The Punjab government has closed down coronavirus wards in three government-run hospitals in the city, leaving the Rawalpindi Institute of Urology (RIU) the dedicated facility for patients of the disease, following a reported decrease in cases.
The coronavirus causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
All the filter clinics and wards for Covid-19 patients at Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH), Holy Family Hospital (HFH), and the District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) have been closed and patients will be referred to the RIU from now on.
The three hospitals have restarted routine activities and are treating all kinds of patients in various departments.
The Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare department had established a 196-bed facility for Covid-19 patients at the BBH.
This included 140 beds in wards, with 70 beds attached to oxygen supply and 30 ventilators in the intensive care unit (ICU).
The HFH had a 100-bed facility, including a 41-bed isolation ward, 16 ventilators, and 43 oxygen-attached beds in the ICU.
A 14-bed facility with four beds in the isolation ward, five ventilators and five oxygen-attached beds in the ICU was set up at the DHQ Hospital.
The provincial government also set up two 120-bed field hospitals in the Shehbaz Sharif Sports Complex in Shamsabad and the Red Crescent Hospital.
BBH medical superintendent Dr Raffique Ahmed said that the hospital closed its wards on the Punjab government’s directives, as the RIU was made the dedicated hospital for Covid-19 treatment.
“All the patients will be tested there and admitted in its wards,” he said.
He said all the patients were moved to the RIU soon after the government’s directives were received.
However, the BBH has not closed the ICU, as there are no gynaecology or surgery facilities at the RIU to treat pregnant women with Covid-19 or other patients who need critical care.
Patients with other conditions who need dialysis or who have other diseases will be treated at the BBH in the coming days, he said, but no such patients have been admitted to the hospital yet since the number of patients has decreased.
HFH medical superintendent Dr Shahzad Ahmed said that while their Covid-19 ward has closed, they have made arrangements to provide care to patients who visit the hospital with unrelated concerns and test positive for Covid-19 during the pathological examination.
“We are not dealing with new and stable Covid-19 patients in hospitals, and these patients are being referred to the RIU for treatment, where the government has made arrangements for them,” he said.
The RIU has been active and dedicated as Rawalpindi division’s Covid-19 hospital and will take all kinds of Covid-19 patients, Commissioner Captain (retired) Mohamed Mehmood said.
He said that a helpline has been set up at the institute to provide the public with information on the coronavirus, and a counselling section has been established there to follow-up on Covid-19 patients or any new information about the disease.
While the Covid-19 cases have decreased, dengue virus wards have been activated in three government hospitals due to the threat of the mosquito-borne disease.
The BBH, the HFH, and the DHQ have activated their dengue wards and established counters to deal with dengue patients.
Four dengue patients have reported in the garrison city so far.
One patient came from HFH Staff Colony, two from cantonment areas – Banaras Colony and Range Road, and another from Fazal Town near Chaklala Scheme-III.
“Two dengue counters have been established at the BBH emergency department and outdoor patients department. A total of 31 beds have been established for the dengue patients in the first phase,” the BBH’s Dr Raffique Ahmed said.
At present, no suspected patient has arrived in the hospital.
“We are ready to face the new challenge of dengue. The doctors and all staff in the hospital will face the challenge of dengue virus after coronavirus,” he said.
He said laboratory tests of dengue patients would be conducted within the hospital and the required machinery has been activated.
The HFH’s Dr Shahzad Ahmed said that the dengue ward had been activated in the hospital’s emergency and OPD (outpatient department).
“We made two plans to deal with dengue patients: in the first phase a 50-bed ward has been activated, and the number of beds would be increased in the coming days as per requirements,” he said.
Ahmed said that a hospital staff member was infected by the dengue virus after visiting Karachi and Peshawar.
The dengue surveillance was conducted in the staff colony but no dengue larvae were found in the area.
Meanwhile, Punjab Minister for Health Dr Yasmeen Rashid visited the garrison city and reviewed the arrangements.
Commissioner Mehmood apprised the minister of the dengue prevention activities in the district.
The minister directed the officials to scale up the surveillance.
She said that although dengue is under control, its prevention required the collaborative effort of all departments.
The minister said: “Our health departments have made adequate arrangements to control dengue.”
All the commissioners and deputy commissioners have been directed to personally supervise the dengue control activities.
Local administrations must identify hotspots.
“I urge all the citizens to stay vigilant about possible mosquito breeding sites. By adopting the framework developed under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, we were able to reduce coronavirus cases.
“All necessary measures are being taken in Punjab to control corona, dengue and polio,” she said.
Meanwhile, metro bus services in Islamabad and sister city Rawalpindi were restored yesterday.
The administration has issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for travel on the service.
Under the issued SOPs, it will be prohibited to travel while standing on the bus, and passengers will only be able to travel if they are seated as per social distancing rules.
In addition, it has been made mandatory for passengers to wear masks and abide by preventative measures to ensure the safety of passengers.
The metro bus service was suspended on March 23.
Earlier, Planning, and Development Minister Asad Umar had said that dine-in restaurants and beauty salons would reopen across Pakistan on August 10 as the efforts against the coronavirus pandemic had borne fruit.
He had added that a review on the decision to reopen educational institutes on September 15 would be done on September 7.
Businesses would go back to their normal pre-coronavirus timings as well.
The move to reopen the country came following a meeting of the National Co-ordination Committee (NCC) and discussion on recommendations in the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), he had said, referring to the primary body overlooks the efforts against the coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan.
Umar heads the NCOC.
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