PESHAWAR: Around 100 private hospitals of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have reserved a total of 387 beds at the health department’s request as part of efforts to deal with the threats posed by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China, officials say.
“We are thankful to the administrations of 98 private hospitals across the province for allocating beds for the suspected coronavirus cases. We’ve issued guidelines to them for the management of suspects,” provincial director-general (health) Dr Tahir Nadim Khan told Dawn.
The DG said focal persons had been nominated for all districts, while beds had been reserved for suspected cases.
He said seven suspected cases had so far been reported in the province.
Dr Tahir said five of those cases were sent home after they tested negative for the disease, while the remaining two were being managed in Swat and Swabi hospitals as the results of their lab tests were awaited.
Official says five test negative for virus, while test reports of two awaited
He said after a health emergency was declared in the province under the KP Public Health (Surveillance and Response) Act, 2017, over the fears of the outbreak of the 2019-nCoV, the department had taken all necessary measures to address the issue.
“We are the only province to allocate beds for suspected coronavirus patients in private hospitals. The KP Health Care Commission has directed all private healthcare establishments throughout the province to establish isolation rooms in their respective centers,” he said.
The DG said the outbreak fears had prompted the department to welcome and receive the cases, which didn’t fall under the WHO definition for coronavirus-induced illness.
“Such cases are either sent home or to the relevant health facilities after investigation and counselling,” he said.
Dr Tahir said the department had deputed 31 staff members, including doctors, both men and women, nurses, paramedics, data entry persons and drivers, to facilitate the working of the central health establishment of the federal government at the Bacha Khan International Airport, Peshawar.
He said a full-time ambulance had been provided to the airport, while 1122 Service had been kept on high alert for case response.
The DG said an additional quarantine area had been arranged with the support from the airport authorities, while food for the staff had been arranged until the authorities concerned took further action.
“No suspected case has been reported in the province in the last three days,” he said.
Dr Tahir said the department had made elaborate arrangements to filter all people coming out of the airport and take their samples for examination by the National Institute of Health, Islamabad.
“In case of any confirmed case of 2019-nCoV, we have planned to carry out the screening of the people, who travelled with him or her in the aeroplane, especially those sitting near them,” he said.
The DG said the department was tackling the virus along scientific lines and was taking measures at the same time to prevent public scare.
Meanwhile, officials at the NIH told Dawn that they had so far tested 43 samples sent in by all provinces for 2019-nCoV but none of them tested positive for the disease.
They said though a special focus was laid on the people having the history of visiting China, everyone underwent proper screening as the people were scary about the virus and wanted to be tested.
The official said the people with nausea, tiredness, headache, fever, chest pain, generalised body ache and flu-like symptoms should be subjected to screening to exclude 2019-nCoV as a cause.
Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2020