In a shocking development, nine people who recently returned from abroad were tested positive for novel coronavirus in Karachi, pushing the tally to 15 in Sindh and 18 in the country.
The Sindh Health Department said that of nine new cases, five people have arrived from Syria via Doha whereas other patients returned from London via Dubai last week.
On the other hand, the first coronavirus case of Balochistan has been confirmed in a 12-year-old boy, a hospital official confirmed. The patient has recent travel history of Iran, said Dr Noorullah Musakhail, the medical superintendent at Fatima Jinnah Hospital in Quetta. The child belongs to Sindh’s Dadu district. This takes the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 19.
“The Sindh health department is in the process of tracking down all the contacts for further testing,” an official statement said.
So far 16 Pakistanis have been tested positive for COVID-19, the mysterious viral pneumonia-like disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Thirteen of them belong to Sindh while one has already fully recovered and discharged from the hospital in Karachi.
Dr Zafar Mirza, the de facto health minister, also confirmed the development from his official Twitter handle. “I can confirm 9 new cases of COVID-19 in Karachi. All these cases are contacts of an already confirmed case. Further contacts are being traced and tested. This makes a total of 16 cases in Pakistan,” he tweeted.
Dr Zafar Mirza said that all confirmed cases of coronavirus in Karachi last evening are in stable clinical condition. The SAPM took to Twitter and said almost all of the new cases are asymptotic. They all had travel history and were picked up during contact tracing of an existing patient, he added.
The Sindh chief minister was briefed on the latest developments with regards to the precautionary measures adopted by the government to contain the contagion, that has infected over 110,000 and killed over 4,000 people, mainly in China since its discovery in December last year.
Ministers and high-level medical and security officials attended the meeting.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah urged residents to remain calm and take precautions, even as the number of coronavirus cases in the province rose to 15, with the first case outside Karachi being confirmed.
Shah, who was chairing a meeting of the provincial task force on COVID-19, was informed that the 14 patients under treatment at various hospitals after testing positive are all recovering, according to information released by the Chief Minister’s Office.
The meeting was told that samples of a further two suspected patients have been sent for testing and their results are awaited. Out of the total 15 cases detected in Sindh so far, one patient was discharged after making a full recovery. A second patient is recovering and might be discharged from hospital on Wednesday, the meeting was informed.
Officials revealed during the meeting that a total of 162 tests have so far been carried out in Sindh out of which 147 came out negative and 15 were positive.
Chief Minister Shah noted that all of the cases to have emerged in the province so far have been “imported”. He said the government will speed up its efforts to control the virus from spreading further.
“Nobody in Sindh needs to worry,” Shah was quoted as saying during the meeting. “By the blessing of Allah the situation is under control.”
The chief minister urged the public to take all necessary precautions to prevent infections.
Earlier, the Sindh health department reportedly decided to suggest a number of measures to the provincial task force in order to deal with the threat of the virus.