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February 5, 2020

Govt ready to deal with coronavirus, says Yasmin

Lahore

February 5, 2020

LAHORE:Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid has said that the government is fully cognizant of the threat of coronavirus and preparations have been made in this regard.

Speaking at a press conference at the Directorate General Public Relations here on Tuesday, the minister said that so far no confirmed case had been reported in Pakistan and prevention and awareness were key to controlling the disease.

Director General Health Services Dr Haroon Jehangir, Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Additional Secretary (Technical) Dr Salman Shahid, Director Electronic Media DGPR Rubina Zahid and experts on the communicable diseases were also present.

The minister said the coronavirus was genetically similar to SARS virus reported nearly a decade back. She said, “The virus causes symptoms of fever with difficulty in breathing leading to pneumonia. The federal government has developed SOPs and Punjab is fully implementing them.”

The minister said Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Secretary Capt (retd) Usman Younus had very efficiently ensured the implementation of the SOPs and was personally supervising the emergency and preparedness measures.

“In Pakistan, a total of seven suspected cases have been reported, out of which four have been discharged and three are under treatment. To date, no case is confirmed. So far, 17,485 cases have been reported in more than 26 countries. The Chinese government has responded very well. Their emergency and quarantine measure have been appreciated globally. They have contained the infection very well to certain areas,” she stated.

A test facility has been made available at National Institute of Health Islamabad currently. Same facility will very soon be available in the provincial BSL-3 laboratory very soon. Personal protective equipment have been provided to the staff deputed to deal with the patients in hospitals,” said the health minister.

Dr Yasmin Rashid said the hospitals in the cities with airports had been notified for treatment of the disease. These are Services Institute of Medical Sciences in Lahore, Nishtar Hospital, Multan, Holy Family Hospital Rawalpindi, Allied Hospital Faisalabad and Allama Iqbal Memorial Hospital, Sialkot.

“Expert group comprising senior pulmonologists, public health specialists and senior managers are meeting on a daily basis. So far six meetings have been held,” she added.

Yasmin Rashid emphasised that use of mask by the patients suffering from sneezing and cough was major preventive step which might prevent infection to others. She added that hand-to-face contact must be taken care of and hand sanitiser might be used by patients.

Seminar: A seminar and walk to create awareness among the general public about “Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)” was held at University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) here on Tuesday.

According to a press release, Prof Dr Tahir Yaqub delivered a lecture on the role of animals in emergence, spread and diagnosis of novel corona virus 2019 (2019-nCoV) while Prof Dr Zarfisha Tahir spoke about prevention and control of coronavirus. Prof Dr Muhammad Akram Munir highlighted the need for coronavirus vaccine as a disease mitigation and control strategy. Dr Tahir Mahmood talked about noval cronavirus epidemic and travel advisory in the wake of the virus.