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January 27, 2020

More thermal scanners to be imported: NDMA

Islamabad

January 27, 2020

Islamabad : The National Disaster Management Authority has said it is taking precautionary measures against coronavirus in the country.

According to a spokesperson for the NDMA, three more thermal scanners will be imported for the detection of coronavirus. He said those scanners would be installed at Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore airports.

The death toll from a newly-discovered coronavirus in China has risen to over 40. However, there is no confirmed case of coronavirus in Pakistan.

"As per standard guidelines and procedure any traveller from China having flu-like symptoms has to be isolated and monitored. The patient being referred to by some has no serious symptoms and is responding to treatment and improving," said Dr. Zafar Mirza Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health in an official statement. He said the government was closely monitoring the situation and all necessary measures were being taken to screen all travellers from China and provide hospital-care where required.

"Thermo scanners and thermo guns have been provided to well-trained health staff at airports in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad to screen all passengers. Separately, a special dedicated team is assigned for screening passengers arriving via flights from China," he said.

"Vigilance is being maintained, while an emergency operation cell in Federal Health Ministry is monitoring the situation round the clock. Instructions have been given to all major hospitals to make arrangements to receive possible cases and provide them necessary care. 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 synergized, timely and effective," said Dr. Zafar Mirza.

He said considering that there will be heavy influx of travellers from China after 8th of February 2020 when the celebrations of Chinese New Year conclude, all relevant authorities had been asked to carry out robust surveillance for screening at the points of entry at Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi airports alongside seaports and land crossings, raising public awareness and ensuring hospital preparedness for management of potential cases," he said.

He said he was personally monitoring the situation and we are meeting every 48 hours with heads of hospitals, health institutions and all relevant departments to review the situation and take necessary measures for optimal level of preparedness and mitigation in the event we have a suspected case. We are establishing a help line to be functional from Wednesday for information on the disease and to respond to queries," he said.

The special assistant 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, avoid contact with animals, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands," he said.