Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab on Tuesday said people were refraining from getting tested for COVID-19 due to social stigma and that the government could test more people.
Wahab, speaking in Geo News‘ programme “Aaj Shahzaib Khanzada Kay Sath” said: “We have a testing capacity of 4,800 tests but the people are afraid to get tested due to social stigma. The government cannot force them into it and that is why we are only conducting 2,500-3,000 tests every day.”
Talking about the facilities available in public hospitals he said: “We have sufficient space available for patients in public hospitals, but naturally, people prefer to get treated from private hospitals and that has put a lot of pressure on them [private hospitals] .”
“There are some private hospitals in Karachi that have not established an isolation facility, so if you go there, those facilities will not be able to entertain you,” he said.
“9920445, 11206565, and 0316-0111712 are the numbers that the people can call on to get information regarding the hospitals treating patients for coronavirus,” Wahab said.
“Isolation facilities are available in Civil Hospital, Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), Lyari General Hospital, Dow University Ojha campus, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Indus Hospital, Aga Khan Hospital, Ziauddin Hospital, and the Expo Centre field hospital,” he said.
“We have given Indus Hospital an isolation facility at Gadap Town, while we have handed over another isolating facility to Indus in Dumba Goth,” he added.
Speaking about Dr Furqan-ul-Haq’s death he said that his case was “mishandled”. He said that Dr Furqan was set to go to a hospital but at the last moment was advised by a friend to go to SIUT. “Unfortunately, he was not able to reach there and passed away.”
“All the required facilities are available in hospitals. If he had reached there within time, his life could have been saved,” said Wahab regretfully.
“If people are experiencing symptoms they should reach out to the Sindh Health Department and not to laboratories or hospitals. Our team will come to your residence and take your tests and share the result with you,” he said.
Wahab said that he was sharing this information in case people are unaware of whether they are infected and might spread the disease to others when they go out to medical facilities.
The senator said that the numbers are increasing at a rapid rate, pointing to a worsening trend.
“We have seen that the people violated SOPs where the government had softened the restrictions, including at NADRA offices, Ehsaas Centres, and banks,” he said while talking about the adverse effects of softening the lockdown.
“If the government moves towards softening the lockdown, it should also spread awareness among people on how crucial maintaining safety precautions are,” he said, adding: “A national narrative is needed to spread awareness among the people to inform them that wearing masks is in their best interests.”