Nose swab paramedic pakistan
A paramedic wearing protective gloves takes a nose-swab sample to be tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Karachi, Pakistan July 6, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: Pakistan on Monday reported a total of 231,818 coronavirus cases, while the number of recoveries from the virus stood at 131,649. In the last 24 hours, 3,344 new cases surfaced while 50 deaths in the same period took the overall death toll to 4,762.

The provincial government of Punjab has announced special allowance and ‘Martyrdom’ (in case of death) package for the workers of the Rescue Force 1122 taking part in rescue operations during the pandemic across the province.

All the emergency services workers and officers performing coronavirus duty are entitled to one-month additional pay with effect from April 1, 2020, and they will continue to receive this allowance until complete elimination of coronavirus, a notification issued on Monday said.

In case of death, the rescue workers up to Grade 16 would receive Rs4 million (Dh 88,380) and Grade 17 and above Rs8 million, the notification further stated.

Doctors resign en masse

Meanwhile, the Punjab government’s efforts to contain and combat coronavirus received a big jolt due to en masse resignations of 88 doctors from various hospitals of the province.

The doctors reportedly resigned over increasing number of instances where doctors at isolation centres contracted the virus and lost their lives. They include Medical Officers (MOs), Women Medical Officers (WMOs) and demonstrators. According to the provincial health department’s notification dated June 27, 2020, resignations of 48 doctors were accepted. Earlier, the department accepted resignations of 40, 27 and 13 doctors through separate notifications. 
Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasim Rasheed dispelled the impression that these doctors tendered their resignations due to the prevailing scenario over the coronavirus pandemic.

The minister said these doctors were working on contracts and it was routine practice that every month, some doctors on contract resign upon finding better opportunities, adding that it had nothing to do with their fears of coronavirus.

WHO recognises Pakistan’s anti-coronavirus efforts

Meanwhile, the Director General (DG) of World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom, has hailed Pakistan’s efforts to fight COVID-19. In a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Imran Khan, the WHO chief said it was quite encouraging to see how the Pakistan government, even with its limited resources, has controlled the virus to a significant level.

Because of the coordinated efforts of the federal and provincial governments and the health and emergency departments across the country, the number of active cases in Pakistan has dropped to 43 per cent and the WHO chief acknowledged that achievement.

Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Special Initiative and Chairman of the National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC), tweeted that while the WHO chief recognised Pakistan’s efforts to contain COVID-19, PM Khan had asked WHO to frame travel guidelines to be adopted by all countries and ensure that financially weaker countries are not discriminated against in global travel.