Young Doctors Association says hundreds more have been infected since the initial outbreak in February
The Young Doctors Association on Sunday claimed that at least 65 healthcare workers had died in Pakistan due to the novel coronavirus in the 4 months since the first case of the disease was reported in the country.
“Today, two more doctors lost their lives in the line of duty, raising total number of healthcare workers dead to more than 65, with hundreds infected,” the Young Doctors Association Punjab said in a posting on Twitter. “The YDA Punjab condemns the felonious silence and failed policies of the government, which is demoralizing and disastrous for the healthcare community,” it added.
Earlier, YDA President Dr. Salman Haseeb issued a list of the healthcare workers who had succumbed to the virus across Pakistan.
According to the details provided, the worst-hit province is Punjab, where at least 34 healthcare professionals have succumbed to the virus, including 30 doctors, three nurses and one paramedic. Of this number, 15 doctors have died in Lahore, three in Gujranwala, two in Faisalabad, two in Sialkot, two in Sargodha, two in Dera Ghazi Khan, and one each in Rawalpindi, Okara, Bahawalpur and Multan.
In Sindh province, at least 12 healthcare professionals have succumbed to the virus, comprising 11 doctors and one nurse. Of this number, six doctors have died in Karachi, and one each in Hyderabad, Khairpur, Tando Muhammad Khan, Kandkhot, and Jacobabad.
Balochistan province has thus far seen seven deaths in health workers, including four doctors and three paramedics. Of the four doctors, one died in Quetta, while three others died in various parts of the province.
In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, nine healthcare workers have died so far, including six doctors, two nurses and one paramedic. Of these, two died in Nowshera, one in Peshawar, one in Charsadda, one in Hangu and one in an unidentified part of the province.
In the federally administered areas, one doctor has thus far died in Gilgit-Baltistan, according to the Young Doctors Association, as have two technicians at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad.
According to Dr. Haseeb, the YDA believes around 40 percent of the medical professionals working in public sector hospitals across Punjab are currently infected with COVID-19, but lack of testing has made it difficult to confirm this belief.
On Saturday, the Ministry of Health claimed 48 healthcare workers had died due to COVID-19 in Pakistan thus far; the YDA said this was wrong, claiming the fatalities stood at 62 that day.
Doctors have repeatedly urged the government to strictly enforce SOPs, and implement phased lockdowns, to curb the spread of the coronavirus. However, Prime Minister Imran Khan has claimed the country “cannot return to lockdown,” and urged the public to “learn to live with” the deadly virus.