Public asked to follow basic preventive measures against Coronavirus
PESHAWAR: The World Health Organization (WHO) Sunday urged the public to obtain the latest information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) 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 standardized clinical protocols.
It added that agencies such as WHO were stepping-up provision of immediate support to the government so that preparedness and response measures were in place to handle the situation as it developed.
It said Pakistani health authorities confirmed two cases of COVID-19. Both confirmed cases are from citizens who traveled to Iran for pilgrimage and subsequently returned to their hometowns of Karachi and Rawalpindi with initial respiratory symptoms of the virus. Representative of the WHO in Pakistan, Dr Palitha Mahipala, expressed concern over the current situation.
“I am impressed by the swift and diligent way, the government has handled the crisis so far, and WHO is committed to support them every step of the way,” he added.
He said that the COVID-19 outbreak was a public health emergency of international concern and all countries neighboring Pakistan like Iran, Afghanistan, China and India had registered at least one confirmed case of the virus.
It was critically important that countries and international organizations worked 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 travelers at all points of entry to the country have been set up.
Screenings are currently being carried out for international travelers 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.
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.
WHO 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 rumors and misinformation.
To assist the response, WHO has provided eight kits of medical equipment to the relevant Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMA) and Departments of Health. – APP