Author Topic: Covid-19 tests hit delays as KU lab awaits funds  (Read 313 times)

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Covid-19 tests hit delays as KU lab awaits funds
« on: November 28, 2020, 01:11:06 PM »
Covid-19 tests hit delays as KU lab awaits funds
KARACHI:Weeks into the second wave of the pandemic, a laboratory of the University of Karachi, which has the capacity to test 3,500 Covid-19 samples daily, remains dysfunctional due to financial issues.
The lab, that had offered its services to reduce the testing burden during the first wave, had been allocated a financial grant by the provincial government on the directives of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. But it is not taking any samples right now, a lab official told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity.

"There is no funding and I don't think the Sindh government is working seriously to run it immediately." According to a senior health department official, the major testing burden is now on the Indus Hospital. "But it takes more than a week to issue results," he said, adding that there is intense pressure from patients for pending results.

"But we don't have any other option." Another official, whose office sent Covid-19 tests to Indus Hospital, said they had no policy on whether patients will get results at a specific time. "This is happening due to a lack of lab facilities. We need another lab to address the pressure. We are taking samples and just sending them nowhere.

" Meanwhile, several citizens complained the delays cause mental distress. "It is better to go to a private lab, which provides results within 24 hours," said Kashif Hussain, a resident of South district, whose spouse was tested last Saturday. "I still do not know the results. We are just waiting, which multiplies the stress.

" Speaking to The Express Tribune, Indus Hospital CEO Dr Abdul Bari said the burden on his lab was multiplying. "We get over 5,000 tests daily," he said. "Our capacity is between 2,500 to 3,000 per day." The lab's capacity is being improved though, he added, saying a testing machine was scheduled to reach Pakistan last Saturday, but had not arrived yet due to logistical issues across the globe.

"We are expecting to improve capacity by next week," he said, expressing hope that the situation would be under control by then. Over 1,400 new cases While such delays persist, the coronavirus, however, has only been ticking up as Pakistan enters the second wave. On Friday, Sindh reported 1,423 positive cases from 12,226 samples, as well as 12 more deaths.

According to a statement issued by the CM House, there are currently 18,194 confirmed active cases in the province, with as many as 17,422 patients in home isolation, 13 at isolation centres and 759 patients at different hospitals.

The condition of 685 patients is stated to be critical with at least 50 on ventilators. It added that 802 patients recovered from the virus overnight. Sindh's Covid-19 tally stands at 170,206 and its death toll to date is 2,897. Of the new cases, 1,157 emerged in Karachi while Hyderabad reported 68 cases, Badin 37, Tando Allahyar 19, Shaheed Benazirabad 14, Umerkot nine, Thatta eight, Naushero Feroze seven, Sukkur six, Jamshoro five, Khairpur and Dadu four each, Larkana and Ghotki three each, Tando Mohammad Khan two, and Jacobabad, Mirpurkhas and Sanghar one each.Express turbuni.
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