KARACHI, Feb 27 (APP):Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah Thursday urged the media to respect the privacy of the patient tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Addressing a press conference here, he said the infection that had been declared as a global emergency affecting different countries, demanded coordinated efforts to be countered.”The Sindh government has taken the initiative to trace all 1500 citizens, who had returned from Iran this month so as to ascertain their health status and take needed steps accordingly,” he said.
Mentioning that the Federal Government was being approached to stop flights from Iran till the risk of the health condition ended, he said a control room had been set up the Karachi Commissioner’s office.
“This is to facilitate the people, who suspect themselves or those around them at risk,” Murad Ali Shah added.
He said soon after the outbreak first reported in China, the provincial government developed a mechanism to get trained a number of health personnel to handle any possible challenge. “Consequently we now have personnel at union council levels keeping track of the citizens, who had been to the countries exposed to the coronavirus outbreak and may have returned in the recent past,” he said.
The chief minister said some 1,500 people from Sindh were among the 8,000 Pakistanis, who had returned from Iran in the current month. “We are taking good care to have a data comprising all relevant details, including contact numbers of these 1500 citizens,” he said, mentioning that 28 companions of the young contracted patient had also been quarantined while their families were under observation.
“These are part of necessary precautions and not to create any unnecessary fear,” he added. Schools had also been closed for two days as part of the very strategy, he said. Apologizing that confidentiality of the patient could not be protected that might have caused inconvenience to his family, he said all the required assistance was also being offered to the family who remained exposed to the virus for almost a week.
“Since it takes 15 days for the symptoms to appear all those, who remained exposed, are being closely monitored and also advised to restrict themselves to their homes for two weeks,” he said.
Murad Ali Shah all the measures had been adopted in accordance with the guidance of the infection control experts. Diagnostic facilities were readily available at Indus Hospital and Aga Khan Hospital, he added.
“The Sindh government is in the process to have its own set-up equipped with all the needed support, including ventilators,” he said, mentioning that presently those in need of hospitalization were being referred to the AKH and the Indus Hospital.
Syed Murad Ali Shah accompanied by Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho, Dr Abdul Bari and Dr Naseem Salahuddin of Indus Hospital, Dr Syed Faisal Mahmood of AKUH and Dr Shehla Baqi of Civil Hospital, Karachi suggested the need to improve screening facilities presently offered at airports and other entry points to the country.
About masks, he said there was no shortage of the same and that provincial government was procuring them from the retailers as well as from the manufacturers at their actual rates. “Idea is that no crisis is created nor unscrupulous elements are allowed to exploit the situation.”
He particularly mentioned that hand sanitizers were also being made available at all public places so that the spread of infection was curtailed. “We all have to join hands to raise public awareness as how to avert risks to contract the virus,” said Shah urging media to play its role.
Later, Dr Syed Faisal Mahmood talking to journalists said coronavirus could be easily controlled through simple but efficient measures by the citizens themselves.