KARACHI: Fearing a sudden surge in coronavirus cases in the coming days, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Friday ordered establishment of 10,000-bedded field hospitals across the province.
“The provincial government must prepare to establish field hospitals in every district,” he said, adding that the number of Covid-19 infected patients was swelling as more tests were being conducted.
This he said while presiding over a high-level meeting of the provincial health department at the CM House.
The meeting was attended by Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Health Secretary Zahid Abbasi, CM’s focal person on coronavirus Najam Shah and additional health secretary Fayaz Abbasi.
The CM also directed the health minister to identify vacant or newly constructed government buildings and grounds where isolation centres could be set up.
The chief minister directed the education department to hand over the newly constructed building in Tando Mohammad Khan for setting up a field hospital when he was informed that it had the capacity to house at least 50 patients. He approved to establish a 50-bedded hospital within a week.
Says coronavirus hotspots to be sealed completely; of 4,653 Tableeghi Jamaat members 429 test positive
He also approved establishment of a 100-bedded similar facility in Matiari.
He also approved establishment of a field hospital in a new hospital building in Tando Allahyar.
185 ‘critical-care units’ established
The chief minister directed the health minister to arrange medical and paramedical staff and medicines for the field hospitals being established at the district level.
The health minister told the CM that 185 critical-care units equipped with ventilators were established in different hospitals. They include 10 in Dow University’s Ojha campus, 11 in Indus Hospital, 10 in Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), 12 in Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital, 12 in Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, three in Lyari General Hospital, 14 in Trauma Centre Karachi, 20 in Liaquat University Hospital Hyderabad, eight in Liaquat University Hospital Jamshoro, 14 in Peoples Medical University Shaheed Benazirabad, 10 in Khairpur Medical College, six in Sukkur, 14 in Chandka Medical College Larkana, 20 in GIMS Gambat, four in Syed Abdullah Shah Institute Sehwan, five in District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) Kotri, five in Indus Hospital Badin, three in DHQ Thatta, two in DHQ Sujawal and two in Jacobabad.
The chief minister directed Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Shah to order disinfectant spray in every district.
He said that there must be a proper cleanliness system so that other diseases could be prevented from appearing while containing the coronavirus.
209 new Covid-19 cases
In his message to the people of the province and overseas Pakistanis, the chief minister said on Friday that 209 new cases of coronavirus had emerged during the last 24 hours and 132 of them belonged to the Tableeghi Jamaat (TJ).
He said 77 of the patients were mainly residents of Karachi’s shantytowns.
He said that as many as 2,372 tests were conducted during the past 24 hours (from Thursday 8am to Friday 8am).
Mr Shah said 21,272 tests conducted so far had resulted in 2,217 positive cases.
He disclosed that two more coronavirus patients died due to the infection.
“The number of deaths so far has reached to 47, which is 2.1 per cent,” he said, adding that 1,589 patients were still under treatment including 872 in home isolation, 469 at isolation centres and 248 in hospitals.
The chief minister said that five patients had recovered completely and were sent back to their homes with a certificate of recovery. “As many as 581 patients have recovered so far which is 26 per cent of the total patients.”
About the members of the Tableeghi Jamaat, he said that 4,653, out of total 4,692, had been tested across the province and total 429 of them were diagnosed as positive while 91 results were awaited.
He said that there was no possibility of the spread of the virus by the infected TJ members as they were kept in isolation.
‘Hotspots’ to be closed completely
Giving district-wise details of Karachi’s 77 cases, the chief minister said in South district 30 cases had been detected from Lyari, Kharadar, Lea Market, Burnes Road, Kalapul, Shoe Market, Saddar and Garden.
In East, as many as 16 cases were detected in parts of Gulbahar, Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Sharif Colony, Khalil Colony and KECHS. In Korangi, six cases detected from Nasir Colony, Faisal Colony and PIA Society. In Malir, six cases were located in Landhi and Gulshan-i-Hadeed.
Total eight cases were detected in district West’s Afghan Basti and its nearby shantytown, Northern Bypass and Baldia Town and most of the 11 cases in district Central were detected in slums and, therefore, more precautionary measures should be taken by residents of the area.
The chief minister said that under a new strategy the hotspots, where more cases were being detected, would be closed completely.
“I am quite upset with the spread, as without observing complete social distancing and isolation of the people we would not be able to contain the virus,” he said.
Mr Shah said that the collection of samples from the hotspots of the city had been increased.
Message to overseas Pakistanis
Addressing overseas Pakistanis, the chief minister said that data available with him showed that the Pakistanis living abroad had been affected by Covid-19 more than the Pakistanis living in the country.
He told them that the loss of lives they suffered were more than in Pakistan. “We are with you at this testing time,” he said and added the federal government was trying to bring them back him.
Mr Shah said that a flight was due to land in Karachi on Friday bringing back Pakistanis living abroad. “We, as a provincial government, are working with the federal government to test the arriving overseas Pakistanis at Jinnah terminal and have made arrangement for necessary quarantine,” he said.
The chief minister said that the overseas Pakistanis had always been a great source of foreign exchange adding, “You are our asset and we will always be with you.”
Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2020