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April 1, 2020

COVID-19: A medical practitioner’s concerns, advice

Top Story

April 1, 2020

ISLAMABAD: A doctor has pointedly noted his dire concerns and their remedies after performing duty of screening COVID-19 patients at the biggest government hospital of the federal capital.

The doctor (name withheld) wrote in a message: “As I am going to almost end my 2 weeks duty in corona screening at ..., I have observed few things which I want to share. Initially it was travel history which was important but now, local spread of disease is common, so foreign travel history doesn't matter much.

Solution: We need to change our criteria for screening ASAP [as soon as possible]. If we don't do it, in a period of a month, you will achieve disaster because of silent infected people. The low count of COVID-19 in Pakistan is because we are testing only limited and particular set of people.

Solution: As WHO recommended, test, test and test. All the major countries hit bycoronavirus have tested thousands time more people than us. Whether you get it from Jack Ma or Bill Gates, please start massive screening. I repeat it, please do testing. Because of continuous negative campaigns and horrible quarantine stories, and stigma associated with the disease, people are now afraid of getting tested. It will be the biggest hurdle in coming days.

Solution: We need to eradicate the negative social media stories about stigma and make well-facilitated quarantine centers. People will like to better die at home instead of dying in quarantine center and hospitals.

Govt. of Pakistan is hiding the facts and falsely ornamenting the figures and wants to give an impression that everything is under control. They are doing the same as a year back, Shahbaz Sharif would do . . .photo sessions and showing all is well but all is not well. It will explode Mr [Imran] Khan.

Solution: Instead of daily calling upon media persons and answering their untoward questions, you need to sit with experts related to health and epidemiologist and formulate ways. You can’t hide it for long time, you can’t ornament it for long time.

You are not using your health force appropriately, you are exposing everybody to virus by not providing them with standard protective equipment and you are least, least bothered to solve the problem. You are playing with lives of your young force of doctors, nurses, paramedics. Time is not far when all of your force will be infected and there will be no one to run your hospitals. History won’t forgive you on this crime you are committing against your medical force.

Solution: please sit with health experts, and follow the China’s model that how they protected their medical force. Don’t salute them but equip them please. Your ventilators will be of no use if the operational force is ill or quarantined or not trained.

People are totally indifferent to what a menace we are facing, we still haven’t done enough social distancing to its true sense. Solution: Use force if needed to maintain the govt. writ. Plus do educational programs at grassroots level. May Almighty help us all.”