Thursday Jan 23, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has started screening passengers coming from China at all airports as countries around the world scramble to prevent the spread of the deadly disease caused by a new virus named "2019-nCoV".
A day earlier, health authorities had issued an advisory warning all the concerned to take precautionary measures.
So far, 17 people have been killed and 570 infected from the coronavirus only in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health, Dr Zafar Mirza, said all passengers arriving into Pakistan from China will have to undergo a strict screening at Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore Airports.
Talking to PTV news, he said, “we are closely monitoring the development and screening passengers coming from China.”
He added that now many Chinese have gone for new year celebrations and when they return back, they would be strictly screened by the concerned authorities.
The ministry has chalked out a detailed action plan which should be strictly followed by the airports and all concerned airlines, Dr Zafar Mirza said.
Dr Zafar said a helpline would soon be activated to facilitate prompt reporting of any possible cases.
All the hospitals across the country have also been alerted and anyone recently visiting China and found with symptoms of pneumonia, cold, sneezing, coughing and fever have been requested to report to the nearest health facility center, he added.
Dr. Zafar said, the Ministry of Health is closely collaborating with the Embassy of China and the World Health Organisation (WHO) for uninterrupted monitoring of the recent situation.
He said no case has been reported in the country.
“Major hospitals in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad are being linked with surveillance systems on airports, seaports and ground crossings,” he added.
He said there was no need to be panic as the situation was being monitored and the health department would regularly update masses about the virus.