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A resident wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, walks past a banner at a coronavirus registration and screening counter at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital in Islamabad on March 19, 2020. Image Credit: AFP

Islamabad: Risking their lives amid the coronavirus outbreak, doctors and paramedics in Pakistan’s various isolation units and wards reserved for coronavirus patients are waging an epic battle.

They are doing this despite the fact that not all of them have received adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like specialised uniforms, masks and other protective equipment.

Talking to Gulf News, Dr Salman Haseeb, President of the Young Doctors Punjab, said the number of coronavirus patients was rising steadily in the province.

At present, the Punjab government has declared the number of confirmed cases at 96 and seeing the gravity of the situation the young doctors are working round the clock.

“However, our concern is that not all the hospitals or isolation units of Punjab where coronavirus patients are being treated have the PPE to treat corona patients and there are risks they might contract the virus from patients they are treating,” he said.

Lack of PPE has landed 12 doctors in isolation wards of Punjab hospitals, said Dr Salman breaking the number further down to six doctors isolated in Mayo Hospital Lahore, three in Service Hospital Lahore and three in DG Khan’s district hospital.

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He said despite the fact that the situation is not ideal for doctors to work at hospitals particularly, in the isolation units, doctors’ moral is high and there is no break in their work.

Besides Punjab, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) three doctors are quarantined after coming into contact with coronavirus patients — in Mardan and Peshawar — as four new cases have been confirmed in the province taking the tally to 23. A pathologist, who handled laboratory test of a positive patient, was diagnosed negative while the other two consultant physicians, including a lady doctor, were quarantined for treating a patient, who died of COVID-2019 in Mardan Thursday night.

In Sindh too, 10 doctors have been isolated in the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for coming into contact with coronavirus patients. The doctors have been advised to self-isolate at their homes in a bid to contain the virus. As per details, the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital administration directed these doctors to go into isolation after it was suspected that they had contracted the coronavirus

The virus has affected 238 people in Sindh and 467 all over Pakistan, and has left three dead. The medical facility’s administration said the doctors in isolation have been referred to undergo the screening process following which they will have to take further tests.

In Islamabad too, a doctor has been put in quarantine as the number of confirmed patients in the federal capital is two.