Second wave of Covid likely to start in schools, warns PMA | Pakistan Today

Second wave of Covid likely to start in schools, warns PMA

–Positivity rate crosses 4pc in Karachi

As the number of active cases begins to climb faster, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) predicts that the second spike of coronavirus will emerge from schools.

This prediction is based on the fact that similar patterns were seen in India, Iran, and the United States, as well as the fact that Pakistan’s positivity ratio recently crossed two per cent nationwide.

“Unfortunately, the government’s response so far is limited to the issuance of notifications of Standard Operating Procedures [SOPs], whose implementation is non-existent anywhere including schools,” said the PMA officials while addressing a press conference.

Earlier this week, the Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood on Thursday said that the federal government has no intention to close educational institutions again in spite of fears of the second wave.

It seems the PMA officials do not agree with this approach as they said, “The situation on the ground is entirely opposite as no precautions were being observed in schools, which were opened in congested buildings.”

While schools remain open, other precautions are being taken.

The government is imposing a “smart” lockdown in areas where coronavirus cases are increasing, a notification showed, and these focused lockdowns are in specific areas of Islamabad, Karachi, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

Alongside this, federal ministers Fawad Chaudhry, Sheikh Rasheed and Asad Umar on Saturday had issued advisories to the opposition regarding a delay in the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) rallies due to rising Covid-19 cases.

Worryingly, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said on Monday while briefing National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting that the Covid-19 positivity rate has risen above 4 per cent in Karachi in the last five days, urging people to cooperate with the authorities in following coronavirus precautionary measures.

“A total of 2,549 people have died of the coronavirus disease in the province so far, while 4808 people are still under treatment as they battle against Covid-19,” said CM Murad, adding that the Covid-19 positive rate was recorded at 4.32 per cent in Karachi and 3.24 in Hyderabad in the last five days.

He said that the Sindh government has sealed 224 restaurants across the province for violating Covid-19 sops and 20 wedding halls have been fined, 12 sealed while 97 were given a warning.

As many as 385 new cases of the coronavirus surfaced across the country over the past 24 hours, taking the nationally tally of infections to 319,317, said the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Monday.

Furthermore, 10 coronavirus patients died during the previous 24 hours. The total number of people dying of complications caused by the highly contagious disease has reached 6,580.

Since the pandemic outbreak, a total of 319,317 cases have been detected so far, including 140,294 in Sindh, 100,764 in Punjab, 38,348 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 15,525 in Balochistan, 17,331 in Islamabad, 3,937 in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), and 3,118 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

Meanwhile, the tally of active cases of Covid-19 in Balochistan has dropped below 200 cases, a spokesperson of Balochistan Health Department said on Monday. In a statement, the provincial health department said that 49 patients had recovered to health in the last 24 hours and active cases of the novel coronavirus in the province have dropped to 177.

Health officials conducted 661 diagnostic tests in 24 hours and detected five positive cases, according to the health department. Total count of coronavirus positive cases has reached 15,525 with five new infections in Balochistan. The number of recuperated patients across the province is 15,202, the health department said.

Overall 146 deaths were reported due to Covid-19 in Balochistan, as no fatality was reported in the last 24 hours, according to the statement.

Separately, after a significant decrease in the coronavirus cases in Punjab, the number has started to creep gradually again.

A report compiled by the Punjab Primary and Secondary Health Department shows that as many as 670 cases of coronavirus were reported in the first 11 days of October.

Earlier in the months of August and September, 25 cases were being reported on a daily basis in the province but now the number has jumped to 60 per day in the first 11 days of the month of October.

The report highlights that 16 critical patients of coronavirus are currently under treatment at the government hospitals of the province.

Corona Experts Advisory Group Punjab Chairman Professor Mehmood Shaukat said that the number of cases is increasing due to non-compliance with the health-related guidelines designed by the provincial government to control over the spread of the pandemic. Weather change can result in the return of coronavirus, he feared.