Pakistan vulnerable to coronavirus; says PMA

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Amraiz Khan

Pakistan is vulnerable to Coronavirus especially in the current week when Chinese nationals working on CPEC projects will be coming back after availing New Year vacations, said Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Lahore chapter in a message here on Monday.
PMA’s message further speaks, “Almost all the Chinese living/working in Pakistan had left for China to celebrate their New Year in the end of December last year. This is a huge number because of the many CPEC projects and non-CPEC projects being sponsored by Chinese investor companies in Pakistan. The start of New Year is a family event in China and is a major festival. These Chinese will be returning back to their work in Pakistan after the New Year vacations. The influx back to Pakistan will start in the end of January and continue till the end of first week of February this year. Some of these Chinese may be carrying latent and/or active Coronavirus. We appeal to the government of Pakistan generally and the Ministry of Health/ Ministry of Immigration in particular to make arrangements for screening of all Chinese landing at various entry points/ ports in Pakistan to avoid exposure of Pakistanis to this virus”.
Another Virologist seeking anonymity said that there is no reason to be worried since WHO, UK and US authorities have not declared any emergency regarding spread of Coronavirus so far. He said that daily travel of Chinese nationals to US, UK and other countries of the World was for more than that of Pakistan on daily basis. But none of these countries has showed any concerned in this regard so far.
It is worth mentioning here that Neighboring countries of China like Mongolia and South Korea have closed their borders with China to avoid spread of Coronavirus in their respective countries.
According to the World Health Organization and national authorities, there have been at least 44 confirmed cases outside China including Eight cases in Thailand, Five USA, Australia, Four Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, Three France, Japan, Two Vietnam and one in Nepal, Canada.
Due to Coronavirus in China so far 81 deaths have been occurred, 2,827 cases have been confirmed 5,794 suspected cases, 461 patients are in critical condition whereas 51People recovered and were discharged from hospitals.
Pakistan government has stopped doctors and health experts to speak to media on corona virus issue, said a senior Professor doctor while talking to this scribe on condition of not to be named. President PMA Lahore Chapter Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Nizami said when contacted that Pakistan government should install scanners on all International airports and land routes for the scanning of International Passengers so that any Chinese national or passenger of any other nationality carrying coronavirus could be checked and isolated at the ports. He said, “We have not sufficient medical equipment to examine Coronavirus presence in blood of any patient. PMA has expressed solidarity with Chinese national over spread of Coronavirus and offered its services. Mr. Nizami was of the view that Pakistan government should ensure provision of items on subsidiary rates supposed to be used as precautionary measures against Coronavirus like sensitizer, masks etc.
He said that Government should allocate Health budget as per recommendations of WHO which is six percent of the GDP whereas we are spending even less than two percent.
For individuals, the WHO advises its “standard recommendations” focusing on “hand and respiratory hygiene”. That essentially means washing hands or using disinfectants, and covering one’s mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
The advice also suggests avoiding contact with live animals in places where there have been coronavirus cases, and not to eat raw or uncooked animal products.

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