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Alarm as corona virus cases surge past 10,000 mark

A security guard tells students that their school is closed by authorities to control possible spread of coronavirus, in Lahore, Pakistan, Saturday, March 14, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had to undergo the coronavirus test after he came in contact with a patient a few days ago, has tested negative, Special Assistant to the PM (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan tweeted on Wednesday. On the other side, the nationwide Covid-19 cases surpassed the 10,000 mark with 17 more people dying in one day.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan was tested today for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus strain that causes coronavirus disease 2019[COVID-19]). The test used was a polymerase chain reaction (PCR). I am happy to report that his test is NEGATIVE,” Dr Awan tweeted.

Later, SAPM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza also tweeted the same, saying the prime minister’s test was declared negative.

Earlier, confusion arose when SAPM on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari uploaded a video on Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s official Instagram account about the premier’s test and later removed it.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

PM tests negative for Covid-19

“Khan Sahib’s test Alhamdolillah has been declared negative and I don’t need to give him advices, which are given free, as he knows better that whom he should meet and whom should not,” Mr Bukhari said in the video statement.

On April 21, Faisal Edhi, the head of Edhi Foundation, who had met the prime minister and handed over a cheque for Rs10 million for the Corona Relief Fund, tested positive for Covid-19. After that prime minister’s focal person on Covid-19 Dr Faisal Sultan announced that Mr Khan would undergo the virus test.

The decision was made as per a standard operating procedure (SOP) that suggests that all contacts of a confirmed Covid-19 patient should be tested.

An official of the National Institute of Health (NIH), requesting anonymity, said that usually samples from Islamabad were sent to the NIH, but in that case a team from the Shaukat Khanum Laboratory collected the prime minister’s sample and it was sent to Lahore for testing.

Meanwhile, Dr Zafar Mirza warned that the Covid-19 situation during the month of Ramazan could become serious. “It will be a time in which every person should do self-accountability if he/she is contributing to the spread of disease and what kind of role they have played in stopping the spread of disease. Upcoming days will be challenging as [Covid-19] cases and deaths will increase,” he said during a media briefing.

Dr Mirza said that as many as 66 per cent of virus cases spread due to local transmission in the country, adding that 2,156 patients had fully recovered which was over 22pc of the total cases.

“However, as many as 17 persons died during the last 24 hours. It was equal to the highest number reported twice in the past,” he added.

He said a steering group, having representation from all the provincial health ministries, had been set up to have consensus-based decisions to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to an official statement, the NIH, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), has established the Centre for Occupational and Patient Safety (COPS) and also developed Infection Prevention Control (IPC) guidelines. In this regard an inauguration ceremony was held at the NIH Islamabad.

The prime goal of the COPS is to provide continuous strategic guidance, capacity building, research and invalidation to facilitate the leaders at all levels to embrace, create and implement tools of occupational safety. The COPS will offer a range of programmes to create awareness and expedite implementation of ideas and best practices to achieve transformation in patient safety. It will play an instrumental role in enhancing patient experience, reducing risks and harm and achieving better health outcomes to improve healthcare quality in Pakistan.

On the occasion, NIH executive director Maj Gen Aamer Ikram said: “We are optimistic that the effective implementation of these simple IPC practices and functions of COPS will have an enormous positive impact in reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), and improving patient safety levels. In addition, these guidelines will influence antimicrobial consumption and strengthen the Antibiotic Stewardship programme to reduce the burden of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which is a global priority. The guidelines and the centre will help healthcare workers in prevention and safety form diseases like Covid-19.”

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About TAUQEER RIAZ (2296 Articles)
Journalist/Columnist/Blogger & Social activist. --------------------------------------------- Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tauqeerriaz On FB:www.facebook.com/tauqeerkhanutmanzai.
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