Thursday Apr 29 2021

Peshawar hospitals reaching capacity, people must follow COVID-19 SOPs, warn doctors

Akin to the rest of the country, the third wave of the coronavirus is proving to be more dangerous in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as compared to the first and second waves. 

Everyone — including men, women, children, and the elderly — are equally being affected by the pandemic right now. Owing to the growing number of cases, coronavirus wards of different public hospitals are reaching capacity at a rapid pace. 

Doctors, therefore, urge people to take all necessary precautions against the virus.

At present, the ratio of coronavirus positivity in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has reached 11%. According to health experts, the British strain of the virus has also been found in the province, which is also spreading fast.

British variant of the virus

Medical experts say that unlike the first and second wave of the pandemic, when the virus only affected people's lungs, the British variant of the virus is now affecting other organs of the body too in addition to increased weakness.

Speaking to Geo News, Dr Nisar Ahmad Jadoon, a pulmonologist at the Khyber Teaching Hospital confirmed: "During the first and second waves [of the pandemic], the coronavirus was usually affecting the lungs alone. But during the third wave, the virus is also damaging patients' kidneys, intestines, and other organs."

"In some cases, the virus is also affecting people's skins," he said.

Continual violation of SOPs

Dr Jadoon stressed that if people do not strictly adhere to the government's mandated coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs), the situation will take a turn for the worse. 

"Most people, who frequent markets of the city, are neither wearing masks nor taking care of social distancing," Dr Jadoon said. 

According to police, during inspections of different areas of Peshawar, several plazas have been sealed due to the violation of the SOPs, and cases have been registered against the owners of the plazas.

Hospitals reaching capacity

Three major hospitals of the city — including the Lady Reading Hospital —have almost reached capacity. According to hospital staffers, 90 per cent of the beds in coronavirus wards have been occupied. 

Arrangements are being made for a continuous supply of oxygen in various hospitals in the province, but doctors fear that non-implementation of precautionary measures could worsen the situation.

Dr Asad, who is currently serving at the coronavirus ward of the Khyber Teaching Hospital, told Geo News that [considering how lightly people are taking the situation] things can quickly worsen if people don't take precautionary measures against the virus. 

"Doctors and paramedical staff are risking their own lives every day to fight the pandemic and save people from this deadly disease," Dr Asad lamented. "But the careless attitude of the masses is disappointing and discouraging."

'Pakistan could face India-like situation if SOPs not followed'

Citing the example of India — where 3,645 deaths were reported over the last 24 hours, while confirmed new cases hit a new global record with more than 379,000 — Dr Asad said that the situation worsened there because people took the pandemic lightly and did not pay heed to the coronavirus safety protocols. 

"As you can see, coronavirus patients are [dying outside hospitals] as they are unable to receive oxygen therapy, while hospitals have run out of beds," he said. "If people in Pakistan don't follow the SOPs strictly, a similar situation could arise here."

Dr Asad warned that people should avoid going to crowded places, use masks at all times when out of their homes, even if they have been vaccinated, and take care of social distance so that the deadly virus can be kept at bay.