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health
Wednesday Mar 11 2020
By
Web Desk

A timeline of the spread of coronavirus in Pakistan

By
Web Desk
State Minister of Health Dr Zafar Mirza. Photo: File

KARACHI: The coronavirus, which surfaced in a Chinese seafood and poultry market late last year, has now spread to more than 100 countries, killing more than 4,000 and sickening tens of thousands of people in a matter of weeks.

World health officials have declared the outbreak of the virus, which began in the city of Wuhan, a global health emergency. 

The number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infections in Pakistan currently stands at 20, but is expected to rise in the days ahead.

Karachi has been the worst affected city so far, with 15 of the total confirmed cases. Of the remaining, two cases have been reported in Gilgit-Baltistan, and one each in Islamabad, Hyderabad and Quetta.  

Here is a timeline of the outbreak so far in Pakistan. 

January 29: Four Pakistani students in China test positive for coronavirus

Four Pakistani students in China have tested positive for the coronavirus, State Minister of Health Dr Zafar Mirza confirmed at a press conference in Islamabad on January 29.

The minister, however, refused to share the names of the affected students with the media. "The government will take good care of the students who have contracted the virus," he said at the presser. 

February 12: Four Pakistani students in China recover from illness

State Minister of Health Dr Zafar Mirza on February 12 said that four Pakistani students who had tested positive for the coronavirus in China had recovered from the illness and had been discharged from hospital. 

"I am pleased to confirm that our four students that had developed coronavirus disease in China are now fully recovered and today they have been discharged from the hospital. 98% of all corona virus confirmed patients fully recover," he said on Twitter. 

February 14: Two more Pakistani students in China recover from illness

State Minister of Health Dr Zafar Mirza on February 14 said that two more Pakistani students who had been tested positive for the coronavirus in China had recovered from the illness. 

"Another two Pakistani students in Guangzhou are cured and they are released from hospital this afternoon - in total 6 students are now fully recovered. One is under treatment," he wrote on Twitter.

February 23: Pakistan 'concerned' about outbreak in Iran

State Minister of Health Dr Zafar Mirza on February 23 said that Pakistan was concerned about the outbreak of the coronavirus in Iran that had resulted in five deaths in the holy city of Qom. 

"We are alert and monitoring the situation closely and taking rapid actions to keep Pakistan safe. We fully support efforts of Iran in managing the outbreak and we stand in solidarity with them," he said.

February 26: First two cases confirmed

State Minister of Health Zafar Mirza on February 26 took to social networking platform Twitter to confirm the first two cases of the coronavirus in Pakistan. 

"I can confirm first two cases of corona virus in Pakistan. Both cases are being taken care of according to clinical standard protocols & both of them are stable. No need to panic, things are under control," he wrote.

February 27: Pakistan launches helpline for coronavirus

State Minister of Health Zafar Mirza on February 28 announced that the government was launching a helpline for the public to report suspected cases of the coronavirus across the country. 

"If you or somebody you know have recently returned from China, Iran or a country where #COVIDー19 is prevalent and if there are symptoms like fever, cough, difficulty in breathing - please report by calling at 1166," he wrote on Twitter.

February 28: Pakistan launches online platform for coronavirus

State Minister of Health Zafar Mirza on February 28 announced that the health ministry, in partnership with the National Information Technology Board, was launching an online platform for questions related to the disease.

"We are also launching an online #coronavirus platform for FAQs about the disease. Please go to http://app.nhsrc.gov.pk for more info and help spread this among your friends, family and followers," he wrote on Twitter.

February 29: Pakistan confirms two new cases of the coronavirus

State Minister of Health Zafar Mirza on February 29 confirmed two more cases of the coronavirus in the country, taking the total tally in Pakistan to four. New cases were from Sindh and federal areas. 

"I can confirm 2 new cases of #coronavirus disease have been diagnosed today in Pakistan. 1 in Sindh and 1 in Fed areas. These patients are being handled according to clinical protocols. Contact tracing has started and we will make sure all concerned are taken well care off," he wrote on Twitter.

March 1: New scanners installed at airports

Executive Director at the National Institute of Health (NIH), Major-General Aamir Ikram, on March 1 said that Pakistan had installed five new state-of-the-art scanners at airports around the country to screen for possible cases of the coronavirus.

"We are also trying to provide diagnostic services in Taftan. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is also preparing facilities for 200 possible cases of the virus," the director told the media. 

"Import tax on items related to the treatment of the virus is being abolished. Our teams are present in Taftan and are being trained how to tackle the spread of the disease," he added. 


March 3: Fifth case of the coronavirus confirmed in Pakistan

State Minister of Health Zafar Mirza on March 3 confirmed one more case of the coronavirus in the country, taking the total tally in Pakistan to five. New case was confirmed from the federal areas. 

"We have now 5th confirmed case of #COVID19 in federal areas. Patient is stable and is being managed well. I request the media to respect the privacy of the patient and the family," he wrote on Twitter.

March 6: Sixth case of the coronavirus confirmed in Pakistan

State Minister of Health Zafar Mirza on March 6 confirmed one more case of the coronavirus in the country, taking the total tally in Pakistan to six. New case was confirmed from Sindh.

"6th case of #coronavirus in Pakistan is confirmed. The patient is in clinically stable condition in Sindh and is being well taken care of," he wrote on social networking platform Twitter. 

March 8: Seventh case of virus confirmed in Pakistan 

State Minister of Health Zafar Mirza on March 8 confirmed one more case of the coronavirus in the country, taking the total tally in Pakistan to seven. However, Mirza said one patient tested positive for the virus had already recovered.

"A patient from Karachi, tested #COVIDー19 positive today. All contacts are quarantined. This is 7th case in Flag of Pakistan though 1 has already recovered & discharged & another one is ready to be discharged. If we all act responsibly we can avoid corona virus outbreak in Pakistan." he wrote on Twitter. 

"The confirmed cases in Khi last evening are in stable clinical condition, almost all of them are asymptotic. They all had travel history and were picked up during contact tracing of an existing #COVID19 patient," he added.

March 10: Virus toll more than doubles in Pakistan

State Minister of Health Zafar Mirza on March 10 confirmed that the positive cases of the coronavirus in the country had more than doubled, taking the total tally in Pakistan to 19. 

"Cases in Pakistan have more than doubled in last 24 hours. This is not surprising. Disease has spread in 106 countries. All 19 cases have brought this from abroad. All are stable. There is no evidence of local spread as yet. If we act responsibly we can avoid spread," he said.

March 11: Gilgit-Baltistan reports second case, Pakistan tally rises to 20

Gigit Baltistan reported its second coronavirus case on March 11, a spokesperson for GB government said. The patient, a 14-year-old hails from Skardu, the spokesperson added.