ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza Wednesday said that the health department had not detected any confirmed case of novel coronavirus so far in the country after conducting tests of 100 suspected passengers returning from across the border.
Talking to a private news channel, he said the deadly coronavirus has captured the world’s attention as the number of affected people is continuously rising, adding that well-checked mechanism has been put in place at all 18 entry points in the country to ensure proper screening of passengers traveling from other parts of the world.
He said: “I will make it clear that there is no confirmed case was reported in the country and till now Pakistan is saved from this deadly disease, so citizens should not give any attention to the rumors and false information prevailing on social media”.
The SAPM said: “Government is in touch with Chinese and Iranian authorities and after a great struggle they received medical kits to test for novel coronavirus”.
Mirza said the government has taken immediate effective series of precautionary measures as per the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) to stay safe from this virus.
He said at present, the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, the Agha Khan University Hospital (AKUH) has started analyzing samples for the novel coronavirus, but the government would further activate more laboratories for this tests in other cities.
Thermo scanners have been provided to well-trained health staff at major airports in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta and Islamabad to screen all passengers, adding that separately, a specially dedicated team was assigned for screening passengers arriving via flights from China and Iran.
He said with the close coordination of Pakistan Army and other experts they were monitoring the situation closely and taking rapid actions to keep Pakistan safe.
“We have established contact with all provincial chief ministers, provincial Health Departments; relevant ministries including interior dealing with immigration, Aviation Division, NDMA to ensure there is seamless coordination and that our efforts are timely and effective as compared to other countries”, he said.
He said there was absolutely no cause for panic or alarm and people need to take simple precautions for prevention against common flu-like covering the nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing, frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact with sick people, avoid contact with animals, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Mirza further said that those who have or a person near them have traveled to or from other countries within the last 14 days and developed suggestive symptoms including unexplained fever, cough or breathing difficulty, should seek medical attention.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and the Pakistani embassies in Beijing and Tehran are actively monitoring the situation.
Talking about awareness, he said the Ministry of Health is sending public service messages for the information of the common man in cities and far-flung areas.
He said media should also play a responsible role and give correct information to the public.