'Domestic transmission of coronavirus could unleash catastrophe in Pakistan'

Published: April 11, 2020
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Renowned pathologist says local transmission of COVID-19 could intensify if people didn't observe social distancing. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Renowned pathologist says local transmission of COVID-19 could intensify if people didn't observe social distancing. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

KARACHI: President of Infection Control Society of Pakistan (ICSP), Professor Rafique Khanani has warned that the second phase of coronavirus outbreak in Pakistan, which is a community spread, could have “devastating impact” on the population if stringent measures are not taken.

Professor Khanani, who is a renowned pathologist, told The Express Tribune on Saturday that the local transmission cases of COVID-19 is on the rise and it could further intensify if people do not take preventive measures and strictly follow social distancing protocols.

As of today, the nationwide tally of COVID-19 patients has soared past 4,950 with 2,410 cases in Punjab, 1,318 in Sindh, 656 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 228 in Balochistan, 216 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 113 in Islamabad, and 34 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The virus has claimed 77 lives while at least 762 coronavirus patients have recovered.

He said those living in a rural and slum areas are not taking pre-cautionary measures against the deadly virus due to low literacy level and lack of awareness “which could have dire consequences”.

He emphasised on the need to establish testing facilities in the densely populated areas to step up the identification and tracing of coronavrus patients to stem the spread of highly contagious virus.

Experts fear COVID-19 spike in densely-populated areas of Karachi

Types of tests for COVID-19

The ICSP president said there are currently two types of tests being conducted for the diagnosis and treatment of coronavirus patients.

“The first is PCR test which is widely available worldwide and identifies gene of the virus and it can detect the virus two days after entering into human body. ”

Nasal and throat swab are taken as a sample to carry out the PCR test, he added.

In the second test, he said, it is determined whether the person has antibodies needed to fight off COVID 19.

“For this purpose lgM and lgG tests are conducted and the result of the test come positive within 7 to 9 days after virus entering in human body.”

Professor Khanani further said result of 10 to 20 per cent of the tests being conducted via PCR technique in Karachi cannot be called “correct”.

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