GUJRAT: Local authorities face a daunting task of tracking and screening expatriates belonging to Gujrat who pose serious danger to the rest of the population in their respective residential localities.

The local administration and health authorities have so far traced around 2,100 expatriates across the district. In most of the cases, the locals approached the authorities through different means to report the presence of expatriates who returned in recent weeks.

Initially, health teams would respond promptly to locate such people but now the response seems to have slowed down mainly due to hectic exercise of preparing lists of various contacts of the infected persons.

As per official documents, so far around 100 expats are still untraceable but the apprehensions are there that the number may be hire.

A senior official told Dawn around 60 per cent of the total 90 infected patients of the virus were either expats, mainly coming from Italy, Spain, Iran and other countries or their close contacts.

That is why the number of patients in Gujrat is higher after Lahore (in the province) because the expatriates continued meeting the people around them after their return.

Three Lebanese citizens belonging to Tableeghi Jamaat are among 74 members of the religious outfit who have been quarantined in Gujrat. Seven pilgrims returned from Iran.

A senior doctor and two nurses taking care of infected patients in the Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Teaching Hospital (ABSTH) are also among the victims of Covid-19. So far, six doctors, including four from ABSTH, have tested positive.

All those testing positive have been kept in the ABSTH where doctors say the condition of all the patients is stable. The samples of two initially registered patients of the virus, father and son who returned from Spain and have completed 14 days isolation at a loca; quarantine, have once again tested positive.

They will again be tested after seven days as per the standard operating procedure (SOP) adopted by the health authorities following the recommendations of the WHO.

Meanwhile, with the addition of one more case of coronavirus, the total number of the patients testing positive rose to 91 in Gujrat district on Friday.

Out of 30 suspected patients, reports of 29 tested negative on Friday. With this the number of those testing negative in Gujrat has reached 370. Out of those testing negative, 14 are members of the Tableeghi Jamaat.

Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2020