KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah was informed on Saturday about another case of coronavirus in the city and that the patient had been shifted to a hospital and his family members isolated in their house.
The Sindh administration has also asked families who have recently visited Iran to not send their children to school for 14 days.
The CM presided over the meeting of a task force at the CM House. The meeting was attended by ministers Azra Pechuho and Nasir Shah, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah and other relevant officials.
It was the third day running when the task force met to review the coronavirus situation.
The chief minister was told that the second case of the virus in the city was diagnosed on Saturday. The 65-year-old patient had returned from Iran on Feb 20 and was living with his four family members since. The patient had flu-like symptoms and was kept for 10 days in quarantine. During the isolation period, the patient’s test was conducted for the coronavirus and result came positive.
The CM chairs coronavirus task force meeting and orders purchase of testing kits, 25 ventilators
The meeting was informed that the patient had been shifted to a hospital and his family had been isolated in their home as well for further medical investigations.
The CM directed the health department to make contact with the relatives of the patient who might have met him when he had returned from Iran.
“We will have to be more vigilant and proactive in tracing the people coming into contact with the suspects or patients so that its spread could be contained,” he said, adding, “we have been meeting regularly since the first case had appeared and our strategy must be result-oriented”.
The meeting was told that the health department had got 41 samples of the suspects for tests; of them they had received results of 38 tests in which two had been found positive and the rest negative. The results of the tests conducted on three remaining patients were being awaited.
932 pilgrims still in Iran
Officials said 1,421 pilgrims who went to Iran had been traced. Some 932 were still in Iran and 481 had returned.
The chief minister asked the health department, airport services, Federal Investigation Agency, CAA and divisional commissioners to keep track of every individual coming back to Sindh by air or via road from Balochistan to ensure necessary precautionary measures for them and their families were made properly.
The chief minister directed the airport service director to provide the latest list of Pakistanis who had gone to Iran and had returned or were still in the neighbouring country.
He asked the commissioner to coordinate with the Iranian consulate general to get exact list of visas they had issued to Pakistanis. “This will help us to develop accurate data of the people who travelled to Iran and the number of pilgrims coming back,” he said.
Mr Shah directed the chief secretary to coordinate with the Balochistan government and request them to test the pilgrims of Iran at Taftan border before allowing them to return to their respective provinces.
Rs50m to be released for 25 ventilators
CM Shah urged the Indus Hospital to purchase testing kits of coronavirus for which his government would make payments.
The health department was further asked to compile a detailed list of the coronavirus testing facility available at hospitals or health institutions functioning in Karachi to speed up the testing in an organised manner.
Mr Shah decided to purchase 25 ventilators for patients. The task of purchasing ventilators had been assigned to Indus Hospital which would be given Rs50 million.
The meeting was told the last flight from Iran landed in Karachi on Feb 27.
The meeting also decided to issue an advisory for the families and the schools to stop sending children of those people who had history of visiting Iran.
Meanwhile, following the earlier advisory of the National Institute of Health, the Sindh health department on Saturday alerted all the families with children in quarantine at their home advising that they should not send their children to school for 14 days with effect from their return to Pakistan.
The advisory issued from the health department reads: “All the families with children in quarantine at their home shall be advised not to send their children to schools for 14 days with effect from their return to Pakistan. It is pertinent to mention here that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah was also holding meetings of the concerned ministries on a daily basis to review the measures being adopted to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the province.”
Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2020