close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
January 25, 2020

Thermo guns essential for screening of travelers: Dr Zafar

Top Story

January 25, 2020

ISLAMABAD: In addition to installation of thermo scanners, thermo guns should be made available for screening travelers arriving in Pakistan from countries infected by Novel Coronavirus. Moreover, a robust surveillance system at all 19 Ports of Entry should be activated before February 8, with quarantined areas.

Decisions to this effect were taken at a meeting convened here on Friday to take stock of the pre-emptive measures taken so far to avert the looming threat of Coronavirus; 890 cases and 26 deaths have been reported so far, with the disease largely concentrated in China. Exportations have also been reported now from Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, the United States, Korea, and Japan.

With the Special Assistant to PM on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza in the chair, the meeting was attended by WHO Representative to Pakistan, Director General Health, Executive Director of the National Institute of Health (NIH), and heads of government hospitals and health institutions.

In addition to a beefed-up surveillance mechanism, all provincial Chief Ministers have been directed to notify a focal person to coordinate with Points of Entry staff and to manage suspected cases. “Special information stalls should be established in arrival lounges for information of travelers,” Dr. Zafar added amidst assurances that all possible measures are being taken to protect Pakistanis from the life-threatening disease.

The meeting was informed that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has been brought on board to handle an emergency situation, should the need arise.

Dr. Zafar directed that NIH should act as a hub for provision of updated information. While monitoring the working of the Emergency Operations Centre established in the Ministry of Health, he directed that a dedicated helpline be established by next week for dissemination of information about the disease to the general public and healthcare providers.

Dr. Zafar also reviewed measures being taken by hospitals to handle a possible emergency situation and stressed the need to accelerate public awareness and education related to symptoms of the disease, preparedness level, mitigation and response in case of emergency.

Meanwhile, the WHO has issued an advisory for international travelers, urging them to follow usual precautions. Since the transmission potential and modes of transmission of Coronavirus remain unclear, WHO believes “it would be prudent to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections while travelling in or from affected areas by: avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections, cough, and fever; performing frequent hand washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment; avoiding close contact with live or dead farm or wild animals; practicing cough etiquettes during travel (maintaining distance, covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and washing hands) in case of symptoms of acute respiratory infection.”

Meanwhile, the Emergency Committee of the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005), which believes that the Coronavirus outbreak does not presently constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEI), will meet again within a week to review the situation.