Lahore might have an estimated 670,000 asymptomatic COVID-19 cases: Report

M Zulqernain

Lahore, Jun 2 (PTI) There could be an estimated 670,000 asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in the Pakistani city of Lahore alone, a government report has warned the Punjab provincial government, as it urged the authorities to prepare the healthcare facilities for the 'unprecedented' surge in the number of infections.

Lahore is the capital of Punjab, which is one of the worst-affected provinces in the country with 27,850 confirmed coronavirus cases.

Pakistan on Tuesday reported 3,938 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of infections to 76,398 in the country with 1,621 deaths.

According to the report by the Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare department released on Monday, a sample survey was recently carried out in most of the localities of Lahore, a city of 12 million people, to detect COVID-19 suspected patients.

“Following the percentage of people who tested positive, it has been estimated that 670,000 asymptomatic patients in Lahore may have contracted the virus,” the report says.

The report further says, “keeping in view the rising number of cases, especially in Lahore, it is recommended that a timely plan for surge capacity may be implemented in all healthcare facilities to deal with any unprecedented situation likely to emerge in the coming few days.” Further, the report said that no workplace and residential area of any town is free from the virus.

“Entire Lahore exhibits an alarming similar transmission pattern and the most seriously hit age group was 50 years and above,” it said.

A detailed summary of the survey report was presented to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar last month.

In the report, the department has proposed a complete lockdown for another four weeks to stop the spread of the deadly virus. It also advised the government to declare it essential for people to stay indoors and not venture out unnecessarily.

The Punjab government eased the lockdown in the last week of May and on Monday it further relaxed it, allowing the businesses to open for five days a week.

In some towns, results stated that 14.7 per cent of the samples came back with positive results. The report said that there was not a single area in Lahore or its surrounding where the infection has not reached.

Reacting to the report, Vice President of the Opposition Pakistan Muslim League-(N) and former premier Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz advised the Imran Khan government to come out of 'Nawaz-syndrome' and consume its energies to control the spread of the COVID-19.

“While people are suffering and losing their lives not only to Corona but to unprecedented and unbelievable incompetence, criminal negligence and apathy, the government continues to incurably suffer from Nawaz Sharif syndrome,” she said in a tweet.

She chided the government for its incompetence, asking it to get down to work.

“Get down to work if you know how it is done, get help if you don't,” she said.

Uploading an image of news regarding the report of 670,000 estimated COVID-19 patients in Lahore, Maryam said, “it is a classic and incorrigible case of highly misplaced priorities.” PTI MZ RS AKJ RS