Pakistan vaccine
A doctor receives a dose of the Chinese-made Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, at a vaccination centre in Lahore on February 3, 2021. Image Credit: AFP

Islamabad: The Punjab government has decided to use police and district administrators to strictly enforce COVID-19 restrictions in high-risk districts of the province.

These districts include Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan, Khanewal, Mianwali, Sargodha, Khushab, Sheikhupura, Bahawalpur, Gujranwala, Rahim Yar Khan, Gujrat, Sialkot and Bhakkar.

According to the Punjab government spokesperson, the measure aims at containing the spread of COVID-19 in the province.

Directions have been issued to all divisional commissioners and Regional Police Officers (RPOs) in this regard.

The confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Punjab climbed to 400,000 on Sunday after 738 new cases reported in the last 24 hours.

The NCOC data showed there were 401,373 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the province while after 26 deaths in the past 24 hours the province’s COVID-19 toll stands at 12,039.

In view of the surge in cases and in line with the guidelines of the NCOC, a meeting chaired by Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid and the chief secretary reviewed the pandemic situation, health facilities for patients and vaccination targets.

Addressing the meeting, Dr Yasmin Rashid said implementation of SOPs was essential to curb the spread of corona.

She said the next 15 to 20 days were crucial in controlling the fourth wave of the pandemic.

Around 88 per cent of coronavirus patients admitted to hospitals were unvaccinated, she said, adding the spread of the virus could be prevented only through vaccination and precautionary measures.

Elective surgeries re-scheduled in Sindh, Punjab and Islamabad

The Sindh health department has rescheduled surgeries in major public hospitals because of COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier, the Punjab government, too, suspended elective surgeries in four teaching hospitals----three in Lahore and one in Multan.

According to a notification issued by the Punjab health department, the decision was taken in the light of the recommendations forwarded by the Corona Experts Advisory Group (CEAG).

The hospitals are: Lahore General Hospital, Mayo Hospital, Jinnah Hospital and Nishtar Hospital, Multan.

The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad has already suspended elective surgeries in view of the increasing number of COVID-19 patients.

A document signed by a senior director of the hospital says: “Due to heavy load of COVID-19 patients in the fourth wave, the services of all elective/planned surgeries and operative procedures are hereby suspended except emergency surgeries only.”

In Sindh, a day earlier, a two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Sheikh had taken up a set of identical petitions against the non-provision of treatment to general patients at the government and private health facilities for hearing.

In the previous hearing, the SHC sought a comprehensive report about the status of operation theatres of government hospitals in Sindh.

61 deaths, 3,747 cases in 24 hours

Pakistan on Sunday reported 61 deaths and 3,747 new cases of COVID-19 during the past 24 hours registering positivity of 6.47 per cent positivity rate.

According to the NCOC, 57,908 tests for COVID-19 were conducted in the last 24 hours while there are 92,249 active cases of COVID-19 in the country.