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Monday May 04 2020
Web Desk

Pakistani doctors most affected by coronavirus among healthcare workers: WHO report

Web Desk
The logo of the World Health Organization (WHO) in its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/Files

KARACHI: Pakistani doctors have emerged as the most-affected ones by coronavirus among their healthcare peers, including paramedics and nurses, according to a May 4 situation report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Of the 509 healthcare workers affected by the novel coronavirus, there were 263 doctors (52%), 171 paramedics (33%), and 75 nurses (15%). In total, they form almost 2.5% of Pakistan's almost 21,000 COVID-19 cases.

Some 2,663 contacts of the healthcare workers were identified, according to the WHO, and 2,499 of them were tested for the virus. Of those who were tested, 194 were diagnosed as positive and the results of 234 were awaited.

On the other hand, 1,607 of the contacts were in quarantine; it was not clear if they were in the isolation facilities or quarantined at their respective homes.

The report also identified other important points of the coronavirus crisis in Pakistan, where almost 5,600 people have recovered cumulatively so far.

Daily cases above 800 since April 28

Some 173, or 4.5%, of the 3,839 confirmed cases currently in hospitals were in critical condition. More than 10,000 were in self-isolation.

The WHO report highlighted that since April 28, the number of COVID-19 cases reported each day across Pakistan had risen to more than 800.

Density-wise, the highest was observed in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), followed by Gilgit-Baltistan and Sindh, at 207 cases, 190 cases, and 156 cases per million people, respectively.

In terms of lab tests, the report indicated that there was an uptrend, with ICT leading at 6,331 tests per million people. The GB region was second at 2,312 tests per million people and Sindh third at 1,338 tests per million people.

Pakistan has carried out 212,511 coronavirus tests to date.

Further, the highest district-wise concentration of cases was reported in Karachi (24%), Lahore (23%), and Peshawar (6%).

WHO pledges equipment support to Sindh 

According to the report, the WHO's representative in Pakistan, Dr Palitha Mahipala, and Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho held a teleconference to discuss the coronavirus situation, as well as the response, in the province.

The two discussed "contact tracing, social distances and messages, IPC, case management of pediatric patients, field isolation vs home isolation, [and] increasing incidence of positive environmental sample".

Karachi, Dr Pechuho informed the WHO official, had 1,200 beds for field isolation while "all other districts of Sindh province [have] been advised to establish at least 200-bed as isolation unit per district in addition to having HDU at the hospitals".

Dr Mahipala, in turn, pledged support to Sindh with "PCR testing machines for COVID-19, lab-quality assurance, strengthening of IPC, and support training of pediatricians on COVID-19 case management".

The support was sourced from the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), the WHO official added.