Islamabad [Pakistan], April 28 (ANI): The Pakistani public is paying for oxygen through its nose as the country is on short supply amid a surge in COVID-19 infections, surpassing all its previous records, as per a report.
According to an opinion article published on Tuesday in Gulf News, Syed Talat Hussain, a Pakistani journalist and writer said that when Pakistani government imposes taxes that hurt the public, a popular cry of desperation and derision inevitably greets them: one day they will also make us pay for oxygen.
"The rhetorical slur has now come true. The public is paying for oxygen through its nose but not because it is taxed but because it is on short supply as Covid infections rise, breaking all previous records in Pakistan," he wrote.
"The situation is not touching desperate levels but it is going in that direction. Ministers are trying to be useful preaching calm to an anxious public that is exposed to the dire times that neighbouring India is witnessing and which are beamed into homes through the international media," he added.
Analysing the current situation in the country, the author further wrote that the future does not proffer a soothing scenario.
According to Hussain, the newly-appointed information minister, Fawad Chaudhary, last week said that the country had already used up 90 per cent of its oxygen reserves attending hospital emergencies. "The relatively manageable demand on the limited production capacity is based on the current figures of consumption. Considering the rising tide of Corona patients, this demand will increase manifold," he wrote.
He pointed out that "the finer side" of the problem at present relates to transportation of oxygen to the hospitals as it requires expensive vehicles designed to move the precious commodity in liquid form to the bigger hospitals which then have the wherewithal to turn into gas and administer is to the patients.
"Even if the supplies are adequate, their transportation, use, administration and the attendant costs will make this one of the most important challenges for the government. Who would have thought that an elixir of life, available everywhere, could become this scarce, choking the ill, or worse, threaten to kill them. But the unthinkable is happening," the scribe wrote further.
Amid the devastating third COVID-19 wave in Pakistan, vaccine supplies in private health facilities have run out and the facility chiefs say that they are struggling to obtain more doses from manufacturers in the face of high global demand.
Two privately owned pharmaceutical companies in Pakistan have imported 50,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine and 10,000 doses of the Chinese single-dose Convidecia vaccine. These have been fully used at private hospitals and other medical facilities in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad to inoculate 35,000 people, reported Arab News.
Pakistan's total cases of COVID-19 infection have already crossed the 800,000-mark and the death toll from the coronavirus has reached 17,530.
In the last 24 hours, Pakistan reported 201 more COVID deaths, the highest number in a single day since the pandemic broke out in the country last year, ARY News reported.
According to the latest figures issued by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 5,292 persons tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, pushing the number of positive cases to 810,231. The COVID-19 positivity rate was registered at 10.77 per cent in the same period. (ANI)