020. 

Shedding light on lawsuits, Wang stated that Beijing will not accept lawsuits from other countries on losses from COVID-19 and such attempts to infringe on China’s sovereignty and dignity are doomed to failure. 

Wang continued to say that the accusations were completely baseless both in terms of laws and facts and have no international precedents. China, like other countries, is also a victim of the pandemic, he remarked. 

“China has paid a heavy price and made huge sacrifice in its efforts to contain the spread of the virus and cut off the path of its transmission with the shortest possible period,” he explained.

Beijing-Hubei passenger air service resume

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Beijing resumed passenger air service to Hubei when the first passenger flight of Shenzhen Airline took off from Beijing to Xiangyang city of Hubei province on May 24. 

It was the first passenger flights from the capital to destinations in Hubei since the outbreak of COVID-19. 

According to a notice released by the civil aviation administration starting from May 24 to October 24 this year, the Shenzhen Airline will operate a round-trip flight between Beijing to Xiangyang every Sunday, providing a channel for the public to go in and out of Hubei by air. 

The airline staff will strictly follow the epidemic prevention and control measures such as temperature-taking and health information collection.

34 bodies of PIA plane crash identified, handed over to families

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Sindh health department announced on May 24 that as many as 34 bodies of PIA crashed airplane have been identified and all of them handed over to their respective families. 

Meanwhile the provincial minister for health and population welfare, Dr Azra Pechuho, said that Sindh has its own forensic/genome laboratory at Karachi University where the DNA sampling of all unidentified plan crash victims was being carried out. 

“We also have another laboratory at the Liaquat University in Jamshoro which has the capacity of conducting the DNA sampling,” she added.

NADRA collect thumb impression of PIA plane crash victims

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

A technical team of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has been entrusted with the responsibility of the identification of victims of PIA plane crash in Karachi through thumb impression. 

An announcement from the NADRA authorities revealed that most of the deaths, in the PIA plane crash at Karachi on May 22, were caused due to severe fire and their bodies were difficult to identify. 

The NADRA team had promptly started undertaking its task as they took thumb impression of three victims on the spot. Out of three, they had identified two of them, the announcement said.