ISLAMABAD/RAWALPINDI - Following the confirmation of two Coronavirus cases in Pakistan, the health authorities yesterday started taking more drastic measures at hospitals as well as all entry and exit points in order to control further spread of the virus in the country.

Fresh reports revealed that three more suspected Coronavirus carriers were detected in the Rawalpindi district, who were later moved to the Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) for medical treatment.

In a related development, Pakistan also suspended all direct flights between Pakistan and Iran in order to control further spread of the Coronavirus in the country.

Meanwhile, National Assembly Committee on National Health Services (NHS) yesterday directed the government to establish Coronavirus (COVID-19) isolation wards in all provinces at distance from populated areas.

The meeting, held here under the chairmanship of MNA Khalid Hussain Magsi, was briefed about the cases of Coronavirus recently reported in Pakistan.

The ministry officials informed the committee that ministry has strictly observed the screening process in all entry points especially at the Pak-Iran border and international airports. Moreover, the isolation wards have also been established to facilitate the patients suffering from the disease.

The Committee was further briefed that ministry has fully intact with authorities and is take all precautionary measures in collaboration with the National Health of Institute (NIH) to control the virus and in this regard the Haji Camp is converted in isolation ward to meet the emergency requirement.

The Committee directed to establish the Isolation Ward in all provincial headquarters keeping in view that these ward should be far away from the population areas in order to save the people from this disease.   

Meanwhile, the Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) formed special teams of Drugs Inspectors at federal and provincial level to ensure the availability of Personal Protection Equipments (PPEs) in the country.

In a statement, the ministry said that the government is ensuring the provision of all PEEs including face masks on the price of December 2019.

DRAP also visited the masks manufacturing company and directed to provide the items on the prices of December 2019.

The statement released said that all companies manufacturing masks in Karachi and Islamabad have been contacted and asked to provide more stock in the market.

The statement also said that strict action will be taken upon companies and individuals found in illegal sale of the PPEs.

The PPEs include Tyvek Suits, Disposable Gowns, Face Shields, and Surgical Mask, N-N9Mask, bio Hazard Bags, Googles, Shoe Cover and Hand sanitizer.

It said that the teams shall ensure free availability of these items, to identify the stockiest who are in black marketing and take action against such culprits in collaboration with local administration and law enforcement agency. 

Earlier DRAP allowed export of PPEs over Rs2.98 million in quantity including 10,000 N-95 masks despite banning its trade from country.

DRAP allowed four companies to export PPEs to different regions of China and titled it a ‘donation.’

Meanwhile, DRAP head Asim Rauf had said that restriction on export of PPEs still exists and export was allowed under a special request from China.

On the other hand, Spokesperson PIMS Dr. Waseem Khawaja said that the only Corornavirus (COVID-19) confirmed patient admitted to the hospital is stable and under treatment.

According to latest reports, three more suspected Coronavirus carriers were detected in the Rawalpindi district and were later moved to the Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) for medical treatment.

The district administration along with health experts had scanned as many as 46 pilgrims who returned Pakistan from Iran after visiting holy places and found two Coronavirus suspect travellers.

According to officials, the suspected Coronavirus patients have been identified as Habib Mehdi (63) and his wife Kalsoom (58) who were later moved to the Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) for medical treatment.

The doctors have kept the suspected Coronavirus patients in High Dependency Unit (HDU), the officials added.

Another Coronvirus suspected Chinese national was also brought to BBH for medical treatment but his identity could not be disclosed by doctors.

The doctors have taken samples of the patients and sent to National Institute of Health (NIH) for examination, they said.

Similarly, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) decided to continue the flights between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as per schedules. However, the Ummrah pilgrims and tourist visa holders from Pakistan will not be allowed to fly to Saudi Arabia.

According to the spokesperson, the CAA has also set up an emergency control room at the Islamabad Airport.

BBH Medical Superintendent Dr Muhammad Raffique told media that that the two suspected patients arrived in the hospital and samples had been sent to the NIH for Coronavirus tests. 

He said that the patients were in better condition and they were suffering from fever and flu.

He said that BBH was declared focal hospital for the Coronavirus in Rawalpindi while the quarantine had been established in Rawalpindi Institute of Urology and Kidney Centre. 

The Aviation Division has also decided to suspend all direct flights between Pakistan and Iran, says a press release issued here.

Meanwhile, the citizens are facing potentially a shortage of surgical masks after detection of suspected Cronavirus patients in the twin cities.

The medical stores’ owners have also jacked up prices of the medical masks creating panic among the citizens.

Unfortunately, the district government has not taken any action against the profiteers and hoarding mafia in the city.

According to available details, the medical mask available earlier at Rs 5 is being sold at Rs 25 to 30.  Similarly, the prices of other masks including 3m 9001 is being charged Rs 205 per piece, 3m 8210  n95 without filter is being sold at Rs 170 and 3m 8210 n95 with filter Rs 180.