KARACHI - A mob of around 70 people attacked doctors and staff at the emergency ward in Civil Hospital, Karachi on Friday night.

The attack was carried out after one of the attacker’s relative died of COVID-19 and the hospital refused to hand over the body without proper protocols.

This was the third incident of its kind at the hospital and long in a line of increasing incidents of violence against medical workers during the epidemic in Pakistan.

Relatives of the deceased COVID-19 patient, who had been brought to the hospital in a deteriorating state, turned violent after the patient passed away. They stormed the ER and took the body from the hospital without following any of the SOPs for COVID-19 deaths, confirmed CHK Medical Superintendent Dr Khadim Qureshi.

An FIR was lodged against the attackers on Saturday. Following the incident, young doctors at the hospital protested for their security. They closed down OPDs and demanded the Sindh government provide them proper protection.

Head of Healthcare in Danger Initiative at the International Committee of the Red Cross Dr Mirwais Khan said COVID-19 had already overburdened a thinly stretched healthcare system.

“It’s about time we realise health workers are people and they don’t need to accept this violence as part of their duty. It is also important to treat COVID-19 patients and their families with kindness. The stigma attached to COVID-19 diagnosis needs to be erased so families can bring in patients before the end stages of the disease.”

Earlier in the month, Karachi’s Jinnah hospital had also witnessed two such incidents after COVID-19 patients passed away. Doctors at Patel Hospital say they’ve been witnessing such violence from attendants regularly ever since the pandemic began.

The Sindh Government had then changed the SOPs for the burial of COVID-19 patients. The new guidelines allowed the deceased’s family to take the body after washing and shrouding had been carried out by trained health personnel.

A 2019 study by the ICRC across 16 cities in three provinces of Pakistan found that 49.2% of the total healthcare workers surveyed had either experienced and/or witnessed some kind of violence and more than one-third (38.5%) reported having experienced some form of violence in the last six months.

Journalist tests

positive for coronA again

Senior Reporter of a private news channel, Abdul Hameed Soomro, has tested coronavirus positive again after staying 14 days in isolation here on Saturday. The Senior Reporter had previously gone into self-isolation and later on in an isolation at a hospital after testing positive for coronavirus.

The journalist has tested positive once more for the novel coronavirus and has appealed to friends, relatives and the people to pray for his fast recovery.

PTI ministers fall prey to PPP phobia, says Dharejo

Provincial Minister for Industries and Commerce & Cooperative Department Ikramullah Dharejo has said that the ministers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government have fallen prey to PPP phobia and the bulk of the federal ministers had been assigned for making statements against the opposition, while they should draw the attention of their government on coronavirus and locusts and come up with an effective strategy to control them.

He said in a statement that the PPP government was fighting the coronavirus in Sindh on the instructions of its party leadership and was taking all possible steps to prevent it. However, the spread of coronavirus at the local level was dangerous. These dangers had already been pointed out by the Sindh Chief Minister.

Dharejo recalled, “Quaid-e-Awam Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto defeated his opponents and made Pakistan a nuclear power which was a historical fact.” Dharejo criticized the poor performance of the federal government, saying that this was the difference between an elected and selected Prime Minister.

He said, “The PPP-elected Prime Minister had kept his promises to the people and sacrificed his precious life while the present Prime Minister was known only for his U-turn.” He said that no one could take the love of the Bhutto family out of the hearts of the people of Pakistan.

The nation knew well that who were behind the present federal government. PPP was a reality of Pakistani politics.

The nation was well aware of the fabrications of unwarranted critics, he said.

“Those who are black spots in Pakistani politics are criticizing the PPP leadership and the present federal government has not fulfilled a single promise made to the people. It seems as if the selected government does not care about the country and the people. It believes in revenge, which is unfortunate,” he concluded..