Monday Mar 02, 2020
World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed confidence in the way the Pakistani government has handled the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country.
“I am impressed by the swift and diligent way, the government has handled the crisis so far,” WHO’s Pakistan representative Dr Palitha Mahipala said.
He added the health organisation was committed to supporting the country every step of the way.
At least four cases of coronavirus have been reported in Pakistan so far.
Mahipala added that the COVID-19 outbreak was a public health emergency of international concern and all countries neighbouring Pakistan like Iran, Afghanistan, China and India had registered at least one confirmed case of the virus.
It is critically important that countries and international organisations worked for hand in hand to minimize the spread of the virus, he said.
To date, WHO has assisted Pakistan’s preparedness and response to COVID-19 in various ways.
As a priority, screenings of travellers at all points of entry to the country have been set-up. Screenings are currently being carried out for international travellers who are arriving at airports in Islamabad, Lahore, Sialkot, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi.
Screenings at Gwadar, Taftan and Chaman ground-crossing points have also been established for those entering from neighbouring Afghanistan or Iran.
Mahipala also urged the public to obtain the latest information on coronavirus from key sources and follow the recommended basic preventive and protective measures.
According to WHO, after a series of rigorous tests and investigations, the government of Pakistan is now treating the patients as per standardised clinical protocols.
It added that agencies such as WHO were stepping-up provision of immediate support to the health authorities so that preparedness and response measures were in place to handle the situation as it developed.
Moreover, WHO is supporting to bolster the surveillance system to ensure suspected cases are investigated in a timely manner and confirmed as per the set international standards.
The international agency has been supporting healthcare providers and facilities to build their capacity for the preparedness and response.
These measures included training health care providers on contact tracing and case definition for suspected and confirmed cases, case management and the infection, prevention and control measures, distributing personal protective equipment to health facilities, including at points of entry, for managing suspected and confirmed cases, activating or alerting rapid response teams and distributing information education and communications materials to raise public awareness and counter rumours and misinformation.