Virus infects 4 Pakistani students


ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Services Dr. Zafar Mirza on Wednesday disclosed that four Pakistani students, who are living in China’s Wuhan province, have been diagnosed with coronavirus. Addressing the press conference in Islamabad, the special assistant said that there is no report of any confirmed novel coronavirus case from any part of Pakistan. The symptoms of this deadly virus are headache, fever, cough and respiratory problem, he added. Dr Zafar Mirza went on to say that the virus attacks three people out of 100, leaving remaining 97 unaffected. Earlier, the special assistant said utmost vigilance is being maintained and an Emergency Operation Cell at Federal Health Ministry is monitoring the situation round the clock. Thermos scanners and thermo guns have been provided to well-trained health staff at airports in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad to screen all passengers arriving via flights from China, he continued. Dr Zafar further said instructions have also been given to all major hospitals to make arrangements to receive possible cases of the virus and provide them necessary treatment. It is to be mentioned here that three persons admitted to the Services Hospital were Chinese, hailing from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, and their relevant samples were sent to a laboratory in Hong Kong for confirmation. On the other hand, the death toll from coronavirus in China rose sharply to 132 with nearly 1,500 new cases, heaping pressure on Beijing to control the disease. Fears of the spreading virus have already pushed airlines around the world to reduce flights to China and global companies to restrict employee travel to the country, while sectors from mining to luxury goods have been shaken by concerns for global growth in the event of a worst-case pandemic. New cases were reported around the world including Germany, where four people from the same company were infected after one of them contracted it from a colleague while visiting their workplace in China. Health authorities believe the virus originated from an animal and have pointed to a seafood market in Wuhan where wildlife was traded illegally. Special Protection Unit (SPU) Director/DIG Umer Sheikh has requested Inspector General of Punjab (IGP) Police Shoaib Dastgir for medical advice and logistic support for thousands of police personnel of the unit who have been guarding Chinese engineers and experts working at various sites of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor across the province after outbreak of deadly Wuhan coronavirus after having them declared as “vulnerable to coronavirus”. In a letter written to IGP Shoaib Dastgir, the SPU director has mentioned that the SPU is unit of Punjab police responsible for providing security to the foreigners, especially Chinese nationals across the province. “As the Chinese move in and out on daily basis in Pakistan it may also spread in our country and our constabulary,” reads the letter of the SPU DIG. He has sought help of the IGP that the Director General Health Services Punjab shall be contacted for medical assistance and treatment to the personnel of the SPU in case of resurgence of the coronavirus case. The DIG stated that the DG Health must also be asked to update the police about the treatment centres to shift any suspected patient of coronavirus.