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A fumigation drive underway in the Lyari neighbourhood of Karachi. Image Credit: REUTERS

Islamabad: Pakistan country is facing a potential threat from dengue virus, particularly in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Islamabad where new cases are emerging almost on a daily basis.

According to Punjab’s Primary & Secondary Health Department (P&SHD), the province’s tally of dengue cases, after 169 cases reported in the last 24 hours, has reached to 3,975 since January 1, 2021.

Of the 169 dengue cases, 124 have been reported in Lahore alone. The province’s toll due to the virus so far is a relatively small number i.e. 4 while according to the P&SHD 79,388 outdoor and 301,018 indoor surveillance activities have been carried out to eliminate dengue larva and generate awareness among the masses. They include fumigation in thickly populated areas and spreading awareness and free testing.

The dengue surveillance network, according to the Punjab P&SHD, has been extended to all districts of the province and dengue counters have been set up to receive cases and guide people in this regard. At these counters, a free testing facility is available and those testing positive will be admitted to hospitals, said a senior official of the Punjab health department.

The provincial government has also opened a 280-bed dengue field hospital at Expo Centre in the provincial capital to deal with the increasing number of dengue patients.

Doctors from different hospitals of the city have been deputed on rotation basis at the field hospital. Dr Asad Aslam Khan has been made the focal person for the field hospital.

Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid has inaugurated the hospital and visited various units to see the arrangements made to deal with dengue patients.

Yasmin Rashid said the field hospital had sufficient oxygen and medicine supplies and it would remain functional round-the-clock and a complete blood count (CBC) test result will be made available within 45 seconds.

Nurses, paramedics and other support staff have been deputed and the hospital is fully equipped, Dr Yasmin further said.

Like Punjab, the federal capital Isamamabd is also caught in the clutches of dengue virus and according to the District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Zaeem Zia, the total number of dengue cases reached 1,229 after 78 new infections reported during the last 24 hours.

The district health teams are actively engaged in destroying the mosquito breeding sites with spray and fumigation, said Dr Zia in a tweet. In another tweet, he said: “Our front-liners against dengue are trying their best to contain the vector and continue to destroy the breeding sites of mosquitoes.

He urged the people to follow SOPs, wear full sleeves, apply mosquito repellents and destroy any wa-ter pools in and around residential areas.

Contrary to the spike in dengue cases in the country, COVID-19 cases continue a downward streak, with 1,004 cases reported after 43,389 tests conducted in 24 hours. This shows the coronavirus positivity rate stood at 2.31 per cent on Monday.

According to the National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC), Pakistan’s total number of deaths jumped to 28,134 after 28 fatalities in 24 hours while there is a significant improvement in recovery rate as 1,254 persons recovered in last one day.