LAHORE: The provincial capital on Monday reported 18 new confirmed Covid-19 patients including four Chinese, participants in the recent Tableeghi Jamaat congregation at Raiwind and a journalist from electronic media.

These new patients were from amongst 24 confirmed cases reported from all over Punjab province during the last 24 hours or so.

An official said as many as 17 Chinese engineers working at the CPEC sites across the province were separated when they showed symptoms of coronavirus.

He said a high alert was generated, health teams dispatched and the samples were sent to the labs for analysis.

The reports tested four of them positive, he said adding that the teams have isolated them for further treatment.

Panel on pattern of dengue advisory group formed for clinical management of patients

About the men who attended congregation at Raiwind, he said two of them visited a private health facility with flu and other signs of the coronavirus. As they were shifted to a state-run hospital, one of them was tested positive.

According to the official figures, total confirmed cases of the virus have reached 246 in Punjab including 52 in Lahore so far. [In Lahore, total number of patients tested positive for the virus have reached 52.]

The largest number of the total patients tested positive for the virus in Punjab were 177 pilgrims who had arrived from Iran and [they] were isolated in an education university in DG Khan.

In the related development, the Punjab government has constituted Corona Experts Advisory Group (CEAG) for the clinical management of the patients to curtail mortality rate and ensure quality treatment.

An official said the top body of clinicians was constituted on the pattern of the Dengue Expert Advisory Group which was formed by the Shahbaz Sharif-led government to combat newly emerged disease - dengue - in 2011.

He said this group of leading physicians had played a decisive role in curtailing the outbreak at that time.

Following an upward trend in the number of confirmed cases, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government in Punjab also opted for combating the coronavirus by engaging the services of leading medics of the province, he said.

The 12-member high-powered body shall be headed by former vice chancellor of the Univesity of Health Sciences Prof Dr Mehmood Shaukat.

Former vice chancellor of the King Edward Medical University and incumbent Chief Executive of Mayo Hospital Prof Dr Asad Aslam will be the co-chairman.

According to the Terms of Reference (ToRs), the body shall formulate guidelines for clinical management of the coronavirus patients in both public and private sector hospitals in Punjab.

The body shall prepare training modules for capacity building of human resource of public and private healthcare service providers, and plan, conduct and monitor such training.

It shall also analyse the data of patients in public and private hospitals and furnish recommendations for effective management of patients.

The CEAG shall also review the guidelines for management of patients in the light of new research.

“The body shall conduct clinical or mortality audit of any case of coronavirus-related management/ mortality in public and private sector hospital by itself at random or on the direction of the health department in a particular case,” read the ToRs.

Besides, it shall formulate rules of the functioning of the CEAG and prepare and furnish the budget required for its effective working.

The CEAG chairman has been directed to call its first meeting within 24 hours of issuance of the notification in order to start work without wasting time.

Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2020