LAHORE - Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said here on Tuesday that the number of confirmed patients in Punjab is 27,850 and in the last 24 hours 1610 people tested Covid-19 positive. A total of 7,116 people have recovered, 540 people have lost their lives which include 43 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Addressing a press conference at the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, Punjab Health Minister said that overall Punjab has conducted 245,544 tests with 6,371 tests in the last 24 hours. Lahore is the worst affected district with 12,878 patients. Rawalpindi has 2,255 patients, Gujranwala 1,435, Multan 1,220 and Faisalabad has 1,662 confirm patients. Punjab has conducted the highest number of contact tracing with 90,871 tests. Due to Contact Tracing, 4887 more patients have been identified in Punjab.

Present in the press conference were Special Secretary Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Ajmal Bhatti and CEO Mayo Hospital Professor Asad Aslam Khan. The Minister said that as per guidelines of the World Health Organizations, the Contract Tracing has been intensified which will help control the spread of the virus. She said a lot of rumours about facilities and resources in the govt sector hospitals are being spread. The latest figures are that Lahore has 119, Rawapindi has 113, Faisalabad 16 and Muzaffargarh has 3 critically ill patients. Over all 251 patients are in serious condition.

7116 recovered patients returned to their homes

She said, “As per directions of the Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, the data of patients is daily reviewed at the Corona Command and Control Center. The number of available beds in Lahore is 539 currently and confirmed and critically ill patients are kept in hospitals. The Cabinet Committee on Corona advised the department to conduct tests in general population and the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department constituted Technical Working Group to start smart sampling in entire Punjab with special focus on Lahore. In order to conduct the smart sampling, People Institute for Global Health University, Center for Economic Research in Pakistan, Mahboobul Haq Center for Economic Research LUMS, Center for International Development Harvard University, London School of Economics Universities from Georgetown and Washington jointly worked with the Govt of the Punjab. The researchers were asked to share a report by 28th April which said that out of 35,000 samples in Punjab, as many as 21,000 samples were taken from Lahore and an amount of Rs. 6 Crore was spent on the process.

She further said, “The sample results showed a ratio of 5.8 % positive patients in Lahore due to which the treatment facilities have been scaled up in Lahore. The number in the rest of the Punjab, however, is less than expected. The report shared by the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department identified over 50 years of age group as the most vulnerable. “Due to our financial situation, we cannot implement a lockdown forever and we will have to observe precautionary measures to control the pandemic.” Another research identified that by wearing masks, the transmission can be controlled by around 40 %.

“We are starting a mass awareness campaign in Punjab on the Corona Pandemic. Due to carelessness of the people, we have already seen an increase in the number of cases recently.”  “The Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has also requested people to take the necessary precautions. The world is facing a financial crisis and a number of airlines have gone bankrupt. We are extremely grateful to the philanthropists who have come to help the needy at this moment of trial.”

Responding to the queries of journalists, the minister said that doctors, nurses and paramedics serving in corona wards work for six hours a week and then they are given a leave of 15 days. The treatment of patients is immediately started once a patient is admitted to the hospital. She also said that the patients who show symptoms must immediately call the helpline instead of waiting at home. Punjab has currently 1450 ventilators which are used for critically ill patients and no patient is refused any treatment or other facilities. The research on corona virus is underway in the entire world but no one can give an exact date for a breakthrough or treatment. “ The decision of smart lockdown was made in view of the financial cost on the country. We hope that we will overcome this pandemic.”