Hospitals full as second wave of coronavirus grips Pakistan

©Al-Araby Al-Jadeed

Intensive care units across Pakistan are nearing capacity as a second, deadlier wave of the coronavirus builds momentum and officials struggle to counter public indifference to the pandemic.

Several doctors told AFP on Wednesday that hospitals are having to turn away suspected Covid-19 patients, with the potential for a major health care crisis increasing daily.

"The coming two weeks are critical and our situation is going to worsen," said Qaisar Sajjad, secretary general of the Pakistan Medical Association.

"Around 95 percent of the beds are occupied. Only a few hospitals still have capacity - but most of the hospitals are full and refusing to take more patients."

Sajjad said the virus was proving "far more lethal" this time around. Authorities this week ordered the closure of educational institutes and banned indoor dining at restaurants.

The new outbreak has surprised Pakistan, where for months many people have been saying the pandemic was over.