PESHAWAR: The toll of infected persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from coronavirus has mounted to 78 with emergence of 40 new cases on Tuesday.

“40 new cases have been confirmed in KP, more than doubling our tally to 78. Please note that 37 of these cases came from Zaireen who were recently received. 3 new cases emerged from the province keeping in line with the general trend of the province,” said a tweet of the KP Health Department.

School holidays extended to April 05

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has extended school holidays in the province till April 05.

The KP government made this announcement through a notification on Tuesday. Earlier, the KP government had announced the closure of schools till March 31 owing to precautionary measures to avoid the spread of coronavirus. The federal government had announced holidays till April 05 and it was expected that the KP government will also extend the holidays till this date.

The KP government has taken action against several private schools for violating the government directions. Some private schools reportedly called teachers for duty despite holidays, due to which the government raided these schools and took disciplinary action.

Countrywide toll reaches 918

The countrywide toll of infections has reached 918.

Sindh remains the most affected province with 407 cases, followed by Punjab with 267 cases, Balochistan with 110 cases, Gilgit-Baltistan with 80 cases, Islamabad Capital Territory with 15 cases and AJK with one case.

So far, seven persons have died from coronavirus in Pakistan with three deaths from KP, and one each from Punjab, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan.

‘Health staff badly exposed to coronavirus’

Dr. Javeria Hayat Khan, working in DHQ Hospital, Kohat, has made an appeal through an open letter drastic measures must be taken to protect the health staff from coronavirus..

She wrote: “Here, I have been covering casualty Emergency for consecutive days in the last two weeks. I have been exposed to all sorts of patients including of elective and habitual nature who are visiting hospitals frequently for IV infusions and mostly fabricate their symptoms.

This bulk we receive in ER in DHQ and LMH Kohat is from Orakzai, Hangu, Parachinar, Kurram in which most patients have a contact or travel history from Taftan, Gulf, Saudi Arabia and other global Red Zones.

We have been receiving patients and attendants in hordes who are bringing their kids and other family members along. Despite trying to limit and counselling, they don’t understand the gravity of the situation we all are in and take the situation lightly. The elective cases we deal with are admitted and escorted by tons of attendants moving in and out of wards, labs, corridors making the health staff very vulnerable to transmission.

I want to draw your kind attention to this unnecessary exposure and request you to immediately suspend all elective OPD services in the province to help prevent and control the global pandemic crisis before our system collapses like one of the very modern health systems like Italy, UK, and Iran etc. with heaps of corpses lying on roads and no one touching them for burial for fear of contamination.

I request you to seal Taftan border (if it’s still accessible) and other such porous borders immediately as in Pakistan, with the current health care deficient backup, we won’t be able to combat the ugly situation should it start to exponentially grow God forbid. Already we know the shabby numbers of only 200 functional ventilators against a population of 2.5 core in the KP province.

We the YDA KP, have started to order and make customized PPEs and sanitizers to help our community and any help extended in this regard will be much appreciated.

Our young doctors have volunteered for Telemedicine and Covid-19 Hipline, and come forward to extend any services for nation in this crisis.

Please pay heed to a proper lockdown of all elective services and unnecessary labs and investigation to minimise influx at the hospitals that are the major sources of infections to not only health staff but also the community. Only Emergency should be allowed to run.

A Triage counter where an Emergency Task Force with complete protection should be posted preferably outside Hospital where they must work in shifts of 6 hours. Nontouch infrared thermal thermometers should be provided  and  proper disinfection protocol practices 12 hourly at counter should be immediately established at entry points of all hospitals. Security personnel must be posted to ensure smooth process.

Together we can curb this menace.”