In light of depleting oxygen supplies in Pakistan, two provinces in the country have imposed a “complete ban” on elective surgeries in order to manage supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Punjab and Sindh -- which are the two most populous provinces of the country -- released statements on Monday announcing the immediate suspension of non-urgent surgeries in hospitals so that oxygen may be conserved for critically-ill Covid-19 patients.
Included in that suspension are surgeries for tonsillitis, kidney stones, fractures, and hernias as well as cosmetic and eye surgeries.
Speaking at a press conference, the spokesperson of the army Major General Babar Ifitkhar said that “over 75% of the total oxygen” produced in the country has been allocated for the health sector.
He also stated that oxygen reserved for industrial uses “might have to be reallocated” to the health sector if the present coronavirus situation persisted.
Pakistan currently has 90,000 active cases of the virus of these active cases, Iftikhar said, with 4,300 patients in critical condition and 570 people on ventilators.
On Monday, Pakistan called in its army to assist police in “enforcing” Covid-19 guidelines amid fears of poor compliance in the population.
There are 51 cities where the virus positivity rate is above 5%, according to the military.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a televised address to the nation that he wanted to avoid a lockdown as “to save the livelihoods of the poorest in the country” but that he may be left with “no other option.”