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Pakistan all prepared to control spread of COVID-19, says official

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-02-27 09:20
A health worker takes the temperature of a man, who returned from Afghanistan, for a medical observation as a preventive measure following the coronavirus outbreak, outside a medical camp set up near the Friendship Gate, crossing point at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan Feb 26, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has taken all precautionary measures to fight the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and prevent its massive outbreak in the country, said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza after two confirmed cases of the disease were reported in the country.

Mirza told a press conference Wednesday night that one of the patient has tested positive in the southern port city of Karachi while the other is being treated in isolation wards of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad.

The close relatives of one of the patients all tested negative, while the screening of the family members of the other patient is underway, he added.

Mirza said both patients had a recent history of travelling to Iran, adding that both are in stable condition and are provided with the best possible medical facilities.

"I am sure that the number of patients from the disease will be very low in the country as we have declared a kind of emergency against the disease days ago, and there is unity in the country to stop its spread," he said.

Though Mirza did not reveal identities and details of the patients, history sheet of one of the patients from the Directorate General of Health Services of Sindh, where Karachi is the capital city, said the 22-year-old visited Iran with his two friends and started to show symptoms of the disease in Iran before coming back to Karachi on Feb 20.

The man reported in Aga Khan University Hospital of the city on Feb 26 when his cough got serious. He was immediately sent to isolation ward and later tested positive of the disease.

Spokesman of PIMS Waseem Khawaja told Xinhua that they received a suspected patient with a recent history of travelling to Iran at the hospital. The 61-year-old was shifted to an isolation ward as he was showing strong symptoms of COVID-19.

He said the man belonging to the country's north Gilgit-Baltistan area arrived in Pakistan from Iran a few days ago, and started showing signs of the disease upon his return to Pakistan.

Mirza said that "both cases are being taken care of according to clinical standard protocols," and things are well under their control.

Pakistan is screening all passengers coming from Iran at airports and land borders, and special isolation wards have been formed to shift the suspects for coronavirus test.

Following the official announcement of the confirmed cases of the disease by Mirza, Sindh and Balochistan provinces have announced holidays in schools, directing the kids to stay indoors.

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