ISLAMABAD          -           The public awareness campaign launched by government on Coronavirus (COVID-19) has created a low impact at grassroots level causing sufferings for large number of people visiting hospitals.

Awais Ahmed was standing in queue for half an hour for COVID-19 test at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS).

The hospital has converted the new emergency of PIMS into COVID-19 centre where dozens of citizens daily reach for the test. Despite the fact that government has announced parameters for the examination of COVID-19, a large number of people still seem unaware of it.

Awais said that he was resident of the G-8 sector and student of a private university and decided to come for COVID-19 test as he was suffering from flue.

“I just want to clear my doubt,” he said.  Awais said that he did not have a travel history and wanted to get examined at normal Outdoor Patient Department (OPD) but he wanted to get out of the fear of COVID-19 as well.

He also viewed that citizens voluntarily visiting hospital for COVID-19 are facing misbehaviours of the hospital staff. He said that instead of informing the people at hospitals, doctors and staff prefers not examining them.

“It feels there is confusion in public and hospital staff about COVID-19 treatment,” Awais said.

The PIMS hospitals has allocated a 10-bed isolation ward for COVID-19 patients and was receiving suspects regularly, however, it had remained unsuccessful in giving clear directions for voluntarily visiting citizens.

PIMS Media Coordinator Dr. Waseem Khawaja said that number of people visiting hospital for COVD-19 test has reached 500 daily.

“Indeed all of them do not fulfil the parameters of COVID-19 suspect but increase the rush on hospital,” he said.

Dr. Waseem said that hospital has limited medical equipment for examining the patients and it cannot unnecessary use it. He said that COVID-19 patients have been categorised into four sections including green, yellow, orange, and red.

Suspects at green, yellow, and orange stages are treated at home and those only with high symptoms are admitted in hospital.

Senior staff at PIMS Sadia said that ‘misbehaviour’ with COVID-19 suspects or citizens visiting for test is not a complete picture.

“There is lack of awareness in people about COVID-19 in public,” she said.

She added that people instead of focusing on preventive measures are rushing for tests in hospital which is not much required. 

According to her, hospital staff itself is facing shortage of Personal Protection Equipment and increased load of COVID-19 patients has increased burden on them as well.

PIMS Media Coordinator Dr. Waseem said that government needs to launch more effective awareness in public campaign to reduce load of unnecessary COVID-19 patients on hospitals.