Friday Jan 31, 2020
A Pakistani student who arrived in Karachi on Thursday from the virus-hit city of Wuhan in China has been admitted for monitoring in an isolation ward of a private hospital in the port city.
A high-ranking official of the health department in Sindh told The News on Friday that the student, identified as Arsalan, will be kept in the isolation ward of the hospital at least 14 days for monitoring.
"A sample of a bodily fluid of the student has been dispatched to Islamabad for tests related to the coronavirus. If the sample comes back negative, the student might be discharged earlier," the official said.
The health department official further noted that there had been reports that patients suffering from the virus did not show outward symptoms of the disease, but were still capable of infecting others around them.
"The virus-related happenings started from early January, but as more people became aware of the contagion, people started taking the necessary precautionary measures," Arsalan told The News on Friday.
"There is a critical situation in China now. I belong to a university there, and there are lots of Pakistani students in China, including families with kids who are 6 months to 10 years-old," he added.
"I request the Pakistan government to take immediate steps for these people. I was allowed to travel from China only after doctors had carried out my complete medical check-up," he noted.
The first consignment of primers (reagents) — donated by Japan to Pakistan and aimed at detecting the novel coronavirus — have reached the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad.
The coronavirus detection kits would enable federal health officials to test at least 1,000 samples for the lethal virus, officials told Geo News on Thursday.
Coronavirus causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person to person. It was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Chinese city of Wuhan earlier this month.
The virus has now spread to at least 15 countries, infecting over 7,000 people and causing 150 deaths in China alone. Pakistan has suspended flight operations to China in the wake of the outbreak.
The 28,000 plus Pakistanis in China — majority being students — remain safe from the virus, though four have been infected. The News reported earlier this week that there are a total of 500 Pakistani students in Wuhan.
Beijing has taken extreme steps to stop the spread of the virus, including effectively quarantining more than 50 million people in the Hubei province. More than two hundred have died from the virus so far in China.