LAHORE                    -              Six more COVID-19 patients breathed their last in the province on Thursday, taking the death toll to 34.  Two patients each died in Lahore and Rawalpindi and one each in Gujrat and Toba Tek Singh.

So far 14 patients have died in Lahore, nine in Rawalpindi, three in Multan, two each in Rahim Yar Khan and Gujrat and one each in Bahawalpur, Jhelum, Faisalabad and Toba Tek Singh.

As per Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid, 13 COVID-19 patients are in a critical condition. “As many as 650 patients have so far recovered from coronavirus. They have been discharged after testing negative for the virus,” she said.

The minister said that out of more than 46,000 suspected patients screened so far, 3,259 had been tested positive for the disease.

She said that the department would soon start community level screening.

She said that more than 10,000 tests would be performed daily in muhallahs and localities.

As many as 216 new COVID-19 patients were reported from across the province on Thursday.

From amongst new patients, 145 are members of Tableeghi Jamat. Five more healthcare providers including three doctors and two nurses at Punjab Institute of Cardiology have also been tested positive for the virus. They were shifted to isolation ward of Services Institute of Medical Sciences. As per Young Doctors Association, so far more than 100 healthcare providers in the province have been affected while treating patients.

The young doctors, nurses and paramedics, under the banner of Grand Health Alliance, staged a sit-in and hunger strike camp outside the office of Secretary Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education (SCH&ME) on Thursday against government’s incompetence to make arrangements like personal protective equipment (PPEs) to protect the medical staff from contracting the virus. However, they assured that the healthcare services in hospitals to patients in general and COVID19 patients in particular will continue without any interruption. They also demanded to grant status of a martyr to staff nurse, Sadaf Jameel, who laid down her life while providing treatment to the coronavirus patients in Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Hospital in Gujrat.

Out of total confirmed COVID-19 patients, 1236 are preachers of Tableeghi Jamat, 701 pilgrims who recently returned from Iran, 91 prisoners in five districts and 1204 citizens who either had travel history or fell victim to local transmission.

Of the 1236 confirmed COVID-19 preachers, 577 are at quarantine centre at Raiwind, 108 in Multan, 64 in Sargodha, 61 in Bhakar, 52 in Muzafargarh, 45 in Rahim Yar Khan, 41 in Jhelum, 37 in Vehari, 35 in Hafizabad, 31 in Layya, 19 each in Sialkot and Narowal, 17 in Mandi Bahauddin, 16 in Rawalpindi, 15 in Narowal, 14 in Gujrat, 13 in Bahawalnagar, 12 in Sheikhupura, 10 in Gujranwala, nine in Rajanpur, eight in Faisalabad, seven each in Mianwali and Sahiwal, two each in Nankana Sahib and Khushab.

Out of 701 confirmed patients from amongst pilgrims, 457 are at quarantine centre in Multan, 221 in Dera Ghazi Khan and 23 in Faisalabad.

So far 1204 citizens have also been tested positive for the virus from across the province. These people either have a travel history or they got infected through local transmission.

The highest number of cases has been reported from Lahore where 522 patients are under treatment at different centres.

As many as 142 patients are under treatment in Gujrat, 136 in Rawalpindi, 50 in Gujranwala, 42 in Rahim Yar Khan, 36 in Faisalabad, 35 in Vehari, 33 in Jhelum, 31 in Sialkot, 23 in Multan, 19 in DG Khan,  17 in Nankana Sahib, 14 in Sargodha, 12 each in Hafizabad and Mandi Bahauddin, 11 Mianwali, 10 in Sheikhupura, nine in Kasur, eight each in Bahawalnagar and Chiniot, six in Bahawalpur, four each in Chakwal and Khushab, three in  Lodhran, two each in Toba Tek Singh and Khanewal and one each in Attock, Pakpattan, Layyah, Okara and Jhang.

Out of 91 COVID-19 patients in Jails, 59 were reported from Lahore, 14 Sialkot, nine DG Khan, seven Gujranwala and two from Bhakkar.

As many as 37 prisoners at isolation centre at Camp Jail have been recovered from the virus. These have been shifted back to their cells.

Punjab Health Department has forwarded SOPs for handling of COVID19 patients and saving other prisoners in jails to the Home Department.

As per spokesperson, serious patients are under treatment at High Dependency Units and those with normal or mild symptoms at quarantine centres and isolation wards of public sector hospitals. He urged people to stay at home, frequently wash hands and use hand sanitizer. He advised social distancing and adopting precautionary measures while attending sick family members.