Is the second wave of COVID-19 coming in Punjab?

 The number of cases in Punjab rising but it is too early to declare it second wave

                                                 

Punjab Province has seen rise in the cases of COVID-19 after Eidul Azha. The Punjab province has witnessed a sudden increase in the number of Covid-19 new cases after Eidul Azha. Punjab reported 277 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 besides five deaths during the last 24 hours against 235 a day earlier. 

Punjab government imposed the lockdown and closed down markets and businesses before the Eid. This decision was made keeping in view the experiences of relaxations made before Eidul Fitar.   The COVID-19 pandemic reached to the peak in June. The total number of cases reached to 2,83,467 in August while total deaths crossed 6,000.   

Of the new cases, 100 were reported from Lahore against 52 a day before, 58 from Rawalpindi (54), 25 from Gujranwala, 13 from Multan (11 a day earlier), 11 from Sialkot, eight from Gujarat etc. The everyday cases which had dropped to below 100 on average during the last one week, again increased to around 300.

But it is too early to declare this sudden increase second wave of COVID-19 pandemic. We must wait at least one more week before making final assessment. The people are not following the SOPs which might increase the number of cases. The situation will become clear in next few days. There is no doubt that number of cases dropped significantly in July before the Eid.

The percentage of positive cases dropped from 22% in June to less than 10% in July.  Some experts are saying that real picture of coronavirus cases will become clear around 15 August. The government warned the people before Eid tat second wave might emerged if the SOPs are not followed.

                                                 

Some health experts are saying that increase in cases is normal. In their view, the surge is routine one. For them, these numbers are not alarming and could easily be managed.   According to official figures released by the health department on Thursday, the total number of the confirmed cases in Punjab reached 93,847 including 47,729 in Lahore, 7,503 in Rawalpindi, 5,856 in Multan and 5,812 in Faisalabad.

The federal and provincial governments already announced to open many businesses due to drop in new cases. The government announced to open tourism, entertainment, public transport and other businesses.

The other issue is that the Punjab government has reduced the daily tests. The government performed 5,424 Covid-19 tests during the last 24 hours across the province. Most of these tests were conducted at private labs.

According to official figures, it has performed 5,301 tests during the last 24 hours in Punjab while the capacity was said to be 17,000 per day. Of the total tests, around 7,000 were being performed officially while others in the private sector.

                                                    

Some health and medical experts believe that the tests were reduced when the positive cases ratio dropped to 10 per cent in Punjab. They were of the view that the Punjab government has cut down the number of tests to avoid wastage of funds because of the continuous decrease in positive ratio.

On average the Punjab government was to bear cost of Rs 3, 000 per test and expenses on 90 per cent of the total tests being performed daily were going waste, they claimed.

However, some critics alleged that the Punjab government has deliberately reduced tests to show less number of cases just to avoid criticism, putting lives of people at grave risk.

On June 20, as many as 10,188 Covid-19 tests were performed in Punjab when the 1,523 new confirmed cases and 60 deaths were reported. The total number of the positive cases was 65,739 across the province at that time, according to the official figures. While on July 1, the tests were reduced to 8,284 when 35 deaths were reported the same day all over the province. Similarly, 761 new confirmed cases were reported the same day.

                                                              Rukhsana Manzoor Deputy Editor


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