Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Thursday urged the federal government to suspend flights to and from Iran till the coronavirus situation is brought under control after the countries first two cases emerged a day earlier.
Addressing a press conference over the virus, the chief minister said the first patient in Karachi had travelled to Iran and returned to Pakistan by air on February 20.
He said the family members of the patient have not been diagnosed with the virus and confirmed that the 1500 passengers who travelled from Iran have been identified and will be kept under observation for 15 days.
The chief executive of the province said trained personnel will meet people who have returned from Iran and ask questions. He added the people will also be tested for the virus.
“In case someone tests positive, they will need to be isolated so that they do not come in contact with other people.
He added that one hospital in the provincial capital will be designated for the purpose and equipment is being procured.
The chief minister further said airport screening must be improved, adding that he has spoken to private hospitals to provide doctors who are more experienced and can identify suspected patients.
Two coronavirus cases emerge in Pakistan
Shah also said that educational institutions will remain closed on Thursday (today) and Friday (tomorrow) across the province, because the people who travelled to Iran also met their children.
“Precautionary measures are important to avoid its spread,” he said.
He requested cooperation from the media to avoid creating panic and to work with the government to ensure the safety of its citizens and also urged media outlets to ensure the privacy of patients and not share their personal information.
Referring to protective equipment, the chief minister said there is a need for masks and medicines to protect people from the virus.
“The Sindh government will acquire all equipment and masks related to the virus. We will pay a fair price for these things to the vendors so that a fake shortage is not created in the market and people do not take unfair advantage of this situation.”
“Stockpiling of masks has resurfaced. We want to secure and seize the stock of face masks,” Shah remarked.
He further stated that the provision of protective equipment will be ensured and guaranteed the arrest of profiteers that are selling masks at higher prices.
Shah informed that hand washing arrangements are being made in public places and isolation wards are being established in different hospitals across the province.