PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has sought assistance of UN agencies for establishment of emergency operation centre, logistic support and personal protective equipments to strengthen its response to the pandemic of coronavirus in the province.

On Thursday, one more Covid-19 patient died in Buner, taking the death toll in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to nine. The province also recorded 37 more Covid-19 patients, including 17 from Peshawar, six from Kohat, five from Upper Dir, two from Lower Dir and one each from Abbottabad, Buner, Hangu, Karak, Mansehra, Nowshera and Swabi, making the provincial tally 313.

The request to the UN agencies was made by health department in a meeting held via video link with representatives of WHO, Unicef, UNDP, DFID, USAID and others on Thursday, official said.

The UN was asked to establish an emergency operation centre for Covid-19 so that coordination among the provincial, federal command and control centre could be streamlined.

“We have also requested for supply of ventilators, face masks and other equipments to strengthen care of the patients and at the same time safeguard our health workers against the infection,” they said.

One more death, 37 new cases of coronavirus recorded in KP

Additionally, the province conveyed to the partner agencies that it needed to impart training to its staff for the better management of the suspected and confirmed patients and help in establishing isolation wards in the province.

Officials said that health department required UN’s assistance to improve its response level to the pandemic. They added that they had also requested for establishing a video link facility so that meetings could be held during the crisis.

In Swat, the tally of Covid-19 patients reached 12 with confirmation of seven new cases on Thursday.

Deputy Commissioner Saqib Raza Aslam said that on March 19 an old man died in the family from which a man had attended funeral prayer of a person, who tested positive for Covid-19. The seven cases were the first community transmitted cases. All of the earlier cases were expatriates from abroad.

“Today seven persons including four females and three males tested positive for Covid-19 in the same family. The entire area has been cordoned off and data is being gathered by the health department from all those, who met the family members,” he said.

DHO Dr Syed Ikram Shah said that the infected people were isolated in their house and staff was deployed there. “The teams of district administration and district health office will remain present in the area round the clock. Proper screening of the entry and exit points has also been started in the area,” he added.

According to district health office, the total suspected cases in Swat are 118 with 12 positive, 76 negative while results of the remaining 30 are awaited.

In Upper Dir, after confirmation of a new Covid-19 case, the tally reached three on Thursday.

DHO Dr Fayyaz Ali said that he along with Operational Commander Brig Yasir Elahi, Commandant Dir Scouts Col Kamran, DPO Mian Naseeb Jan and medical teams visited the affected village Amrait despite torrential rain.

“We have examined the whole village and completed screening of the residents. We have taken samples of eight people, who interacted with one of the patients,” he said.

Dr Fayyaz said that the samples were sent to Peshawar and the results were expected to be received in a couple of days. He said that the two other affected villages were also quarantined and medical teams were sent there taking samples of the residents.

In Kohat, following testing positive for Covid-19 of a Malaysian member of Tableeghi Jamaat in Gumbat area, the administration has quarantined all members inside the mosque.

The additional assistant commissioners, Tahir Ali and Ibrahim, visited the Bilal Mosque along with the staff of the tehsil municipal administration.

Tahir Ali said that swabs were obtained from all the members and one of them tested positive on Thursday. He was shifted to the isolation centre.

He said all the members were restricted to the mosque.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2020