The health department officials in hazmat suits walk to the exit gate of the Rawalpindi Railway Station to check passengers of the last train arriving at the platform on Wednesday. — Photo by Mohammad Asim
The health department officials in hazmat suits walk to the exit gate of the Rawalpindi Railway Station to check passengers of the last train arriving at the platform on Wednesday. — Photo by Mohammad Asim

RAWALPINDI: Eight Covid-19 cases surfaced in Rawalpindi on Wednesday, six of whom were residents of Sadiqabad area.

The Covid-19 positive patients - four were German and British citizens - were brought to Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) and Rawalpindi Institute of Urology (RIU) by the district health authorities, a senior official of the district administration told Dawn.

“Out of the eight, six patients were detected in Dhoke Kashmirian, Sadiqabad. The area was cordoned off by the police to avoid the spread of the virus,” the official said.A heavy contingent of police has been deputed in the locality to control public movement while clerics also made announcements from mosques, requesting people to stay at home.

According to sources, three had returned from Germany and were hiding in their houses.

Assistant Commissioner Headquarters Mohammad Iqbal Sanghera told mediapersons that they took six coronavirus patients into custody from Dhoke Kashmirian and shifted them to quarantine centres.

Six patients are residents of Dhoke Kashmirian, area cordoned off

As many as 14 close contacts of these patients have been shifted to a quarantine centre established in Pir Mehr Ali Shah-Arid Agriculture University in Shamsabad for 14 days. If the contacts develop symptoms, they will be shifted to RIU,” he said.

Among the confirmed cases is a lawyer.

Joint Secretary of District Bar Association Mohammad Waqas Kiani Advocate confirmed the development.

According to sources, the lawyer showed visible symptoms of Covid-19 and after his tests came positive, he was shifted to an isolation ward.

The district government and health officials also brought a UK citizen and two of his friends to BBH from Ali Town after he tested positive for coronavirus. “The two friends of the British citizen were being kept in isolation,” sources said.

A total of 27 confirmed and 34 suspected coronavirus patients from Rawalpindi Division, including Rawalpindi, Jhelum and Attock, are currently admitted to the Rawalpindi Institute of Urology and Benazir Bhutto Hospital.

According to official figures, of the 27 patients in BBH, nine are from Rawalpindi, one from Attock and 17 from Jhelum. Nine suspected coronavirus patients each are from Rawalpindi and Attock while 16 patients are from Jhelum.

Commissioner retired Capt Mohammad Mehmood told Dawn that 208 people were being kept in quarantine in RIU, 24 in District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital Attock and 43 people in DHQ Hospital Jhelum.

He said a total of four high dependency units had been established in four districts of Rawalpindi Division - Rawalpindi, Attock, Chakwal and Jhelum. Over 5,000 people can be accommodated in the quarantine facilities in the four districts.

Mr Mehmood said so far 7,377 people had been screened by the health authorities of the four districts, and 797 people will be screened in the coming days.Meanwhile, scores of relatives and friends of the UK-returned woman who had died of coronavirus, were taken into custody by the district health department officials after they attended her funeral prayers. They were brought to quarantine centres for medical tests.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2020