By M Zulqernain
Lahore, Apr 13 (PTI) At least 20 more doctors were tested COVID-19 positive on Monday in Punjab, bringing the number of the medical staff infected by the deadly virus in Pakistan's most populous province to 50.
The Pakistan Medical Association has said that more than 100 doctors, nurses and para medical staff have been infected so far across the country, blaming the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government for not providing them required protective gear.
According to a Punjab government official, so far over 50 doctors have been tested positive for novel coronavirus in the province.
"Twenty-two doctors and six nurses of Nishtar Hospital, Multan (some 350 kms from Lahore) tested positive for the virus on Sunday and Monday. Some 160 doctors and nurses suspected of COVID-19 of the hospital are quarantined,” the official said.
The infected doctors had come in direct contact with COVID-19 patients, the official added.
"The medical staff that is serving on the front line is not being provided with the N-95 masks because of which the lives of doctors, nurses and paramedics are at stake," Pakistan Medical Association President Dr Masoodur Rauf Haraj said.
He threatened to go on strike if the government fails to provide the medics personal protective equipment (PPEs).
Pakistan Young Nurses Association President Saima Ansari slammed the government for not providing them protective gear besides lack of space at hospitals for health workers exposed to the virus.
She said at least two nurses have died from coronavirus in Punjab.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has taken notice of the situation in Nishtar Hospital Multan and directed the health authorities to ensure provision of protective kits to the health professionals. He said no negligence will be tolerated in the provision of safety to medics as they are fighting as front-line workers.
Pakistan's coronavirus cases have reached 5,374 with 334 new infections reported on Monday. Seven more people have died due to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll in the country to 93, health officials said. PTI MZ ZH