Thursday Mar 26, 2020
ISLAMABAD: A majority of the 1,022 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Pakistan constitute young adults falling in the age bracket of 21-30 years, contrary to the trend seen in China where cases of the contagion were highest among elderly people aged 65 years and above.
“24% of the confirmed cases in Pakistan so far are between 21 to 30 years of age. This constitutes a majority of the cases. The pattern is unlike other countries where cases mostly comprise older people,” Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said Wednesday.
Although the SAPM did not share a complete picture of coronavirus trend in the country, the numbers highlighted indicated that no age group was immune to the virus — the young and the old were equally susceptible to contracting the disease, reported The News.
Moreover, new evidence from the United States and Europe also drew attention toward young adults falling extremely sick because of Covid-19. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, 705 of the first 2,500 coronavirus cases in the United States were aged 20-44 years.
However, complications and ICU admissions among younger people were relatively lower as compared to the older age bracket, the centre underlined.
“The fact that Pakistan has a higher young population as compared to China and many other affected countries, explains why a majority of the confirmed cases in Pakistan constitute young adults," Chief Epidemiologist at the National Institute of Health, Dr Rana Safdar, said.
Presenting further analysis of data as the number of confirmed cases in Pakistan crossed the 1,000 mark, the SAPM added that local transmission of the virus stood at 7%, meaning that 93% of the confirmed patients contracted the disease in countries already affected by it. Men account for 64% of the cases, with 36% being women, he noted.
Dr Mirza shared that 5,225 people were currently isolated in quarantine facilities across Pakistan. Of these, 23% had tested positive, while all others were being sent back home with explicit instructions for protection. Commenting on this, Dr Rana added that many suspected patients who were screened in quarantine facilities tested positive for the virus with little or no symptoms.
The SAPM revealed that as an experiment, the government conducted laboratory tests of all 141 passengers on board a flight that arrived from Doha earlier in the week. “It is heartening to share that all 141 tests were negative,” he stated. Special lodging arrangements were made for the passengers till their results were received, he added.
Pakistan on Wednesday afternoon received 500,000 N-95 masks from China that will be used by health professionals engaged in the treatment and management of coronavirus patients. Another big consignment of personal protective equipment from China is expected to arrive on March 27, the SAPM informed the media on Wednesday.
Dr Zafar said that the second meeting of the National Coordination Committee on COVID-19 will be held on Thursday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Imran Khan. The meeting will review progress on the implementation of decisions taken by the National Security Committee, he said.
It will devise a roadmap for the coming days in light of the changing situation, he added. The SAPM stated that a parliamentary leaders’ committee had been constituted to review measures of the government against the virus.
Dr Mirza also expressed deep concern over non-compliance of social distancing instructions in some parts of Pakistan.
Originally published in The News