Dr. Zafar Mirza, PM Special Assistant on Health, denied media reports that a case of coronavirus was registered in Pakistan.
Reports of a case being treated at Multan had come in on Friday evening. Yet in a Twitter post, Dr. Mirza denied this.
“We expect responsible reporting by media. Please do not add to nation’s anxiety about coronavirus and meticulously check facts before reporting,” he urged.
He also reported that there were no suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus in Pakistan at midnight on Friday.
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The Emergency Operations Centre, he said, is on high alert and we are working closely with the Chinese authorities. “In this job, too, leading domestic and international health experts are mobilized,” he wrote, tagging Pakistan’s World Health Organization.
He said on Friday that Pakistan has no facility to diagnose the coronavirus of China. “The coronavirus can be diagnosed only by specialized virology laboratories,” the PM’s aide said in a statement. “Pakistan does not have the diagnostic facilities.”
He said that for coronavirus diagnosis, the Ministry of National Health Services had contacted virology laboratories in China, Hong Kong and Holland.
Dr Mirza said it would send samples from suspected cases of coronavirus to those laboratories.
As a response to the virus, Pakistan developed an emergency operations room earlier this week. All flights coming from China, direct and indirect, are currently under strict supervision. Dr Mirza also posted photos of the passenger screenings upon arriving at the airport.
There are 41 direct or indirect Chinese flights landing in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi each week.
“These entry points are being monitored closely in accordance with the International Health Regulations,” Dr Mirza said on Wednesday. He said authorities have enhanced their processes of control, quarantine and case management.
Previously, the Ministry of National Health Services directed health officials to monitor coronavirus spread from the Wuhan province of China.