Covid-19 cases slowly coming down from plateau in Punjab, says Dr Yasmin

LAHORE: Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid has informed that the Covid-19 cases going down in the province due to smart lockdown in hotspot areas.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore on Sunday, the health minister said that in the last 24 hours 696 positive cases of coronavirus and 22 deaths reported in the province.

The number of people going home from hospitals after recovering from the COVID-19 has increased. “People being admitted to hospitals are fewer than the number of patients being discharged”, she said.

Giving details about the occupancy rates of beds, the minister said in Multan 67 percent, Lahore 38 percent and in Rawalpindi 16 pct beds have been occupied.

Only three districts in the province, Multan, Rahim Yar Khan and Khanewal, have positive cases rate higher than five percent, the minister said. Lahore, which was earlier considered a coronavirus hotspot, having a positive case rate reduced to 1.5 percent, the minister said.

Rashid said there had also been a “marked reduction” in the bed occupancy of high dependency units (HDUs). Giving a breakdown of the rates, she said it was 54pc in Multan while in the rest of the province, it was below 40pc.

Terming the latest occupancy rates as “welcome news”, she cited strict implementation of coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs) and the week-long lockdown before Eidul Fitr for the improved situation.

Only six areas in Multan with a population of 736 people were currently under smart lockdown, she said. All non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) decided by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) would remain in place, she added.

These include a ban on all commercial activities after 8 pm, observing Saturdays and Sundays as safe days, ban on indoor weddings while outdoor weddings can be held with 150 guests, ban on indoor dining while outdoor dining and takeaway is allowed, public transport operating at 50pc capacity and a complete ban on sports.

Rashid said the provincial government was reopening swimming pools while tourism has also been reopened subject to SOPs. The NCOC would take a decision on reopening cinemas and theatres next week, she added.

On the other hand, Pakistan has reported 56 deaths in the last 24 hours by novel coronavirus as the number of positive cases has surged to 918,936. The nationwide tally of fatalities has jumped to 20,736.

According to the latest figures by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 2,697 persons tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

Punjab remains the worst-hit province in terms of deaths and cases followed by Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Till now 9,982 individuals have lost their lives to the epidemic in Punjab 5,014 in Sindh, 4,060 in KP, 757 in Islamabad, 540 in Azad Kashmir, 276 in Balochistan, and 107 in GB.