Balochistan braced for coronavirus

Technical team, advanced facilities ready to combat threat, claim officials

Mohammad Zafar January 31, 2020
QUETTA: Special arrangements have been made at the Fatima Jinnah Chest Hospital to deal with the harmful coronavirus which could affect the populations of Makran and Quetta Divisions.

Hospital Assistant Medical Superintendent Dr Sadiq Baloch has said the virus could affect people living in areas of the coastal belt such as Gwadar, Pasni and Turbat as thousands of Chinese nationals travelled to and lived in those areas for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) activities, adding that the people of Quetta, Killa Abdullah, Pishin and Chaman were also vulnerable to the Corona virus because they visited China for trade purposes.

Dr Sadiq Baloch also said the special arrangements made at the Fatima Jinnah Chest Hospital included a separate isolation ward where all necessary medical staff had been posted and facilities arranged for patients of the virus, adding that precautions had also been taken for the protection of hospital and laboratory staff.

He further said no coronavirus case had yet been reported in Balochistan but that a 14-member technical team and advanced medical facilities were available should that occur. He said he was closely monitoring the corona virus situation and that provincial Health Department staff had been deployed at all airports in the province.

The District Health Officer in Duki, Dr Haleem Nasir, has also conducted a special training programme attended by DSM PPHI Muhib Ullah Kakar, the polio District Officer, the EPI District Officer, the Nutrition Programme District Officer, doctors of the Red Crescent Society, basic health units and human resource personnel. Dr Haleem Nasir instructed the participants on precautions necessary to protect the population from the coronavirus and said that, although the virus was spreading rapidly, the Balochistan government stood ready to overcome it.

The government is putting in place necessary safety protocols against the China-origin new strain of coronavirus which has set off global alarms with Pakistani officials fearing if precautionary measures are not adopted on time, then the spread of the mysterious illness in their country could not be ruled out.

So far, there have been more than 6,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV – which is believed to have originated in a wet market of Wuhan city, in China’s Hubei province which has since been quarantined by authorities in an effort to stem the spread of the viral outbreak.

Sporadic cases of the viral contagion have also been confirmed in around a dozen countries as distant as France, Australia and the United States.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2020.


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