Islamabad: Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), the federal capital’s main hospital treating coronavirus patients, is itself in a crisis as 91 members of the hospital staff — including doctors, nurses, paramedics and general workers — have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in recent days creating an alarming situation.
Majority of those who have tested positive were not in direct contact with patients suffering from coronavirus.
Our staff in coronavirus wards are safe because they are totally protected. Those infected are from the general areas [wards]. So, maybe, they are catching the virus through their social activities or through some other means. We shall look into all the aspects.
While speaking to Gulf News on Tuesday, joint executive director at PIMS, Dr Minhajus Siraj, admitted that PIMS employees were being increasingly diagnosed with the virus and the situation was quite worrisome. The prime minister’s Special Assistant on Health, Dr Zafar Mirza, has already ordered an inquiry to fix the loopholes.
Catching the virus
“Something is wrong somewhere and we will know exactly where by Wednesday morning,” he said. “We are already checking supplies of PPEs [personal protective equipment] and [adopting] proper safety measures,” said Dr Siraj, adding: “Our staff in coronavirus wards are safe because they are totally protected. Those infected are from the general areas [wards]. So, maybe, they are catching the virus through their social activities or through some other means. We shall look into all the aspects,” he assured.
Islamabad is registering an average of 100 cases of coronavirus on a daily basis, with the PIMS Emergency ward turning out to be an epicentre of sorts for rising infection. This has raised serious questions about the implementation of standard operating procedures (SOP) at the hospital.
Pakistan on Tuesday reported 76,400 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 1,621 deaths. On Monday, the numbers were 72,460 and 1,543, respectively, thus registering a record increase of 4,000 new cases and 78 deaths within 24 hours.
150,000 may be infected by July end
Ali Raza, a public health expert who has been monitoring the situation and inspecting various labs in public-sector hospitals in the country, said despite the government’s efforts and the SOPs, lives were still being affected on a large scale in the country. If people continue to violate SOPs it is feared that by the end of July, there could be 150,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country, Raza said.
Veteran artists Rubina Ashraf and Sakina Samo reportedly tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday. The two have now isolated themselves. Symptoms of coronavirus started appearing a day earlier and they decided to get themselves tested. Once their test results came positive, the two placed themselves under self-quarantine. The authorities have decided to conduct tests on their family members as well.
Meanwhile, Abrarul Haq, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader, popular singer and chairman of Pakistan Red Crescent Society, also tested positive for coronavirus and is currently in self-quarantine.