KARACHI: The Sindh Health Department on Monday reported nine new cases of coronavirus in Karachi — the highest count of the epidemic since it was first detected in the country last month — taking the total tally to 13 in the province and 16 in the country.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah directed all the government and private hospitals to share the record of all the patients with symptoms of pneumonia with the health ministry so that their medical investigation could be done to contain the spread of virus.
Confirming the fresh cases, the provincial health ministry said the department was in the process of tracking down all those with whom they came in contact recently for further testing.
“The Sindh health department has nine new cases of coronavirus in Karachi. Six patients came from Syria via Doha whereas the other three patients came from London via Dubai during the past week,” said a department statement issued late on Monday.
Six patients came from Syria, three from London
Earlier, sharing details of one patient who was among the nine new cases, the provincial health authorities said: “The 53-year-old patient is a resident of Karachi East and was tested positive today [Monday]. The patient has a travel history from Syria via Doha. All his contacts have been quarantined,” it said, adding that the total number of cases in Sindh had risen to 13 with one patient being cured and discharged.
Amid the growing number of patients in the province, a meeting of the task force on coronavirus was held at the Chief Minister House in Karachi earlier in the day, which was chaired by CM Shah.
“The chief minister directed the health department to issue an advisory to all public and private hospitals to share the data of the patients visiting them with the symptoms of pneumonia so their further medical investigation can be conducted,” said an official statement issued after the meeting.
The additional chief secretary told the meeting that on the instructions of the chief minister, he had requested the federal government to issue a health card/travel declaration to every international passenger so that his/her record for necessary screening could be maintained.
Meanwhile, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho appealed to the people to be calm and not get panicked and instead focus on precautionary measures.
“Sindh health department is working constantly to make sure that the spread of virus is contained to its best,” she told Dawn. “Our teams are working day and night to track, monitor, quarantine and test people to make sure the virus doesn’t spread. I would also request the people to take precautionary measures advised by the health department and experts.”
Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2020