The World Health Organisation (WHO) has lauded the efforts of the government of Pakistan in dealing with the novel coronavirus outbreak as a health emergency and treating the patients as per standardised clinical protocols.
It announced provision of immediate support to the government so that preparedness and response measures were in place to handle the situation as it developed.
WHO representative in Pakistan Dr Palitha Mahipala said, “I am impressed by the swift and diligent way the government has handled the crisis so far and WHO is committed to support them every step of the way.”
WHO has been supporting healthcare providers and facilities to build their capacity for the preparedness and response.
Dr Mahipala said that the COVID-19 outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern and all countries neighbouring Pakistan – Iran, Afghanistan, China and India – had registered at least one confirmed case of the virus.
It was critically important that countries and international organisations worked hand in hand to minimise the spread of the virus, he added.
Screenings of travelers at all points of entry to the country have been set-up on priority basis, said the WHO country head.
Screenings are currently being carried out for international travelers who are arriving at airports in Islamabad, Lahore, Sialkot, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi. The checking points have also been established for those entering from neighbouring Afghanistan or Iran at Gwadar, Taftan and Chaman ground-crossing points.
The world health body also urged the public to obtain the latest information on COVID-19 virus from key sources and follow the recommended basic preventive and protective measures.
Moreover, WHO is supporting to bolster the surveillance system to ensure suspected cases are investigated in a timely manner and confirmed as per the set international standards.
The WHO has been supporting healthcare providers and facilities to build their capacity for the preparedness and response.
These measures included training health care providers on contact tracing and case definition for suspected and confirmed cases, case management and the infection, prevention and control measures, distributing personal protective equipment to health facilities, including at points of entry, for managing suspected and confirmed cases, activating or alerting rapid response teams and distributing information education and communications materials to raise public awareness and counter rumours and misinformation.
To assist the response, the WHO has provided eight kits of medical equipment to the relevant Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMA) and health departments.