COVID-19 Updates 20 December 2020
Keeping in mind the toll COVID-19 has taken on the public, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has issued guidelines for the upcoming Christmas events to prevent the spread of the virus.
COVID-19 Guidelines for Christmas
Considering that the gatherings related to Christmas and minority groups’ events, the NCOC announced guidelines to minimise person-to-person spread of the virus for this year’s Christmas.
Churches have been asked to arrange thermal screening of people at entry gates while preachers should deliver sermons on the virus and preventive measures. Windows and doors of churches should be kept open for ventilation on Christmas day, no carpets or mats be laid down as the virus was airborne, benches washed with chlorinated water regularly and everyone should wear a mask and maintain a distance of at least one metre from others during prayers.
“Gatherings at Christmas events could amplify the transmission of the virus and potentially disrupt the country’s response capacity. With the pandemic in full rage, the safest thing that can be done during this Christmas holiday is to stay home. There should be limited in-person contacts during holiday preparations and celebrations. In such events, prevention of importation of the virus from one household to the other and various places like shopping malls and churches are an essential element in avoiding or minimising the occurrence of infection and of serious outbreaks in these settings and beyond. Precautions are required by public, especially the Christian community, to protect themselves and prevent transmission,” the centre said. The NCOC also asked people to undertake minimal necessary travel during the holidays.
“Social visits during the holidays and family get-togethers should be avoided. Christmas shopping should only be restricted to minimal essentials and crowding in markets is not advisable. The traditional gift exchange and large-scale home gatherings are likely to increase transmission so they should also be avoided,” it said.
The NCOC has advised to limit duration of events and regularly disinfect Christmas trees and decorations in public places.
COVID-19 and Healthcare
Study has revealed that over 41 per cent of healthcare workers handling coronavirus patients in three cities of the country have faced violence.
According to data issued by the NCOC, 87 deaths and 3,179 new cases were reported on Saturday with 279 ventilators in use throughout the country.
The number of active cases was recorded at 40,921 as of Dec 19 with the national positivity ratio at 6.61pc. The highest positivity ratio was reported in Karachi at 11.8pc, followed by Peshawar, 9.23pc and Mirpur, 7.92pc.
Earlier on 19 December 2020
Total active COVID-19 cases in Pakistan till yesterday were recorded at 42,478 as 2,972 more people tested positive for the deadly virus during the last 24 hours.
Eighty-three corona patients, 74 of whom were under treatment in hospitals and nine in their respective homes or quarantines, died during the last 24 hours, according to the latest update issued by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).
Most of these deaths occurred in Sindh and Punjab. Out of the total 83 deaths, 51 patients died while on ventilators. No COVID-19 affected person was on ventilator in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, while 295 ventilators were occupied elsewhere in Pakistan. The maximum ventilators were occupied in four major areas including Multan (45 percent), ICT (42 percent), Peshawar (27 percent) and Lahore (34 percent).
The Oxygen beds were also occupied in four major areas as in Rawalpindi (40 percent), Multan (39 percent), Peshawar (60 percent) and ICT (38 percent).
39,171 tests were conducted across the country on Thursday, including 12,859 in Sindh, 15,395 in Punjab, 4,755 in KP, 4,755 in ICT, 395 in Balochistan, 367 in GB and 645 in AJK.
Around 399,852 people have recovered from the disease so far across Pakistan making it a significant count with over 86 percent recovery ratio of the affected patients. Since the pandemic outbreak, a total of 451,494 cases were detected so far, including 7,893 in AJK, 17,868 in Balochistan, 4,810 in GB, 35,700 in Islamabad, 54,021 in KP, 130,122 in Punjab and 201,080 in Sindh.
About 9,164 deaths were recorded in the country since the eruption of the contagion, including 3,270 in Sindh, 3,522 in Punjab, 1,511 in KP, 385 in ICT, 177 in Balochistan, 99 in GB and 200 in AJK.
While Federal Minister Asad Umar has quarantined himself after testing positive for the said virus.
In a tweet he informed “Just got my covid test result and it is positive. Will be isolating at home,” Umar tweeted late last night.
Other politicians including Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, and PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari have tested positive for the virus since the first case emerged in the country in February.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra also tested positive earlier and have since recovered.