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KP to quarantine 250 pilgrims arriving from Iran

KP to quarantine 250 pilgrims arriving from Iran

PESHAWAR: The health authorities have made arrangements to quarantine about 250 pilgrims arriving from Taftan to Dera Ismail Khan as a woman returned from United Kingdom a week ago to Mansehra has been tested positive for coronavirsu on Tuesday.

So far, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has confirmed 16 coronavirus cases, including 15 pilgrims from Iran and another from UK as both the countries are struggling to tackle the violent circulation of COVID-2019. “The people the woman came in contact with are being monitored,” officials said. She has been admitted to hospital.

They said that they had dedicated Gomal University Dera Ismail Khan to quarantine the pilgrims reaching on Wednesday. “Iran has been the epicentre of coronavirus disease in the Middle East and most of the pilgrims coming from there are said to be positive for the virus,” they added.

On Monday, 15 of the 19 pilgrims, who had arrived in Dera Ismail Khan, were tested positive for COVID-2019 at Khyber Medical University, Peshawar.

“We are also expecting another positive case, who arrived from UK to Mansehra on March 10. The patient presents signs and symptoms due to which he has been quarantined,” said officials.

Woman tests positive for coronavirus in Mansehra

Adviser to Chief Minister Ajmal Khan Wazir told a press conference that that government had alerted all hospitals and relevant departments to counter the threats posed by the COVID 2019.

He said that a task force with Chief Minister Mehmood Khan as its head was monitoring the situation constantly. He said that government also reduced two months sentence of all prisoners but the decision would not be valid for prisoners detained on charges of terrorism.

”We have established 200-bed isolation ward in Mufti Mehmood Hospital and Gomal Medical College D I Khan to take care of the patients,” he said. So far 65 patients have been tested and 15 of them are positive while 33 have been cleared and the tests of 17 are yet to return.

Meanwhile, WHO representative in Pakistan Dr Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala visited Services Hospital and Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar on Tuesday where he was briefed about the corona ward.

LRH director Dr Kahlid Masud asked for personal protective equipment and other medical supplies to be able to cope with outbreak situation. He also requested for assistance to transport the samples taken from the suspected patients to laboratory safely, which was accepted by the visiting delegates, officials said.

The ward’s strength can be raised to 60 from the existing 24 if some equipment are provided to it by the government. The ward requires more ventilators and respirators to deal with critically-ill people.

Flanked by WHO head of sub office in KP Dr Mohammad Saeed Akbar, Dr Palitha also visited Khyber Medical University where he was informed about the testing facilities, officials said.

He was informed that KP Public Health Reference Lab at KMU was conducting tests of suspected patients. The lab got human resources and kits and was able to perform 48 cases per day that could be enhanced to 600 daily in case of outbreak.

On the occasion, the WHO representative pledged to give PPEs to KMU for safety of staff involved in investigation, officials said. The WHO has so far assessed 33 isolation wards established by the health department for suspected patients in the province.

Officials in health department said that KMU had also offered the government to use its newly-built hostel as quarantine facility for the suspected patients. The hostel has yet to be allotted to students and therefore 150 isolation beds could be arranged there.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2020

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