Teacher children pakistan school temperature check
A teacher checks a student's temperature while another sprays sanitiser on their hands to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as they arrive at school, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, April 19, 2021. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Pakistan’s hospitals are under acute burden of COVID-19 cases given the spike in numbers during the third wave that is described as being faster and deadlier than the first two in the country.

Asad Umar, Head of the National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC) and Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiative, in a tweet cautioned that the coronavirus situation was worsening with more patients arriving in critical care units as compared to the peak time in June 2020.

“There are more than 4,500 critical COVID-19 patients in the country now, 30 per cent higher than the number in June,” said the NCOC head.

“Hospital fill up continuing to grow. Critical care patients are now above 4,500, which is 30 per cent higher than peak in June last year. Oxygen supply capacity in the country is now under stress. SOP compliance remains low. We are making a huge mistake by not following SOPs,” said the tweet.

Low public compliance with SOPs

Asad Umar regretted the people’s indifference to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) compliance and warned in another tweet that the country was recording the worst numbers since the pandemic started.

The minister stated that globally COVID-19 cases were exceeding 750,000 per day and deaths more than 13,000.

We are seeing some of the worst numbers since COVID-19 started and our neighbourhood is in severe crises. Daily deaths in Iran are more than 300 and India more than 1,600. We need safety precautions greater than ever, said the minister in another tweet.

More than 3,000 active cases in a day

According to the official portal of the Ministry of the National Health Services, the active cases in the country have jumped from 79,108 to 82,276 in 24 hours raising concerns of the health authorities over an increase of 3,000 active cases in a day.

According to the official data, after 60,162 tests conducted for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, 5,152 new cases were reported while 73 people succumbed to the virus. The positivity rate remained at 8.56 per cent, data reveals.

With the latest number of cases and deaths, Pakistan’s tally of cases has surged to 761,437, while the death toll stands at 16,316.

Attendance remains low as Punjab starts classes for Grades 9-12

As per the announcement of the Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood a day earlier, the Punjab government on Monday initiated classes for Grade 9-12 with strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place.

A day earlier, the education minister had announced the senior school classes (9-12) would resume in a staggered manner. However, despite following COVID-19 SOPs, the number of students attending classes on Monday remained low and according to a number of schools, this was partly due to the month of Ramadan and partly because of the spike in COVID-19 cases in the province.