The pink eye infection is rapidly spreading throughout Punjab, as more than 10,269 cases have been reported from private hospitals of the province in the last 24 hours.
The total number of people suffering from the infection, also known as conjunctivitis, in Punjab this year has reached 394,000.
According to official statistics, 452 cases of pink eye were reported in the hospitals of Lahore in the last 24 hours.
In Bahawalpur, 1,540 people showed up at OPDs of hospitals with the infection, 1,048 in Multan, 1,132 in Faisalabad, and 175 in Rawalpindi.
Meanwhile, according to the provincial health department, the number of people appearing with the disease at private hospitals and clinics is double the data above.
The primary healthcare minister has suggested people call on the department’s helpline for treatment of pink eye infection, where eye specialists from across the province will be available 24 hours.
Dr Jamal Nasir claimed eye infection medicines have been provided to hospitals across Punjab in ample quantity. He added that the pink eye infects the eye for seven to 10 days.
Health Minister Dr Javed Akram says the number of patients of the eye infection has reached 73 and the police is doing its job on the case.
Speaking at the vice chancellors’ conference, the Punjab caretaker minister said the government had started an investigation from staff at hospitals, while the investigation committee is looking at the clinical and manufacturing issues.
The Avastin injection has been barred for use for a week, Dr Akram stated, however added that it is allowed for use for cancer patients. He stressed that hospitals cannot sell the injection but use it on their own.
He further said a forensic examination is underway to determine how the vial reached hospitals, adding that according to their analysis, a substandard injection was filled from the vial.
Health experts have urged those affected by the disease to self-isolate to help curb its spread.
Eye specialists have advised that infected individuals should be excused from work and business to prevent further transmission of the virus.
Dr. Muhammad Moeen, principal of the College of Ophthalmology, said, "The increasing number of pink eye cases demands immediate action from the Punjab government."
Meanwhile, in a bid to curb the spread of pink eye infection, all government and private schools in Punjab were ordered to remain closed for four days.
The closure period included the Eid Miladun Nabi holiday, as well as the Saturday and Sunday weekend, providing extended break for students.
Schools are expected to reopen on Monday. The announcement came following reports of a growing number of conjunctivitis cases, with the citizens of Bahawalpur in Punjab being the most affected.