Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Coronavirus Update: Sindh’s onslaught continues with record single-day infections

By Mukhtar Alam
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Sindh’s COVID-19 cases onslaught continued unabated as the authorities confirmed detection of 1,402 new cases in 6,289 samples on June 1, with 22 fatalities, pushing the tally of infections to 29,647 and deaths to 503. 

According to data, Sindh reported its all days’ highest new infections since the outbreak of the diseases on February 26 in the province, against previous provincial one-day highest of 1,247 new infections reported on May 30. 

The number of laboratory tests for COVID-19 conducted in Sindh increased by 2,189 (53%) in comparison to May 31. 

Sindh’s one day rate of positive infection came as 22%, against the country’s 20.58%, while the overall positivity rate remained 15.84% against 12.91% of the country. A gender-wise calculation showed the ratio of female patients in Sindh’s overall infections as 28.1%. 

The breakdown of 22 male and female patients, along with ages and hospital names, who expired during the last 24 hours, ending at 9 am on June 1 were not released by the provincial health department or the Sindh’s Chief Minister who continued to issue his statement on COVID-19 on a regular basis. 

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, in his latest statement, revealed that 342 out of 1,095 admitted patients at hospitals were in critical condition across the province. 

As many as 71 COVID-19 patients were hooked to ventilators while the tally of those having been cured and recovered from the diseases increased to 14,590, with the release of another 785 patients during the last 24 hours. 

The new infections were confirmed at Karachi (1,028), Sukkur (46), Ghotki (46), Larkana (38), Hyderabad (25), Mirpurkhas (21), Shikarpur (20) Jacobabad (12), Khairpur (8), Jamshoro (8), Badin (4), Sujawal (4), Naushero Ferroze (2), Thatta (2) while Umerkot, Shaheed Benazirabad and Kashnore reported one case each. 

In the meantime, a source revealed that at least 17 patients died at eight public and private hospitals during the last 24 hours. 

By June 1, as many as 409 patients lost their lives in 27 private and public hospitals across the province, including JPMC (63 deaths), DUHS (62), SIUT (54), AKUH (44), CHK (40), Indus Hospital (43), Ziauddin Hospital (26), PNS Shifa (14), LUMHS Hyderabad (12) and others. 

According to another source, after a few days of crisis, the position related to utilization of beds in the intensive care units at 11 hospitals handling COVID-19 patients at Karachi has changed now.

As many as 22 ICU beds were reported vacant at five hospitals while another 23 beds in the high dependency units were vacant at four hospitals, in addition to 158 were vacant in isolation wards of four hospitals. 

Meanwhile, Dr Palitha Mahipala, Country Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Pakistan, met with the Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, and the Sindh Health Minister, Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, on June 1. 

During the meeting the WHO official highlighted the importance of increasing the laboratory testing, active case finding and testing all severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and influenza like illness (ILI) cases, improving case management and slowing down community transmission by placing mild and moderate cases in isolation facilities, according to the official communication. 

The Chief Minister urged the WHO representative to ensure some training programme for the doctors, paramedical staff and nurses dealing the COVID-19 cases. Dr Sara Khan of the WHO was also present on the occasion.

Noted scholar Dr Asif Farrukhi is no more

By Zaib Azkaar Hussain
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Dr Asif Aslam Farrukhi, who passed away in Karachi on June 1, had been rushed to a local hospital just a day earlier where he could not survive a cardiac arrest. 

He was indeed a visionary writer, critic, translator, columnist and scholar, credited to have set new trends in the promotion of art and literature. 

He translated a number of books from English language to Urdu. In recognition to his literary services he was awarded 'Tamgha-e-Imtiaz’ by the President of Pakistan in 2005. 

Dr Asif Farrukhi edited several magazines. Particularly his Urdu magazine titled 'Shehrzaad' gained ground among literary circles to a great deal. 

He had attained education first from the famous Saint Patrick's High School, Karachi and later studied medicine at Dow Medical College, Karachi, before studying public health at Harvard University in the United States. 

His professor and writer father Aslam Farrukhi, who himself was author of several books, and family background led him to contribute to literature in Pakistan. 

Dr Asif Farrukhi was the co-founder of the Karachi Literature Festival which is being held every year for the past one decade. It's the platform where the writers of different countries and languages do gather and discuss the issues of writings and writers. 

He was known to having played a dynamic role in promoting and backing young writers either by assisting them in publication of their books or introducing them at the literary gatherings and writing on their works. He was equally keen in promoting senior writers and artists and junior ones. 

He also wrote for English newspapers and periodicals. Once he played a proactive role at the Goethe Institute and organized literary sittings. 

He was a senior member of the Halqa-e-Arbaabe Zauq (HAZ) Karachi and presented several papers on literature during its various gatherings.

As a senior member of the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi, he had been playing a pivotal role in holding the International Urdu Conference along with its President, Muhammad Ahmed Shah, and other members of governing body.

First-ever ship loaded with Afghan Transit trade goods anchored at Gwadar port

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

With the arrival of the first bulk-cargo ship, carrying Afghan Transit trade goods, brought joy among all segments of population particularly the business community of Gwadar as well as bring overall prosperity in Balochistan province.

‘MV Manet’ carried wheat and urea for Afghan Transit trade and it was anchored at the Gwadar port this week. This marked the beginning of a new era in Pakistan’s trade by sea which will certainly boost economy, development and regional connectivity. 

While on the other hand it is considered a giant step to get maximum benefits from the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of BRI.  
Pakistan’s decision to allow Afghan traders to import goods via Gwadar port will boost bilateral trade and transit ties between the two countries, the Gwadar Prowebsite quoted Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, Atif Mashal, as saying. 

Asim Saleem Bajwa, Special Assistant to Prime Minister, said that with the arrival of MV Manet, carrying wheat and urea of Afghan Transit trade at Gwadar port, a dream has come true for local economy as it will stimulate host of business activities.

Pakistan’s Commerce ministry has announced that is operationalized the Gwadar Port for Afghan Transit trade, marking a first in sea trade between the two countries. 

The trade business has commenced under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement-2010 (APTTA), authorities at the ministry communicated. 

“Gwadar Port is changing with the operation of Chinese companies, and we look forward to more prosperity” a Chinese blogger wrote on Twitter. 

An expert on CPEC told PNFS that the initiative of operationalizing the Gwadar port was the Chinese model to carry out socio-economic development across the country.

On one hand fully operationalization of the Gwadar Port will provide job opportunities particularly to locals on the other it will help in promoting all kind of businesses including hotel industry, transportation and tourism. 

This diversion will also help easing congestion on two ports in Karachi, besides reducing pressure on civic services which are already at saturating stage like water, electricity, gas, housing as well as poor road infrastructures. 

The promotion of regional connectivity, the dream of Chinese President Xi Jinping is turning into reality across the world, as according to Global Times, the English version of mass circulated Peoples Daily, the China-Europe freight trains delivered 16,000 containers from Yiwu, Zhejiang province in past five months, transporting urgent materials among the pandemic. 

It stabilized global supply chains and helped European countries in preventing and controlling the coronavirus (COVID-19).