Sunday Apr 12, 2020
MULTAN: Dozens of new coronavirus suspects have been admitted at Nishtar Medical Hospital, sources at the city's biggest health centre said Sunday, a few hours after it was reported that 12 doctors and six nurses of the same facility had tested positive for COVID-19.
At least 55 patients, including the aforementioned doctors and nurses, were admitted to the hospital, marking the biggest daily increase in the city. Of them, 47 hail from Multan, six are from Muzaffargarh, and one each is from Layyah and Khanewal.
The new suspected cases include 18 women as well — the largest number reported so far since the virus outbreak in south Punjab.
Of the total new cases, 45 people were either 36 years old or younger.
Six of the men from the Multan district were in the 50-70 age group, whereas 25 were in the 24-36 bracket. All 16 women were under 32, with the youngest being 23.
Four of the five patients from Muzaffargarh were men, all under 40, and one women under 25. The male patient from Khanewal was 45 while the female patient from Layyah was 75.
Earlier in the day, Nishtar Medical University Vice-Chancellor Dr Mustafa Kamal Pasha had said the paramedics were exposed to the virus while treating a patient. “The staff had been treating a patient who had a lung disease," he had said.
"After the patient died, his test came back positive for the virus. We conducted tests of everyone in the ward after the patient passed away,” Pasha had added.
While the government said it was making all efforts to ensure availability of personal protective equipment (PPEs) for the paramedics treating the coronavirus patients, doctors across the country have complained of shortage of protective gear as the number of cases surpassed 5,200.
Speaking to Geo News, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Secretary-General Dr Qaiser Sajjad said the government needed to ensure proper protective gear was given to those dealing with coronavirus patients.
“This is a serious issue if the doctors aren’t protected,” Dr Sajjad said. “The government keeps saying it will only provide protective gear to those working in the intensive care unit.”
“If we do not take precautions, our health system would collapse,” he warned.
“If steps to protect the doctors aren’t taken, they will sit at home,” the PMA official added. “Those doctors sitting at home are not being used by the government. We could face a shortage of health professionals in the coming days,” Dr Sajjad noted.
“More than 50 doctors have contracted the virus and this is only about the ones we know,” he added.
Two doctors died after contracting the virus during treatment of COVID-19 patients, with many more affected due to shortage of protective gear.
Earlier this month, doctors in Balochistan went on strike against the shortage of PPEs and resumed work after assurances from the authorities.
Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa had ordered military officials to dispatch emergency medical supplies to Quetta to meet the requirement.