Capital admin prepares SOPs for rapid response team dealing with Covid-19 cases

Published March 23, 2020
Private hospitals in the jurisdiction of Islamabad have been directed to ensure protective gear is provided to all doctors and concerned healthcare personnel working on the front line. — AFP/File
Private hospitals in the jurisdiction of Islamabad have been directed to ensure protective gear is provided to all doctors and concerned healthcare personnel working on the front line. — AFP/File
  • Malls, restaurants closed for a week
  • Shops to be closed at 8pm
  • Police to screen arrested suspects before placing them in lockup
  • 70 beds to be added to Pims for Covid-19 patients

ISLAMABAD: The capital administration has prepared standard operating procedures (SOP) for a rapid response team that will deal with suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19, as well as the burial of deceased Covid-19 patients.

The administration has also issued an advisory for hospitals to take safety measures for their staff, as well as a separate order to close shops by 8pm and malls entirely for one week,which will not apply to shops selling essential items like edibles and medicine.

There have been 11 confirmed cases of Covid-19 reported in the capital so far. A woman who travelled from abroad and was admitted to hospital with the disease remains in critical condition.

Private hospitals in the jurisdiction of Islamabad have been directed to ensure protective gear is provided to all doctors and concerned healthcare personnel working on the front lines, officials said. Teams from the administration will inspect all private hospitals.

The capital administration has ordered closure of all restaurants and shopping malls for one week, while shops have to close by 8pm. This does not apply to pharmacies, dispensaries, clinics, grocery stores, karyana stores, bakeries, atta chakkies, tandoors, milk shops, petrol stations, poultry and meat shops and mandis.

A notification said restaurants and cafés will be closed for a week but takeaway and home delivery services may remain functional. In addition, all shops have to close at 8pm and staff must be properly briefed on social distancing and other coronavirus prevention measures.

The capital administration has also issued an order regarding case definitions for outpatients and inpatients and contact management protocol.

In consultation with the National Institute of Health, the administration has set case definitions for outdoor patients and indoor patients to guide healthcare facilities in Islamabad on how to manage people infected with Covid-19 and their contacts.The district administration has also prepared SOPs for the safe burial of deceased Covid-19 cases in consultation with the NIH, under which the burial management team including relatives of the deceased involved in bathing should wear personal protective equipment in the presence of the family.

Bathing should be done as soon as possible after death, preferably within hours, it said. The body should be transported to the cemetery for funeral prayers, the family’s environment sanitised and infectious waste sent to the hospital.

Rapid response team

In consultation with NIH, the administration has set SOPs for a rapid response team to respond to the novel coronavirus emergency.

Each team will consist of a medical technician who will act as team leader as well as a sanitation inspector and infection prevention and control expert and an ambulance team; police protection will be provided to the team by the capital administration.

After receiving information from the deputy commissioner, team leaders will communicate with the relevant stakeholders. Medical management personnel will approach the suspected patient in PPE and take them to the ambulance. Psychosocial support experts will counsel suspected patients and their family members; an infection prevention and control team and hazardous control team will disinfect the area and safely dispose of waste, if required.

An epidemiologist and disease surveillance officer will take all the relevant data about suspected patients and close contacts, which will also be shared by the team leader with the relevant stakeholders and the deputy commissioner’s office.

Special assistant meets with Pims, NDMA officials

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza met with the heads of departments at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), as well as the hospital’s executive director Dr Ansar Maxood and a representative from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Dr Mirza said that the safety of healthcare workers was a government priority and asked the hospital’s management to submit a list of all the required equipment that will be provided as soon as possible.

Staff from public sector hospitals had announced that outpatient departments would be closed starting March 24 due to the unavailability of PPE. Hospital staff said it would be suicide for them to continue working without protective gear.

Dr Mirza said: “We will also establish a supply chain with the cooperation of NDMA. 70 more beds would be added in Pims to house patients suffering with Covid-19. Moreover, the Federal General Hospital will be designated for patients suffering with the virus.”

Police introduce Covid-19 prevention SOPs

The police have devised SOPs to protect residents who visit police stations, as well as suspects held in police lockups and police officials.

According to directions issued by Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations) Waqaruddin Syed, all people arrested by the police will be taken to a hospital to be screened for Covid-19 before being sent to lockup.

In addition, water, soap and tissue paper should be available in the offices and at the entrance of all police stations.

A police spokesperson said people routinely visit police stations with complaints, so it has been decided that complainants will be seated at a six feet distance from police personnel.

“Gloves have also been declared necessary for police officials who receive applications from complainants,” he said. Hand sanitisers and tissue will be kept in police vehicles, as officials are often busy with public dealing, he added.

- Additional reporting by Ikram Junaidi

Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2020

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