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Thursday Mar 19 2020
Web Desk

Coronavirus pandemic makes inroads into South Punjab

Web Desk
Photo: File

LAHORE: South Punjab is experiencing the first ripples of the coronavirus pandemic, with 14 persons testing positive out of 194 screened for the virus in Dera Ghazi Khan, The News reported on Thursday.

That number has since risen to 20. 

Talking to The News, Nasim Sadiq, Commissioner of DG Khan, confirmed that 829 pilgrims under the leadership of 64 ‘salars’/heads had been quarantined in DG Khan at three different places. 

Among them, 268 are women, 64 children and the rest are men. One ‘salar’ is leading 25 to 30 pilgrims. These pilgrims came from Iran via the Taftan border and were quarantined in Ghazi University, Chakar University and PTDC. 

Also read: Life in vibrant Karachi slows to a sputter after provincial govt's partial lockdown

Tests of 42 persons were conducted on March 15. Five were found to have contracted the coronavirus and were shifted to Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital in Muzaffargarh. 

Tests of 48 more pilgrims were conducted on March 17, while 104 tests were administered on Wednesday, whose results are awaited. 

Results of 34 people were found negative, DG Khan Commissioner said. Safety kits have been provided to all the doctors. In case of emergency, he said they have gathered all details of available ventilators in public and private hospitals. 

“Similarly, if certain ventilators are out of order, we have made arrangements to repair all essential equipment accordingly,” he added. However, he said none of the coronavirus patients had died nor required to be put on a ventilator so far.

Also read: 'Social distancing' crucial to prevent spread of coronavirus: Pakistani health expert

He said the health department had deputed four doctors, including two female doctors, to look after patients and provide treatment to the suspected and confirmed virus patients at these health facilities. “The doctors’ shifts change after every three hours,” he added.

Silwat Saeed, Special Secretary Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Department (SHC&ME), said that the pilgrims will complete 14 days of quarantine. If symptoms appear in patients, they will be sent to a hospital where they will get treatment. 

For this purpose, master trainers like Dr Ahmed Nadeem, AMS Services Hospital Lahore, Dr Tabish SMO, Services Hospital, Dr Tahir Raza, PG trainee service, and Dr Naz Akram, PG trainee Service Hospital, were sent to DG Khan, where they imparted training to the doctors.

Also read: Chinese official claims Fujifilm's flu drug helps coronavirus patients recover

Young Doctors Association’s DG Khan President Dr Nauman Chaudhry said waste of infected corona patients was being disposed of in medical colony of DG Khan but the incinerator was not working. 

"The waste could be burnt outside the city or mountainous areas. It could be harmful for the residents of DG Khan as it was transported through the city and burnt in the open in a residential colony," he said.

"The federal government, provinces and all stakeholders have been working on war-footing for safety and well-being of people of Pakistan. All resources are mobilised and measures taken for preventive and mitigation."

Originally published in The News