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health
Wednesday Mar 04 2020
By
Web Desk

Coronavirus: Zafar Mirza dismisses reports of govt hiding number of confirmed cases in Pakistan

By
Web Desk

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza on Wednesday said that reports of government hiding the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan because of the Pakistan Super League 2020 were false. 

"The reports of the government hiding the total number of confirmed cases of the virus in Pakistan because of PSL are 100% false," Mirza told reporters. "The government has also initiated a strategy to tackle the possible spread of dengue in Pakistan." 

"Every little case of the common cough or flu should not be mistaken for the coronavirus," he noted. "If people get alarmed and concerned at every little illness, there will soon be a panic in the country," he said.

Mirza added, "Pakistan has thankfully managed to contain the pandemic to some extent because of the preventive measures put in place by the government. This is why we managed to contain the spread compared to other world nations." 

"More than 200 people have been tested for the virus across Pakistan. Five were tested positive and their condition is improving by the day," he added.  

The adviser on health also apprised reporters that the federal government was working with provincial authorities to better coordinate the response to the possible spread of the pandemic in the country. 

"Scanners have been installed at airports and land ports in the country for those coming from abroad," he said. 

Mirza added that people should remain optimistic about the future. "We are ready for any kind of emergency," he affirmed. 

Speaking on the closure of schools, Mirza said that the health ministry had not advised the government to shut down schools in the country.  "Schools in Islamabad are not closed. However, we do not have any objections to the decisions of some provincial governments to close the schools in their jurisdictions." he clarified.

Only 2.23pc of 224 suspected patients test positive

Only five persons or 2.23% of the total of 224 suspected patients who were tested for coronavirus throughout the country since the first week of February 2020 have been diagnosed with the respiratory illness, officials at the National Institute of Health Islamabad (NIH) said on Tuesday. 

According to a report published by The News, all the five coronavirus patients, who are undergoing treatment at the health facilities in Karachi and Islamabad, had a history of travelling to Iran, officials said, adding that at the moment, hundreds of people who have returned from Iran are being monitored and suspected cases are being tested for the viral disease.

The NIH Islamabad, as well as the Aga Khan University Hospital and Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) Karachi, started testing for coronavirus in the first week of February 2020 after acquiring probes and primers from different international sources and soon after the Government of Pakistan declared them as the focal points for the testing and diagnosis of coronavirus or COVID-19.

Also read: Coronavirus: Dr Zafar Mirza says Pakistani pilgrims will be allowed to return from Iran ‘gradually’

Tests carried out all over the country

NIH Islamabad officials on Tuesday said 53 suspected patients were tested for the coronavirus in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), of which "only two tested positive" for the COVID-19, while 51 were found negative.

Similarly, the health authorities in Sindh tested as many as 60 suspected patients, claimed an official of the Sindh Health Department, of which "only two were tested positive" for the coronavirus infection, while 58 were negative for the viral disease. There is a 'discrepancy' in the total number of suspected cases of Sindh. While the province says it had so far 60 suspects, the NIH confirms only 21 cases.

The NIH Islamabad, however, said only 21 suspected patients were tested for corononavirus, and of them two were tested positive while the remaining 19 were cleared of having the lethal respiratory illness caused by the global epidemic.

Also read: Coronavirus: Pakistan confirms fifth case after Gilgit-Baltistan woman tests positive

As many as nine people were tested for coronavirus in Gilgit Baltistan, of which one person was tested positive while all the remaining eight persons were found negative, officials said.

In the Punjab province, 68 persons were tested for coronavirus, officials said, adding that all of them were found negative for the disease, and added that in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 23 suspected patients were tested for the coronavirus and all of them were found negative for the disease.

NIH Islamabad said eight persons from Balochistan and three from the Azad Jammu and Kashmir were also tested and all of them were found to be negative for the coronavirus.

'AKUH aware of spread of fake news'

There are unsubstantiated rumours of scores of suspects under treatment in Sindh, which were rejected by both the focal centres i.e. AKUH and DUHS. The AKUH said only one case was tested positive at the hospital’s lab for coronavirus or COVID-19, adding that AKUH is aware and has taken note of some individuals/groups posting fake and unsubstantiated news regarding the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and causing unnecessary panic. 

Also read: WHO satisfied with Pakistan's response to coronavirus outbreak

The Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) also rejected rumours of admitting over 400 coronavirus patients, saying at the moment, they don’t have even a single patient of COVID-19 under treatment at the health facility.

With the positive diagnosis of a 45 year-old woman from Gilgit-Baltistan, five people in Pakistan are now confirmed to have acquired Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). The woman, who is being treated at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), is stated to be out of danger.