Islamabad’s strategy

The ICT administration is trying to ensure a partial lockdown and social distancing

While the federal government has expressed its determination to provide protective gear to doctors, paramedics and others dealing with the pandemic, there are many reservations regarding the provision of safety equipment and resources to deal with this virus.

In Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), the government started making preparations soon after the virus started spreading in China. With the emergence of coronavirus in the ICT, the federal government set up two isolation wards. The government also set up an emergency operation centre and a coronavirus special counter at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) to deal with the Covid patients.

However, the protective gear and safety kits became available many days into the spread of the virus in the country. “In the early days, we were only provided with gloves while health professionals needed N95 masks for attending to the patients in the isolation ward set up at PIMS,” a duty doctor in the isolation ward told The News on Sunday.

While the facilities were improved a few days later, only a limited number of ventilators were allocated for this ward, according to the doctor. A quarantine ward has also been set up at the Polyclinic, the second biggest public health facility in Islamabad. “We are trying to secure donations to equip the emergency ward staff with safety kits to deal with coronavirus patients. The government has not provided these for the emergency staff,” a doctor in the PIMS states.

The district administration is trying to ensure a partial lockdown and social distancing. Several teams have been formed to enforce the restrictions. The administration sealed three areas of the ICT where they found positive cases and only lifted the lockdown once disinfectant spray had been completed in the area.

“We have surveillance teams everywhere in the ICT and we are ensuring that people follow SOPs and cooperate with the administration. We are locking down all areas where we find positive cases,” says Hamza Shafqaat, the deputy commissioner. “We appeal to the people of Islamabad to cooperate with us. We hope that things will get better once our health facilities are fully equipped and we get the protection, detection and safety equipment from the National Disaster and Management Authority.”

The writer is a staff member. He can be reached at [email protected]

Islamabad’s strategy to curb the spread of coronavirus