–‘DRAP grants permission for clinical trial of plasma therapy on coronavirus patients’
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Special Assistant Zafar Mirza on Thursday said that the people shouldn’t start flouting the quarantine rules amid reports that the number of coronavirus deaths in Pakistan was relatively low compared to the experts’ estimations.
“I am seeing reports on TV that Pakistan’s death rates are lower as compared to projections made through modelling. While it is true to some extent that Pakistan has lesser coronavirus cases and a lower death rate than projected by experts, it is not a reason for citizens to become lax,” he said at a news briefing in Islamabad.
He said the restrictions imposed by the government on large gatherings and social contact had an effect on the infection rate “but if people think we don’t need those preventive measures and we don’t need social distancing, it would be a very big mistake”.
Stressing the need for more prevention and responsibility, Mirza warned that the country could see a sharp rise in the number of cases and deaths if people were not careful and started going out.
Talking about the deaths he said that 73 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in the country were of people who had pre-existing health conditions, adding that 85pc of those who died from the virus were above the age of 50 while 78pc of them were males.
Mirza added that the government was creating a mechanism to provide personal protection equipment (PPE) to health professionals in hospitals in such a way that shortage was not observed.
He said the National Disaster and Management Authority (NDMA) after its calculations had provided PPEs, including N-95 masks, gowns and gloves to 152 hospitals for a week. These are the hospitals where most coronavirus patients would be brought, he added.
“We have a list of some 400 hospitals and all of them will be provided PPEs, and on a priority basis.”
The PM’s aide on health said the government would facilitate firms wishing to manufacture ventilators locally through a committee formed under the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP). Through the committee, the firms’ applications would be processed as soon as possible so that production could be started in order to overcome shortage, he revealed.
Mirza said that special permission had been granted by DRAP to begin the clinical trials of plasma therapy to treat patients of the novel coronavirus in Pakistan.
He also announced that the drug regulatory body had allowed drug manufacturers to fast-track the refining of raw materials used to make chloroquine, a drug that health experts believe is partially effective in treating virus patients.