Coronavirus puts Pakistan on high alert, first case reported

Health

Islamabad: The first case of coronavirus has been diagnosed in Pakistan as the country is on a high alert after the deadly virus outbreak in neighboring China.

According to reports a person in eastern city of Multan showing symptoms of the virus was admitted to a hospital on Friday.

Coronavirus patient had traveled from China to Dubai and reached at Karachi on January 21.  He was shifted to the isolation ward.

The respiratory coronavirus has affected more than 800 in China and killed at least 26 so far. The outbreak began last month in the city of Wuhan in China.

Scientists have identified the illness as a new kind of coronavirus, a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold.

Typical symptoms of the disease include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is common, but not always present. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, have also been reported.

Earlier, Pakistan’s Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza had said the country lacks the facility to detect the deadly coronavirus.

Pakistan is a regular destination of Chinese nationals while there are 28,000 Pakistani students in China. Pakistani traders also visit China regularly for business trips increasing fear of the deadly virus outbreak in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has announced that as a precautionary measure prospective passengers on its flights will be pre-screened for coronavirus at the Beijing Airport.

Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has tweeted on the matter and said that the authority is vigilant about the spread of coronavirus across Asia.

“NDMA in collaboration with Army Medical Corps, Ministry of Health and relevant stakeholders initiated precautionary measures to keep Pakistan safe from the threat,” the tweet further said.

Animals are suspected to be the primary source of the coronavirus outbreak, with Chinese health officials saying the virus originated from the market where wild animals were illegally sold. Studies published this week suggest that the virus may have originated in bats or snakes.

The coronavirus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003. Like SARS, it can be passed among people through the respiratory tract. The first case of the new virus was confirmed on December 31, 2019.

The virus has since been detected in Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and the United States. (Courtesy: IRNA)

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