GUJRAT: Two more confirmed cases of coronavirus surfaced in Gujrat on Monday, raising the figure of corona positive patients to 5 in the district. Of them four are expatriate Pakistanis returning from Spain since March 1.

Three of these patients are from nearby town Shadiwal where local health authorities carried out disinfection in narrow streets.

Of the two new cases, one belongs to Simbli Jattan village of Sara-i-Alamgir. The affected who returned from Spain two days ago had symptoms of carrying the virus. He has been have moved the Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Teaching Hospital (ABSTH) isolation ward. His contacts are being traced who too will be moved to the quarantine centre.

The second confirmed case is from Shadiwal town having no foreign travel history.

He is believed to have caught the infection from two already confirmed cases, a man and his son returning from Spain on March 15.

Gujrat DC Dr Khurram Shahzad, confirming the new cases, said that so far 80 suspected patients had been screened, with 62 negative, five positive and results in remaining cases awaited. He said all the 60 beds of the Shabeer Sharif THQ Hospital in Kunjah had been converted into isolation wards where 26 people would be shifted.

Punjab minister for environmental protection Bao Muhammad Rizwan on Monday held a meeting with the local authorities and reviewed the situation.

Meanwhile, Gujrat Assistant Commissioner Muhammad Jameel on Monday sealed a private college located along GT road where academic activities were underway despite the official ban. He got the owner and manager of the college arrested after registration of a case against them.

The AC also lodged cases against the managers of two local flour mills for not supplying flour bags in the market as per their quota.

In neighbouring Mandi Bahauddin district, three of the four suspected patients were found negative, with one result awaited.

Mehtab Azhar, the Mandi Bahauddin DC, told Dawn around 700 expatriates belonging to Mandi Bahauddin district had so far been screened by the local health authorities and most of them had arrived from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Italy and Spain.

He said one of the suspected cases had returned from Iran after a failed attempt to migrate to Europe illegally.

He said at least 12 different quarantine centres had been established in the district where 1500 people could be accommodated. He the district had already evolved an effective mechanism of tracking the expatriates through police station level committees comprising government officials.

Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2020