Coronavirus: Pakistan suspends direct flights to and from Iran

Coronavirus: Pakistan suspends direct flights to and from Iran

Pakistan on Thursday suspended direct flights from and to Iran that would be effective from ‘midnight between February 27 & 28’ for an indefinite period.

According to a statement issued on Thursday, the Aviation Division has decided to cease all direct flights between Pakistan and Iran with effect from midnight between February 27 and 28, 2020 till further notice.

During his visit to Pakistan-Iran border at Taftan on Thursday where he reviewed the safety measures, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza said the federal and provincial governments are collectively taking concrete steps to cope with coronavirus.

The special assistant said that strict screening is being carried out at all the airports and the ground routes.

He said a helpline 1166 has also been established to effectively deal with the challenge.

On Wednesday, Pakistan confirmed two cases of coronavirus, the State Minister of Health said on Wednesday, marking the first recorded cases of the virus in the country.

“Both cases are being taken care of according to clinical standard protocols & both of them are stable,” Zafar Mirza, tweeted Wednesday. “No need to panic, things are under control.”

Dr. Mirza said he would hold a news conference Thursday.

Earlier, Sindh Health Department also confirmed first case of the coronavirus in Karachi.

According to Sindh Health Department, 22-year-old Yahya took a flight to Karachi from Iran. Patient and his family were immediately placed in quarantine at a hospital.

Pakistan has temporarily closed its border with Iran to try to prevent the virus from spreading.

Health officials believe the outbreak originated in a large wild animal and seafood market in Wuhan, China. Of the first 41 cases, 27 had some exposure to that market.

Coronavirus likely came originally from bats, scientists say. It isn’t known exactly where or how it jumped to humans, though. The virus is now spreading in the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, Latin America and other parts of the world.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Deaths from novel coronavirus

The virus has now infected more than 80,000 globally, killing at least 2,700.

CHINA: China has reported 2715 deaths and total of 78073 cases in the country.

IRAN: Iran’s state television says 19 people were killed by the coronavirus and the total number of confirmed cases rose to 139.

SOUTH KOREA: South Korea coronavirus cases top 1,000 with 12 deaths.

HONG KONG: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Hong Kong has reached 85, with two known deaths from the outbreak.

JAPAN: Japan on Feburary 26 reported a total of three deaths from the deadly virus.

ITALY: 12 people have died in northern Italy of coronavirus, while the number of confirmed cases has risen to 374.

FRANCE: France has reported two coronavirus death.

Symptoms of the virus

The virus infects the lower respiratory tract. Patients initially develop a fever, cough and aches, and can progress to shortness of breath and complications from pneumonia, according to case reports. They might develop nausea, with vomiting and diarrhea. Some become only mildly ill, or are infected but don’t get sick. Others are mildly ill for a few days, then rapidly develop more severe symptoms of pneumonia.

Who is most at risk?

Adults of all ages have been infected, but the risk is highest for older people and those with other health conditions such as diabetes.

How is the virus spread among humans?

It is likely spread through a cough, sneeze or other contact with saliva, Chinese officials say. There is no evidence of transmission by aerosol, or through the air. MERS and SARS spread mainly through “respiratory droplets” produced when someone coughs or sneezes. Those two viruses spread mostly through close contact.

Could goods imported from China carry the virus?

That is unlikely, the CDC says. Coronaviruses generally don’t survive long on inanimate surfaces, according to researchers.

Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus

Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

Wash your hands frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider
Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves. 

Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading

Follow the guidance outlined above.

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover. Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers. Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.