Coronavirus will not become epidemic in Pakistan: Dr Zafar Mirza

We need to take precautions and fulfil our responsibilities to stop spread of the disease, says health minister

News Desk February 26, 2020
Dr Zafar Mirza. SCREENGRAB

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Soon after the first two cases of coronavirus reported in the country, State Minister for Health Dr Zafar Mirza has assured that the contagious disease will not take a form of outbreak in Pakistan.

He was addressing media with Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan in Quetta late Wednesday night.

Authorities have already taken all the measures needed to control the spread of highly contagious disease, Dr Mirza added. "There is no need to create panic. We need to take precautions and fulfil our responsibilities to stop the spread of novel virus."

The de facto federal health minister urged the people that if someone has travelled from any country where coronavirus is prevalent than they should contact the doctor.

He also said that Pakistan is the last country in the region which is affected by the deadly disease and assured that the country is on the right track and there is "no fear of epidemic".

Pakistan confirms first two coronavirus cases 

On the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Dr Mirza said the health ministry will daily brief the media regarding the coronavirus.

Earlier, the health minister has confirmed first two cases of novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the country.

“I can confirm first two cases of coronavirus in Pakistan. Both cases are being taken care of according to clinical standard protocols & both of them are stable,” Dr Zafar Mirza, the special assistant to the prime minister on National Health Services, wrote on his official Twitter handle.

However, he added that “things are under control and there is no need to panic”.

Though Dr Mirza didn’t name the patients, the Sindh Health Department identified one of them as 22-year-old Yahya Jaffri, who recently flew into Karachi along with his family from Iran where the viral outbreak has killed at least 19 people.

Jaffri is believed to have contracted the virus in Iran.

Jaffri and his family have been placed in quarantine and the health department is in the process of examining all the passengers he has travelled with.

The government has deployed 67 doctors at its border crossing with Iran to treat suspected patients of the deadly virus. At the same time, the provincial authorities have declared a “coronavirus emergency” in five districts of Balochistan – Chagai, Washuk, Panjgur, Kech and Gwadar – as a preemptive measure

Meanwhile, activities at the Pak-Iran border remain suspended as the provincial government has completely sealed the border at five points not allowing anyone to cross into Pakistan from Iran.

The authorities have also announced it would not allow around 5,000 pilgrims currently in Iran to return following the outbreak of the infestation there.


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