Sindh Chief Minister (Sindh CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah, while addressing press conference on Coronavirus, has urged not to panic; added 1,500 people identified that returned from Iran and entered Sindh.
The press conference came after first two cases of Coronavirus (Covid-19) emerged in Pakistan.
One case was reported in Karachi, however; the other in ‘federal areas’.
Sindh CM said that about 1,500 people identified who have returned from Iran or had come into contact with those coming from Iran and later entered Sindh in the past 15 days.
Murad Ali Shah explained out of the 1,500 the first step to check if they manifesting symptoms of the virus.
“If yes, they will be tested. Not all 1500 people and everyone they have been in contact with will be tested,” he said.
The chief minister added that according to their information, 28 individuals may have been exposed to the virus in Karachi, 1,500 in Sindh and 5,000 all across the country.
Sindh CM said the patient in Karachi had come from Iran and was travelling with a contingent of pilgrims from the country.
Responding to a question, Shah said: “Trained personnel are going to meet people who have returned to Pakistan from Iran and ask them questions and test them for the virus, where needed.”
“We have had help from Aga Khan Hospital and Indus Hospital in training teams that will be able to test these people if they complain of any of the symptoms.”
He said schools have been shut — not because of panic — but because we want to test the children of those people who have returned from affected areas, just to ensure that it does not spread in schools.
“There will be a meeting at the CM house at 7pm everyday on coronavirus. There are 25 to 30 people who have been tasked with keeping tabs on the situation,” the provincial chief minister said.
“We need the media’s help in not spreading panic and making sure that awareness is spread about the virus.
“The Sindh government will acquire all equipment and masks related to the virus. We will pay fair price for these things to the vendors so that a fake shortage is not created in the market and people do not take unfair advantage of this situation.”
“People who have visited affected countries need to be tested and then if they test negative, they will need to be monitored.
“In case someone tests positive, they will need to be isolated so that they do not come in contact with other people. One hospital dedicated for this [purpose] and equipment for those hospitals is being procured.”
Shah said he had asked Dr Abdul Bari of the Indus Hospital to procure ventilators for the Sindh government, adding that they would pay full price for these, adding that other equipment such as heavy-duty disinfectants and masks are also being procured.
With regards to flight traffic from Iran, the Sindh chief minister said: “Flights from Iran are still coming in. I am taking measures to move the federal government to shut those flights down, so that the situation does not spiral out of hand.”
He alleged that screening at airports was not being carried out properly.
“Maybe the federal government does not have proper resources for it, so I have offered the Sindh government’s help and also asked the private sector to jump in and help with proper screening at airports.”
“It is important that people who already have procured the virus do not come in, so that this does not spiral out of hand,” he said.
“I am also taking this opportunity to tell the federal government that hospitals and doctors from the private sector are willing to help,” the chief minister reiterated.
When asked a question about how his government plans to distribute the masks that they will procure from manufactures, the chief minister said: “The first step is to procure the masks so that unfair advantage isn’t taken of the situation. Once we have those, we will ask experts on how to distribute them or sell them, and so on.”
Emphasizing the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of patients, Shah said:
“On the matter of confidentiality, it is crucial. It was unfortunate that yesterday all of that patient’s information was made public. If it was me, if I accidentally gave the information out, I regret it and I am asking that that information not be shared.”