Faisal Edhi, son of world-famous philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi and chairman of the Edhi Foundation, has tested positive for the coronavirus, it emerged on Tuesday.
Speaking to Dawn, his son Saad Edhi said that his father started suffering from symptoms last week, soon after he travelled to Islamabad to meet with Prime Minister Imran Khan on April 15.
"The symptoms lasted for four days before subsiding," he said. Soon after, Faisal got tested for Covid-19 and the results came back positive today.
Saad added that his father was currently in Islamabad and was doing better. "He has not been admitted to any hospital and is self-isolating," he said.
"Initially, I had a fever and headaches. These symptoms lasted for three days," said the Edhi Foundation chairman.
"Currently, I do not have any symptoms but my test results have come back positive," said Faisal, adding that he has been directed to self-isolate for the next week.
Last week, the Edhi Foundation chairman had met Prime Minister Imran Khan and had handed over a Rs10 million cheque for the premier's coronavirus relief fund.
Faisal then appeared on Samaa TV anchorperson Nadeem Malik's show, during which he said he, along with two industrialists, were with the premier for about "six to seven minutes".
Speaking to Dawn after news broke of Faisal testing positive, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital CEO Dr Faisal Sultan, who is also Imran Khan's personal physician, said that the prime minister was currently occupied with a cabinet meeting.
"As soon as he is finished, I will meet him and recommend that he gets tested," he said. "We will follow all protocols in place and make recommendations accordingly."
Edhi workers at the forefront
The Edhi Foundation has for decades stepped in to help when government services have failed communities and runs the country’s largest ambulance service.
Due to the outbreak, it has had to train dozens of staff on how to handle suspected coronavirus patients. But providing them with proper protection has been a problem given a nationwide shortage of the equipment.
“We’ve compromised on certain things and use alternatives,” Faisal had told Reuters at his office in Karachi last month.
Faisal had said his organisation was getting dozens of calls a day from people worried that they or their relatives were infected with the coronavirus.
The Edhi Foundation was founded by the late Abdul Sattar Edhi and its operations are sprawled throughout the country. Edhi runs several shelter houses, old homes, an ambulance network, orphanages, soup kitchens, morgues along with multiple other welfare services.
Since the demise of Edhi in 2016, however, the foundation has seen a drop in donations and funds.
Additional reporting by Sanaullah Khan