'Four Pakistani students in China get novel coronavirus'

03:40 PM | 29 Jan, 2020
'Four Pakistani students in China get novel coronavirus'

ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza on Wednesday confirmed reporting of four novel coronavirus cases among Pakistanis in China.

“All of them are students and all of them are in good state of health and are being taken care very well. However, until now, there is no reported case in Pakistan, Dr Zafar Mirza said while addressing a press conference.

He said that there was widespread concern over novel coronavirus disease and in this regard, the World Health Organization (WHO) called two emergency meetings to review the situation in China and elsewhere.

He said that WHO also released certain instructions and advises to its members' states on the disease.

“Pakistan is strictly following these instructions which mean we have to deal with the possibility of spread of this disease as a national emergency and all those measures must be taken as the national emergency is required.”

He said that the government has established a national emergency operation centre and activated national task force on international health regulations besides creating national coronavirus emergency core committee in which all ministries and sectors are represented.

He said that SOPs have been developed to manage the inflow of the international passengers and to examine some signs and symptoms in order to put those suspected people under observation besides isolating them in designated healthcare facilities and screening at ports of entry (POE).

He said that the government has reinforced its facilities for screening at the ports of entry.

“We are on high alert and taken measures we needed to be taken as a responsible government and there are clear instructions from the Prime Minister in this regard.”

He said that only three percent fatality rate has been reported from this disease where cases are reported as many patients are gradually recovering in hospitals.

He said that one suspected case is admitted in isolation in Multan whose clinical condition is stable and not seems to be a case of coronavirus and his relevant samples have been taken.

He said that emergency operation cell at the Federal Health Ministry was monitoring the situation round the clock.

“Let me assure the people that the government is closely monitoring the situation and all necessary measures are being taken to screen all travellers from China and providing hospital-care where required.”

He said thermos scanners and thermo guns have been provided to the well-trained health staff at airports in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad to screen all passengers.

He asked the media for avoiding irresponsible reporting based on assumptions and rumours.

He said that irresponsible reporting about the outbreak of the fatal disease in the country could add miseries of the masses.

“We expect responsible reporting by media. Please do not add the nation’s anxiety about coronavirus and should meticulously check facts before reporting.”

He said there was absolutely no cause for panic or alarm. People need to take simple precautions for prevention against common flu-like covering the nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing, frequent hand washing for 20 seconds with soap, avoiding close contact with sick people, animals, touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, he added.

He said coronavirus was a new respiratory virus first discovered in Wuhan, Hebei province of China on January 7 this year.