LAHORE - The Young Doctors Association (YDA), Punjab, has expressed concern over dearth of health facilities for COVID19 patients in hospitals of Punjab while coronavirus curve continues upward trajectory in the province.

Addressing a press conference on Saturday, YDA, Punjab chapter President Dr Salman Haseeb Chaudhry confirmed that dedicated COVID19 beds and ventilators had filled to the capacity. “While we wish to support Prime Minister Imran Khan’s slogan of “not to panic”, but the government had not done anything to assist public in this regard,” he said, adding that the people in Punjab and all over Pakistan were not taking coronavirus seriously.

He said that initially, the people followed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which helped prevent rapid spread of virus, but government’s consistently changing policies confused people and hence they stopped following SOPs.

He informed that Actemra – interleukin-6 inhibitor with generic name of Tocilizumab – an immune-suppressant, seems to give positive result in the treatment of serious Covid-19 patients, but the medicine had not been supplied in hospitals for the last one week. Besides, he said that the plasma therapy had also shown positive result, but government lacked any effective policy in this regard too.

He said that the morale of healthcare providers had hit the rock bottom after 2,500 doctors, nurses and paramedics contracted the virus and 34 of them succumbed to the disease. He said that at least 40 percent tests had been confirmed positive during testing of the medical personnel in hospitals. "When soldiers are wounded they have exclusive hospitals for treatment, but the medical professionals have no separate facility for treatment," he lamented.

He said that the status of all doctors and government employees in hospitals would be converted to private with a single stroke of pen after implementation of Medical Teaching Institutions (Reforms) Act 2019. “The government wants to implement MTI Act in the cover of coronavirus crisis in the country,” he added.