Monday May 03, 2021
Sindh continues to report a steady increase in coronavirus cases daily. But this hasn't affected Eid shopping, especially in Karachi.
From 247 coronavirus cases reported on March 31 to 1,178 cases reported on May 1, the COVID-19 positivity has increased to almost five times in Sindh.
The relevant authorities, however, still seem the least bothered about ensuring compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place to curb a spread of the virus.
Hundreds of thousands of people, along with their children, were seen shopping for Eid in a brief survey of shopping centres in Karachi on Tariq Road, in Zainab Market and various other shopping streets in the city.
Hospitalisation of patients with coronavirus has doubled in Karachi within a couple of weeks, Dr Munir Sadiq, associated with the Dr Ruth KM Pfau Civil Hospital, Karachi, was quoted as saying by The News.
Dr Sadiq said that this time, more people are on high- and low-flow oxygen as compared to the previous two waves. "Hospitalisation is continuously on the rise, which indicates that people are the least bothered about the infectious disease.”
The coronavirus positivity has increased almost five times in a month, and now “escape variants” or “variants of concern” are also being detected in Karachi, Dr Sadiq said.
He said the Brazilian, South African and Indian variants of SARS-CoV-2 are not only more virulent and infectious, but also have the ability to cause infection despite vaccination.
“We have seen cases of reinfection among people who were not only vaccinated but had also been infected with the coronavirus once or even twice. We don’t know about the severity of the disease among these people, but this is quite an alarming situation.”
He said the police is supposed to implement SOPs, but most officers do not bother to wear masks themselves.
Dr Sadiq accused the police of protecting restaurants, shopping centres and other businesses in many low- and middle-income areas so they may continue operating in violation of the SOPs.
Sindh health department officials confirmed that at least four hospitals in Karachi — the Infectious Diseases Hospital at Nipa and three leading private hospitals — lack vacant ICU beds with ventilators currently.
An increase in the number of coronavirus patients will sharply increase the occupancy of ICU beds in the coming days, they warned.
Compared to Lahore and other cities of Punjab, compliance with the mandatory rule of wearing masks in public places is negligible in Karachi and other cities of Sindh, says health expert Dr Khurram Niazi.
He said the Sindh government reopened the Expo Centre to tackle the increase in coronavirus cases, but at the same time, no concrete measures are being taken to limit movement of people as they freely mingle and interact without complying with any of the SOPs.
The health expert said people are visiting shopping centres and attending iftar parties and religious ceremonies without taking precautions.
According to the National Command & Operation Centre, hospitalisation of critically-sick patients is constantly on the rise in the country, and out of around 11,000 admitted patients, 5,360 are either on high- or low-flow oxygen or on ventilators.
Experts have been criticising the Sindh government for failing to ensure compliance with the SOPs, especially preventing crowding in restaurants, shopping malls, markets and other bazaars, as well as for allowing careless behaviour at places of worship.