• Centre to keep flight, train operations suspended
• Sindh minister Saeed Ghani, 24 others defeat contagion
ISLAMABAD: The death toll from coronavirus outbreak in Pakistan on Monday jumped to 23, with 1,775 confirmed cases, while as many as 25 more people including Sindh minister Saeed Ghani defeated the contagion.
So far, six deaths have been reported from Sindh since the outbreak emerged in the country a month ago. Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho confirmed one death on Monday. The 63-year-old woman, a resident of Karachi with a history of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, had been diagnosed with Covid-19 two days ago. She had returned from Saudi Arabia 10 days ago.
While addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf said: “Flight operations will be resumed gradually as we want to ensure that we would stop the transmission of virus. Similarly, domestic flights and trains will be resumed after analysing the situation.” The PM’s aide said there were media reports that international flight operation would be resumed from April 5, but it was not correct.
The PM’s Special Assistant on Health, Dr Zafar Mirza, addressing the media said the rate of local transmission had increased to over 29 per cent.
Dr Mirza said: “We provide accurate information after getting feedback from all the provinces, so I suggest the media to rely on the figures shared by us. Overall 55 per cent cases have been reported in persons who had travelled to Iran, 16pc in those who travelled abroad, other than Iran, and 29pc cases were reported due to local transmission.”
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal said that supplies, sufficient for five weeks, had been provided to Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.
“Moreover a one-window (operation) has been established at the NDMA to ensure uninterrupted supply of personal protective equipment to hospitals of the federal capital,” he said, adding that more labs were being established across the country to provide testing facility of Covid-19.
He said that Pakistan would get more ventilators and tons of other equipment and protective gears in next few days as some more cargo flights would arrive from China.
Meanwhile, Sindh education minister and a key member of the provincial cabinet, Saeed Ghani, who had tested positive for Convid-19 last week, has fully recovered. In a tweet, he said: “Alhamdolillah, I was tested today for coronavirus and found negative. I am greatly thankful to every person who prayed for my health and showed concerns. I would Insha Allah continue my job and complete my responsibility to meet the hopes of the people.” Mr Ghani had announced his positive test that prompted him to go into self-isolation in a video message shared on social media on March 23.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Human Rights announced that it has established a helpline to protect women and children as lockdowns and quarantine measures often leave them vulnerable to domestic abuse and violence. The ministry advised victims of domestic violence to contact at the helpline # 1099 or text on WhatsApp 03339085709.
Earlier, the National Institute of Health (NIH) arranged a meeting with Chinese health experts for sharing their experiences regarding the management and control of Covid-19.
According to a statement, healthcare providers including epidemiologists, doctors, and emergency management teams from hospitals of twin cities also participated in the meeting while health professionals from GB, AJK, and DHQ Rawalpindi participated in the conference via a video link.
Chinese health team comprising epidemiologists, ICU specialists, IPC specialists, medical specialists, and outbreak control specialists.
Prof Mo Minghul, head of medical team Xinjiong Uygur autonomous region, demonstrated the general perspective of Covid-19 and its management. He indicated how the Chinese community involved in epidemic surveillance and containment of virus.
Another team member Dr Li Feugsen described salient features of the diagnostic and clinical management of the patients under ICU. He shared many clinical examples of Covid-19 patients with the doctors and health staff of Pakistan. He also shared his expertise and the Chinese perspective of management of Covid patients with critical conditions.
During the inaugural session, NIH Executive Director Maj Gen Aamer Ikram said it was very important for Pakistan to take advantage of the experiences of China in controlling the pandemic. He said the NIH would continue to provide similar research and technical platforms for all provinces and regions of Pakistan in public health prevention fields.
Imran Ayub from Karachi also contributed to this report.
Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2020