ISLAMABAD/GILGIT - The fifth case of novel coronavirus was confirmed in Pakistan on Tuesday as authorities gear up to ensure preventive measures by involving health officials across the country.

Gilgit Baltistan Health Secretary Rasheed Khan told reporters here on Tuesday that a new patient was identified as a 45-year-old female resident of Gilgit. The provincial government sent the test samples of nine suspected patients to National Institute of Health Islamabad. One of the samples was tested positive, he said. He said that the patient was admitted to an isolated ward of the hospital.

Another official Usman Ahmed said that the government had announced that all public and private educational institutions would remain closed till March 7 as a precautionary measure to prevent spread of the virus. He said that educational institutions will be reopened only when the corona virus threat level decreased.


He said that the Pak-China border was also closed for all kind of activities. Federal Board of Islamabad also cancelled the upcoming examination for matriculation due to threats of the virus. Also, he appealed to the public not to spread unnecessary rumors. However, he asked the residents to avoid contact with foreigners as far as possible and for at least two weeks.



Experts call for shifting special ward from PIMS


The confirmation of two novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the federal capital raised concerns of the citizens and health professional on Tuesday as they urged the government to shift the isolation ward from already overcrowded PIMS hospital to reduce the virus spread threat at the hospital.

The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) has so far confirmed five COVID-19 cases in the country including two from Islamabad.

Health experts and citizens call for declaring Federal General Hospital (FGH) Chak Shahzad as the ‘Corona Quarantine Center’ for all suspects and possible confirmed patients.

The PIMS hospital has allocated a ten-bed isolation ward for the suspects monitored by infectious control department of the hospital. The confirmed patients have been further put in isolation separating them from the suspects.

Keeping the patients flow at the PIMS, citizens and health professionals have urged shifting the ward from the already overcrowded hospital to a separate place for better treatment and reduce the chances of the disease spread.

Former administrator PIMS Dr. Altaf Hussain talking to The Nation said that PIMS daily Outdoor Patient Department (OPD) has crossed the figure of examining 10,000 patients and putting COVID-19 burden on it is risky.

He said that spread of COVID-19 in rush is more dangerous and the health ministry should have set up a separate and less populated facility for specifically receiving and treating COVID-19 suspects and confirmed patients. 

Dr. Fazal-e-Rabbi, head of Young Doctors Association (YDA) PIMS, said that suspected and identified cases are a bigger threat in PIMS than the confirmed cases.

He said that the confirm cases are kept in isolation and preventive measures are taken in the isolation ward, but it is difficult to trace the suspect cases.

Dr. Fazal said that the government has earlier delayed providing Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) in the hospital but now the supply has started.

Dr. Fazal-e-Rabbi said that government should allocate a separate medical center for the suspects coming from Iran and China and examine them there before shifting them to hospital to avoid the possible spread.

Earlier National Assembly Committee on National Health Services (NHS) has also directed the government to establish Coronavirus (COVID-19) isolation wards at distance from populated areas.