Pakistani airports to scan passengers after outbreak of deadly virus in China: Zafar Mirza


ISLAMABAD, JAN 23 (DNA) – Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health, Zafar Mirza Thursday said all passengers arriving into Pakistan from China will have to undergo a strict screening at Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore Airports in the wake of recent corona virus outbreak in China where number of cases jumped to almost 440.

He said the health ministry through an advisory, ramped up measures to block the spread of mystery virus in the country.

“We are closely monitoring the development and screening passengers coming from China,” he said.

He added that now many Chinese went for their new Year celebrations and when they return back, they would be strictly screened by the concerned authorities.

Ministry of health has asked the three major airports to immediately implement the scanning procedure. The ministry chalked out a detailed action plan which should be strictly followed by the airports and all concerned airlines, Dr Zafar Mirza said.

Dr Zafar said a helpline would soon be activated to facilitate prompt reporting of any possible cases.

All the hospitals across the country have also been alerted and anyone recently visiting China and found with symptoms of pneumonia, cold, sneezing, coughing and fever have been requested to report to the nearest health facility center, he added.

Dr. Zafar said, the Ministry of Health is closely collaborating with the Embassy of China and the World Health Organisation (WHO) for uninterrupted monitoring of the recent situation.

He said government has stepped up its efforts to detect and prevent the new strain of corona virus, which spread across China recently, adding, no any corona virus case was reported in Pakistan.

“Major hospitals in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad are being linked with surveillance systems on airports, seaports and ground crossings,” he added.

He said citizens has no need to be panic as the situation was being monitored and they would regularly update masses concerning the virus.

He said govt has set up an emergency operations cell in Ministry of National Health Services to monitor the situation regarding novel corona virus.

The Directorate has been advised to strengthen health desk and quarantine arrangements at the Ports of Entry.

Purpose of this advisory is to alert and sensitize the health staff in all over the country to remain vigilant about any suspected cases coming from affected areas of China for early detection of suspected cases of novel corona virus infection, he added.

Dr. Zafar revealed that the Ministry of healthcare has dispatched orders to relevant authorities to take all precautionary measures to halt the possible spread of the contagion to those in Pakistan.

The government of Pakistan is currently mulling the initiation of an awareness campaign regarding the deadly virus and its possible symptoms and treatment procedures, he added.

He urged the media to refrain from sensationalism.=DNA