Collective efforts needed to fight coronavirus, Murad tells PM

Updated April 04, 2020

Email

Says testing kits provided by NDMA had some accuracy issues and are not being used. — PID/File
Says testing kits provided by NDMA had some accuracy issues and are not being used. — PID/File

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said on Friday that it was an alarming trend that an 87 per cent rise in coronavirus cases was witnessed across the province during the past 18 days and more focused and collective efforts were needed to control the pandemic.

This he said while participating in a meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, through a video link from the CM House.

The meeting was attended by Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho, CM’s coordinator Haris Gazdar, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah and other relevant officials.

The chief minister said that there were 783 cases reported till April 3. “If the figures of the cases of the last 17 to 18 days are calculated it will show an 87 per cent increase in the infection — this is alarming and it must be contained with ... collective efforts.”

Says testing kits provided by NDMA had some accuracy issues and are not being used 

Sindh facing PPE, testing kits’ shortage

  He also said the provincial government was facing shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing kits for coronavirus and added that the medical professionals working in isolation centres and in hospitals must be clad in PPE to avoid infection risk.

“The PPEs available with the provincial government are running out, therefore, more PPEs are required,” he said.

The director general of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) told the chief minister that he sent the PPE to the provincial authorities and if they were used he would arrange more kits.

The CM also said that the testing kits provided by the NDMA had some accuracy issues, as was pointed out by experts working with the provincial government, therefore they were not being used.

The prime minister directed the NDMA to coordinate with the provincial government and resolve the issues of kits.

The meeting was told that up to till afternoon of April 3, 783 cases of coronavirus had been detected. Out of 783 cases, 342 cases are in Karachi, 51 in Hyderabad, 273 in Sukkur, seven in Larkana, two in Ghotki, one in Jacobabad, one in Dadu and six in Shaheed Benazirabad.

The chronology shows that on March 31, 49 cases were detected, on April 1, 367 and on April 2, 40 cases were detected. The number of local transmissions has reached 438. Around 297 people are in isolation at their homes, 65 patients, including 25 pilgrims, have been cured while 11 succumbed to the virus.

  DCs asked to set up isolation centres

The chief minister directed all the district hospitals to provide their extra ventilators and other equipment to tertiary care hospitals so that serious patients of coronavirus could be shifted and treated there.

He issued these directives while presiding over a meeting on health-related issues. The meeting was attended by the health minister, chief secretary, health secretary and other relevant officials.

The chief minister said that there were six tertiary care hospitals in the province, except Karachi. They are in Hyderabad, Sukkur, Gambat, Khairpur, Larkana and Nawabshah. In these hospitals, the provincial government had developed best facilities to treat coronavirus patients with severe symptoms, he added.

“I have issued directives to all the DHOs to send their extra ventilators and other equipment to tertiary care hospitals and once the pandemic is over these ventilators and equipment would be returned to their respective hospitals,” he said, directing the DHOs to expedite the exercise.

Mr Shah also talked to each DC, DHOs and elected representatives and inquired about the isolation centres/facilities they had set up in their districts.

  Over 4,500 TJ members returned from Raiwind

 The chief minister said that over 4,500 people of Tableeghi Jamaat (TJ) had returned and most of them had tested positive for Covid-19. Therefore, he directed all the DCs to keep the Tableeghi Jamaat people [returned from Raiwind] in isolation.

He said that those that tested positive, their family members and others with whom they were in close contact might also be kept in isolation at their respective homes.

In case of serious condition, the patient should be shifted to designated hospital, he added.

He directed the DCs to provide food, water, fruit and tea to the people of Tableeghi Jamaat at the isolation centres.

  SOP for testing

The CM said that there was a standard operating procedure (SOP) for testing, under which a person with travel history and symptoms was required to be tested. Without symptoms, nobody would be tested.

He also directed the DCs to ensure proper lockdown in their respective districts.

The health minister said that there were 14 experts who would visit different districts and train the health staff on how to take a sample of a suspected patient and send the same to Karachi or Hyderabad.

Meanwhile, the CM directed the health department to issue necessary instructions to the regional blood banks to provide blood for thalassaemia patients. “I am worried about the patients, particularly the children,” he said and added they must be administered blood as per schedule.

The health minister assured the CM that she was issuing directives to RBCs for giving blood to thalassaemia patients.

Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2020