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Monday Mar 16 2020

Sindh govt's efforts to curb spread of coronavirus commendable: AKUH experts

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KARACHI: Sindh government's efforts in slowing down the spread of the novel coronavirus in the province were commendable, said experts at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) on Monday.

“COVID-19 cases are gradually on the rise in the country and eventually it would spread and infect more people in Pakistan but all the efforts are being made to slow down its spread among people and communities," Dr Faisal Mahmood, an Infectious Diseases expert said while addressing a press conference at the Aga Khan Hospital.

Dean AKU Medical College Dr. Adil Haider, interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shagufta Hassan, Asim Belgaumi, Salma Jaffer, Dr Zahra Hasan, Iqbal Sadruddin along with several experts and officials were also present.

"Closure of educational institutions and large gatherings are part of efforts to contain its spread. More measures and steps can be taken by the authorities to keep people safe”, he said.

Dr Mahmood said unlike China, Italy, and Iran, Pakistan has its own challenges and it needs to take measures to slow down the spread of the coronavirus so that pressure on the healthcare facilities could be minimised.

“We know that there is no vaccine for this virus so far but we know if this virus enters into a community, a large number of people get infected with it, they get recovered from it and then cases start reducing, he noted.

"Those who have contracted the virus will not be infected again. But if we don’t do anything, a large number of people would get infected and that would be uncontrollable”, Mahmood said.

"Pakistan is not capable of dealing with and treating a large number of patients with COVID-19," he said.

Urging people to keep social distancing and wash their hands regularly with soap and water frequently, he said coronavirus does not get into the people itself, instead, people take it to their bodies through their own hands by rubbing their nose, eyes, and mouth.

People should avoid large gatherings, especially elderly people who are at greater risk due to COVID-19, he added.

“The overall mortality due to coronavirus is around 2% but among elderly people, it is around 16%. People of younger ages largely remain safe but elderly people, as well as those with compromised immunity, are at greater risk due to this virus”, the infectious diseases expert added.

Dean AKU Medical College said: "COVID-19 screening, testing, and treatment protocol followed by the AKUH is the same protocol that is being followed worldwide. Due to a shortage of testing kits, tests across Pakistan are only being performed on Persons Under Investigation (PUIs). These are people who have fever, cough and/or respiratory problems, travel history in the last 14 days and/or contact history with a known COVID-19 patient."

AKUH experts said patients who are tested positive for COVID-19 are being informed by the government about their results and being directed to hospitals admitting COVID-19 cases.