Virus tally hits 2,413 over steady rise

-Death toll surpasses 34
-Punjab, Sindh emerge epicenters
-107 patients fully recovered

By Uzma Zafar

ISLAMABAD: Authorities on Thursday have reported 32 deaths from novel coronavirus while the total number of cases has surged to 2291.
According to details, 914 patients have been tested positive for the epidemic in Punjab, 761 in Sindh, 311 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 187 in Gilgit-Baltistan,169 in Balochistan, 62 in Islamabad and nine in Azad Kashmir. So far, 107 patients have recovered in the country while 9 are in critical condition.
Earlier, it was report that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country climbed to 2,360 on Thursday, after the country added more cases.
According to the national dashboard, deaths were reported in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Islamabad. Thirty-four new cases of the virus were reported in Sindh, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recorded 23 new cases and a death. Gilgit Baltistan reported three, Balochistan five and Islamabad reported four new cases in the province. Punjab which stands at the top, reported 69 new cases to take the provincial tally to 914.
Sindh has reported 743 cases, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 276, Balochistan 169, Islamabad 62, Gilgit Baltistan 187 and Azad Jammu and Kashmir nine cases of the virus.
The country has also reported 33 deaths. 10 deaths have been reported in Sindh, 11 in Punjab, eight in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, three in Gilgit Baltistan and one in Balochistan.
More than 935,000 people have been reported infected by the novel coronavirus across the world and 46,906 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Infections have been reported in more than 200 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
In Pakistan, the number of coronavirus patients is rising rapidly. For a long time, Sindh had the highest number of cases and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah repeatedly said that the province has more positive cases than any other because it is conducting more tests.
However, in the past week, Punjab surged past Sindh, not only in the number of positive cases but also in the total number of tests conducted. Keeping Chief Minister Shah’s premise in view, Punjab’s higher number of positive cases can be attributed to the fact that they have conducted nearly 15,000 Covid-19 tests while Sindh, even with the second-highest number of cases, has conducted nearly 7,000 tests.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan’s testing figures are lower than both Sindh and Punjab.
The infographic above shows the number of confirmed cases in each province and region, and the tests carried out there until March 31. The data for this information has been obtained from the National Institute of Health (NIH) for Islamabad and situation reports released by the respective provincial health departments.
While provincial officials, when contacted, generally complained about lack of testing kits and labs, federal Planning Minister Asad Umar had told a press conference on Tuesday that the number of labs that could carry out tests for coronavirus had increased from 13 to 30 and would increase to 32 in the coming days. He added that the current testing capacity was 280,000 which was expected to increase to 900,000 by April 15.
Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza had announced that the government would acquire a synthesiser in a few weeks which would enable the country to start producing testing kits on its own.
Here, we look at the status of testing across the four provinces, Islamabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The province of Punjab receives between 500 and 1,000 testing kits on a daily basis from the NIH, according to Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Secretary retired Capt Mohammad Usman. Tests are mainly carried out at the Provincial Public Health Reference Lab, Shaukat Khanam Memorial Cancer Hospital (SKMCH) and Chughtai Lab. Tests are carried out for free at the provincial lab and SKMCH, which are provided kits by the NIH, while residents can pay to get tested at Chughtai Lab.