GB doctor who tested positive for Covid-19 passes away

Updated Mar 23 2020

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A health worker checks the body temperature of a pilgrim returning from Iran via the Pakistan-Iran border town of Taftan on February 29. — AFP
A health worker checks the body temperature of a pilgrim returning from Iran via the Pakistan-Iran border town of Taftan on February 29. — AFP

A doctor from Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), who had earlier tested positive for the novel coronavirus, passed away on Sunday, government spokesperson Faizullah Faraq said.

The deceased doctor, Usama Riaz, was working at a medical facility screening pilgrims travelling to the province from the Pakistan-Iran border at Taftan.

A five-member medical board constituted to look into Riaz's health concluded that the doctor passed away because of the virus.

According to GB health department official Dr Shah Ramzan, Riaz had fallen sick approximately two nights ago after returning home from work — a screening centre in GB's Juglot tehsil — around midnight. He was tested positive for coronavirus and had been placed on a ventilator.

Rashid Arshad, spokesman for chief minister of GB, said that Riaz was removed from a ventilator after two days with the consent of his family.

Quoting his father, the official had said: "He told his family he was tired and went to sleep. However, he didn't wake up in the morning as he usually did.

"Concerned, his family went to his room to check up on him. But, they found Riaz to be unresponsive," he said.

Ramzan added that the doctor's family rushed him to the nearest hospital.

"I spoke to him the same night this unfortunate incident occurred," he said. "He was completely fine at that point."

GB health department director Dr Iqbal Rasool confirmed that Riaz was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

"However, the sudden deterioration in his health cannot only be attributed to coronavirus," he had said earlier, adding that people who are diagnosed with the virus do not lose consciousness and become comatose.

Riaz joined the hospital as medical officer after passing first stage of fellowship in medicine.


Additional reporting by Sirajuddin and AP.