Nasal swab health workers pakistan
Health workers take a nasal swab sample during a testing and screening operation for the new coronavirus, in Hyderabad, Pakistan on Friday, June 26, 2020. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Three police officers from Sindh who were infected by COVID-19 died in Karachi on Thursday, a Sindh police spokesman said, with the death toll of officials rising to 16.

The three who succumbed to the virus were Superintendent of Police Shakeel Ahmed, Deputy Superintendent of Police Ahmed Nawaz and an Assistant Sub-Inspector Abdul Rahim-ud-Din.

Shakeel was performing duties as Incharge of Ehsaas Programme Centre, Nawaz was posted at Bilawal House Lahore under Special Security Unit while Rahim-ud-Din was stationed at KESC police station South Zone, Karachi. Shakeel has left behind widow and four children while Nawaz left behind a widow and a son.

Coronavirus recoveries outnumber active cases

The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan is declining while the recovery rate is picking up, rather surpassing the active cases of COVID-19 thus showing signs of improvement in the country.

Pakistan on Friday reported 221,896 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 103,722 active cases, 4,551 deaths and 113,623 recoveries.

In the last twenty-four hours 4,087 new cases and 78 deaths were reported, according to the government statistics.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Friday while addressing a news conference said the overall coronavirus situation was getting better.

With regard to the number of deaths, patients admitted in hospitals, those serious cases on ventilators, we are witnessing improvement and the credit for this goes to the citizens following necessary Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to curb the spread of the virus. “If we continue to adopt precautionary measures, the situation could be much better”, Umar predicted.

“I had earlier warned that our cases could reach 1.2 million by July end if we don’t take action or follow preventive measures. But because people are following precautionary measures and the administration is also taking action this number may be less than 400,000,” he told the media persons.

Situation not good in Sindh, particularly Karachi

The minister however, did not seem impressed with the steps the government of Sindh had taken to check the spread of coronavirus in the province.

The province has failed to show significant progress in this regard, he said. “Sindh is the only one area where we are not seeing that much improvement.”

In Sindh (Pakistan’s southern province with 47.9 million population) at the moment, 89,225 cases of coronavirus and 1,437 deaths have been reported and the province is ahead of even Punjab (a province with more than 100 million population) where coronavirus cases are reported at 78,956 (1,819 deaths).

Weekly review of the situation

The National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC) is taking a weekly review of the situation and in recent days, it has been observed people are more receptive to the SOPs for coronavirus and following them strictly. NCOC had identified twenty hot spots and conveyed to the provinces to take necessary steps for curbing the virus there, said Asad Umar.

Bilawal contradicts Umar’s stance

Chairman of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilwal Bhutto Zardari while responding to Umar’s news conference posted on his Twitter account numbers showing in recoveries from coronavirus Sindh is far better than rest of the country.

“Sindh takes the lead in the number of recoveries. At 46,824, the number of patients having defeated the virus in Sindh is 46,824 — a figure which makes up 46% of the total recoveries across the country,” wrote Zardari on Twitter.