LAHORE: Punjab Health Minister Yasmin Rashid has said that in order to contain the spike in coronavirus cases, the provincial government will have to impose a blanket lockdown across the province.

The prime minister’s aide on health, Dr Faisal Sultan, on the other hand, expressed concern over the rise in coronavirus infections owing to rampant violations of the SOPs by people, especially in the transport sector.

In a statement, the Punjab health minister said that the health ministry and district administration of Lahore favour the lockdown, but a final decision in this regard will be taken by the Punjab government.

The statement by the minister comes at a time when major hospitals of Punjab have started to run out of ventilators amid a 19 per cent positivity rate. The provincial government has reportedly procured 100 more ventilators to keep up with the demand.

It may be noted that the health department had sought lockdown in the last week of March as well, but its request was turned down by the Buzdar government at the time, who chose to impose partial lockdown.

Rashid said that the condition in Lahore will continue to worsen if the government failed to take any stringent measures.

According to Yasmin Rashid, some of the major hospitals of the city, including Gangaram, Jinnah, and Services Hospitals, have run out of ventilators. Moreover, the OPD section of the Jinnah Hospital has been closed to the public.

The minister said oxygen beds have reached their 70 per cent capacity across Lahore — a worrying increase. The final decision on the new restrictions will be taken by the provincial government headed by Usman Buzdar.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by PM’s health aide Dr Faisal Sultan also hints towards stringent measures by the government. Dr Sultan said that the government issued a list of SOPs to contain the virus, but unfortunately people have been ignoring them.

Dr Sultan said the transporters and restaurants are also flouting the SOPs, urging the people to follow the SOPs in the wake of a severe third wave. He also urged clerics to play their role in the imposition of the SOPs during Ramzan.

In the last 24 hours, 4,584 people tested positive for COVID-19 while 58 lost their lives, according to the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC).

The number of critical patients in Pakistan stands at 4,201 while the positivity rate is 10.37 per cent.

As of April 12, the total active COVID-19 cases in Pakistan stand at 75,266. Out of 1,756 ventilators reserved for COVID-19 patients in the country, 512 ventilators are currently occupied.

There is no patient on the ventilator in AJK, GB, and Balochistan. A total of 725,603 cases have been detected so far in the country with AJK reporting 14,594; Balochistan:20,321; GB:5,127; ICT:66,380, KP:99,595; Punjab:250,459 and Sindh reporting 269,126 cases so far.

Till now, Pakistan has recorded 15,501 deaths. Punjab is on top of the list with 6,988 casualties followed by Sindh:4,530; KP:2,651; Islamabad: 611; Balochistan: 215; GB: 103 and AJK: 403.

The writer is a member of staff
The reporting desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk

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