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PM Imran urged to prepare for ‘pandemic’ as surge in cases reported

Karachi: Prime Minister Imran Khan recently held a televised address to the nation. He urged public to prepare for the pandemic in the country while ruling out lockdown in cities to contain the spread of the disease. While addressing the audience, PM Imran said, “I want to tell all of you, this virus will spread. I can see a state of panic taking hold of the country due to the virus. It is a fact that COVID-19 spread rapidly, 97 per cent of its patients made a full recovery. Of these, 90pc people experienced a mild illness similar to flu.”

Adding that the public should take precautions and should refrain from panicking, Imran said, “I fear that an attempt will be made to cause inflation as was done by hoarding sugar and wheat stocks. He warned hoarders not to take advantage of public`s helplessness otherwise there would be a severe reaction from the government against them.

Meanwhile, the surge in number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan jumped from 52 to more than 237. The situation has raised fears the outbreak could pose a major challenge to an already strained national health care system. Though no deaths or confirmed local transmissions have been reported, as per Special Assistant to the PM Dr Zafar Mirza.

While addressing the audience, Dr Zafar Mirza informed that almost all of the cases involve returnees from countries such as China, Iran, Syria, the United States, Britain and Saudi Arabia. 

“Most of the patients were in the southern Sindh province, where 172 people were being kept in isolation wards. Two others were sent home after recovery. Hundreds more were in quarantine camps in different provincial urban centers,” Dr Zafar told.

He further said that most cases were confirmed among pilgrims who returned from Iran, adding that it was the main reason for sudden upsurge in cases. “However there is no need to get into a panic over the issue as virus has reached around 150 countries and infected 172,000 people, out of them 78,000 have completely recovered. It is observed that 97 to 98 per cent of the patients get fully recovered. We have decided to put the pilgrims, coming from Taftan, in quarantine for 14 days and after that they would be sent to their respective provinces. On the other hand, provinces have also decided to put these pilgrims again in quarantine before allowing them to go to their homes.” Zafar said.

Dr Mirza highlighted “Pakistan is among those few countries which got the capability to test virus. Currently 14 labs, across the country, have been providing diagnostic facility and tests are free. However, if everyone having flu would be tested we will face shortage of testing kits. Those who have come from abroad, and having symptoms of virus, should stay at homes and contact at 1166 because team of health department would visit them at their residences.”

-DN Report

March 18, 2020

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