Medical student among four more die as coronavirus situation worsens in KP

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PESHAWAR: The situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is deteriorating with each passing day as four more people, including a third year student of the Khyber Medical College (KMC), died of coronavirus in the province on Tuesday.

Also, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Secretary Health Syed Imtiaz Hussain Shah was among 226 people, who tested positive for the viral infection. Of the four persons, who died of coronavirus, included 21-year- old Adnan Haleem, a 3rd year student of the KMC. According to officials of the Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH), Adnan Haleem fell ill a few days ago. He was admitted to medical ‘A’ unit of the hospital on October 9, 2020 where he developed complications.

The patient was then shifted to medical ICU the same day where he tested positive for Covid-19. The physicians in ICU immediately put him on a ventilator, but he couldn’t survive and lost his battle for life. Adnan Haleem belonged to Swat district and had topped the intermediate examination of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Swat and was stated to be among the brilliant and hardworking students. It was not clear if he had contracted the virus during his stay in the college hostel or in the college. The administration had closed the college for two weeks after some students tested positive for the viral infection a few weeks ago. The college was later opened as the students started appearing in their exams. Farhad Khan, media and protocol officer of KTH when reached was unable to talk due to shock as the young student was class-fellow of his son in KMC. Some senior professors and health experts had strongly opposed allowing students to appear in exams. They had expressed concern that by doing so, the students would easily contract the virus from each other and thus it would quickly transmit to others.

Among those who opposed the idea of starting exams was a noted physician, Prof Syed Amjad Taqweem. He had even written a letter to the high-ups and wanted them to intervene and save the lives of the students. “Students with Covid are appearing in all university exams without informing anyone as if they do they fail but if they don’t they spread the virus. One infected, infected the whole family, who infected others. That’s how I came to know. Told VC (Khyber Medical University) before exam and again now but he seems helpless or inactive,” he told The News when reached. Prof Amjad Taqweem said online exams MCQ based best solution as even if they cheat they learn and they can’t cheat unless they know the topic.

“I thought a lot but can’t come up with any other solution. Either let it spread or go online. If you have a better idea, I would be interested (to know),” the professor opined. He said the vaccine for coronavirus was likely to be developed in a few months and there was no need to take risks. “I would have agreed to a free of fear policy, if the vaccine was not months away. All we have to do is get out of the winter and spring alive and the vaccine will be here,” Prof Amjad Taqweem said. In the present pandemic, he said they all need to do whatever is necessary to stop the spread of coronavirus. “I have passed it on and will pursue it as well. Whether it has any impact or not is beyond my control but, at least, it will not be due to lack of trying on my part,” said the physician.

He said he didn’t want the exams to be cancelled but wanted an online MCQ exam. “Even if you cheat you cannot pass MCQ exam without knowledge and the purpose is to give and test knowledge,” he said. Of the four people who died of coronavirus on Tuesday, two of them belonged to Upper Chitral and one each to Haripur and Kohat. With these losses, the death toll from Covid-19 reached 1,294 in KP. Of 226 people diagnosed with coronavirus, the highest number of people tested positive for the viral infection in a single day in the second wave of infectious disease, Mansehra reported the highest number, 85. Peshawar reported 52 cases, Kurram 17, Orakzai 13, Upper Chitral 9, Abbottabad and Lakki Marwat eight each cases, Kohat 7, and four each cases were reported from Charsadda and Nowshera. Other districts also reported positive cases.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Doctors Association (PDA) leadership had expressed their deep shock at the loss of the young medical student and demanded Chief Minister Mahmood Khan to grant the Shaheed package to the people associated with the health sector. Dr Saleem Yousafzai, PDA spokesman, also demanded the Shaheed package for student Adnan Hakeem.

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