ISLAMABAD: As the death toll of coronavirus increases in neighboring China, Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered authorities to take the requisite precautionary measures and devise a comprehensive strategy to counter the danger of the deadly disease entering Pakistan.
Notwithstanding unprecedented quarantines and travel lockdowns, China’s viral outbreak death toll has risen to 81, with hundreds of new infections reported as major countries are stepping up efforts to evacuate their people from the epicenter, Wuhan.
In a letter sent to related ministries and divisions on Monday, the PM Office said that due to the huge number of Chinese citizens in Pakistan and people who frequently travel between the two countries, the spread of the virus “could not be ruled out.”
According to the letter sent by the Prime Minister’s Office, nearly 2,000 cases of coronavirus were reported around the world.
“In light of the above, the Prime Minister has desired for immediately convening a high level inter-ministerial meeting under the chairmanship of Special Assistant to the PM on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination to formulate a comprehensive strategy for tackling the threat,” the PM Office stated in the letter.
The proposed participants in the inter-ministerial meeting would be the Foreign Secretary, Regulations and Coordination Minister, Interior Secretary, Aviation Secretary, Provincial Health Secretaries, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman, Surgeon General of the Pakistan Army, Director General of Military Operations, Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs) directors general, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Director General, National Institute of Health (NIH) Director General, Airport Security Force (ASF) Director General, Director General China – Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and any other secretary / official deemed appropriate by the Ministry of National Health Services.
The meeting’s decision and recommendations are to be presented to the Office of the Prime Minister within a week.