PESHAWAR - While 18 more people died of coro­navirus on Thursday in Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa, healthcare providers have urged the government to provide ox­ygen cylinders and other necessary items to hospitals in KP to save the lives of corona patients.

With fresh casualties, the death toll from the virus has reached 773 in the province, where 569 new cases were also reported bringing the total num­ber of positive cases to 20,182.

Speaking to The Nation, Provin­cial Doctors Association (PDA) presi­dent Dr Ameer Taj Khan said that on the one hand, SOPs were being violat­ed even in hospitals while on the oth­er, even the oxygen cylinders were not available in the district hospitals.

“PTI has been ruling the province for the last seven years, during which the pop­ulation has been increased but the hos­pital infrastructure witnessed little im­provement. He said the corona epidemic aggravated the situation and proved to be an extra burden on hospitals. He claimed that the district hospitals of KP lacked fa­cilities to treat COVID-19 patients.

“Almost 90 percent coronavirus pa­tients can recover with just oxygen supply while lying on ventilators or even in their homes, but due to lack of oxygen, people from such periphery areas approach big hospitals in Pesha­war, which have also run out of space now,” he claimed.

He said that government has also failed to control the prices of the co­rona related products. “An oxygen cyl­inder was worth Rs 500 but now its price has jumped to Rs 5000 to Rs 10,000. A CPAP machine used for ox­ygen supply used to cost Rs 90000 but now its price has reached up to Rs 500,000, and a N-95 mask that was available for Rs 200 is now being sold at Rs 1200,” he added.

Of 18 fresh deaths in KP on Thurs­day, Peshawar reported 5, Swat 3, two each from Karak and Malakand, and one each from Swabi, Dir Lower, Dir Upper, Haripur, Batgram and Bajaur.

With the five latest fatalities in Pe­shawar, the number of deaths caused by the viral infection has reached 380, the highest number of people died of the infectious disease in any district of the province.Swat with 76 fatalities is second to Peshawar in terms of deaths caused by the fatal virus.