ISLAMABAD: As over 1,000 cases of Covid-19 and 22 deaths were reported in a single day across the country, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza on Monday announced that around 17,000 healthcare providers have also got themselves registered with the Corona Relief Tiger Force.
“Around 1,800 of them are MBBS doctors. It is very encouraging information for us as these healthcare providers will be useful in the fight against Covid-19,” he said.
Dr Mirza said special questionnaires had been sent to all the 17,000 healthcare providers, asking them as to what kind of role they could play in their localities. “We have received their replies and around 900 doctors have offered their services in telemedicine,” he said.
Since a number of public and private hospitals have closed their outpatient departments (OPDs), patients can get advice from doctors through phone calls.
Pakistan, Iran hold video conference to strengthen cooperation in fight against Covid-19
Dr Mirza said the government had already issued guidelines/standard operation procedures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. “We suggest to the masses to implement the guidelines so that the government could relax restrictions and open businesses,” he added.
The SAPM said a policy of tracking, testing and quarantine (TTQ) had been introduced due to which healthcare providers would be required in the field.
Under the TTQ policy, health teams will visit residential, industrial and commercial areas to identify Covid-19 suspects.
Pak-Iran video conference
A video conference of health ministries of Pakistan and Iran was held on Monday to strengthen joint cooperation and exchange experiences to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of National Health Services, Dr Zafar Mirza and Iranian Minister for Health, Treatment and Medical Education Saeed Namaki discussed the situation arising out of the coronavirus outbreak as well as bilateral relations.
“The ministers of health of Iran and Pakistan in the video conference shared the steps and measures taken by each other’s governments to manage the outbreak of coronavirus,” it said.
The statement said the purpose of the meeting was to exchange experiences between the two neighbouring countries to overcome the Covid-19 crisis.
Dr Mirza praised the effective measures taken by the Iranian government to fight coronavirus. He said Pakistan had established the National Command and Operations Centre to overcome the challenge of Covid-19, adding that the centre monitored the situation on a daily basis.
He informed the Iranian minister that Prime Minister Imran Khan monitored the situation himself. He said the first coronavirus case was reported in Pakistan on Feb 26.
The Iranian health minister highlighted close and fraternal relations between the two countries and said that as a national policy his country promoted social distancing and was ready to share its experience with Pakistan.
Dr Mirza said Pakistan had so far conducted more than 213,000 Covid-19 tests, adding that over the past 24 hours nearly 10,000 tests had been conducted in different parts of the country. He said the government was trying to take the screening level to 20,000 a day.
Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2020