Pakistan has confirmed the first two cases of the novel coronavirus in the country, in a tweet, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza informed about the recent development.
In the tweet, he writes “I can confirm the first two cases of coronavirus in Pakistan. Both cases are being taken care of according to clinical standard protocols & both of them are stable,” he wrote.
“No need to panic, things are under control,” he added, announcing that he will hold a press conference tomorrow on his return from Taftan.
Furthermore, while addressing a late-night press conference in Quetta on Wednesday, Mirza clarified that the first case was reported in Sindh while the second was confirmed in “federal areas”.
He added that both the affected persons have travel history with Iran in the last two weeks, however, he did not elaborate further on the two cases.
Pakistan has already closed its border with Iran in the wake of an outbreak that Iran is facing right now. At the time of writing the article. 19 people have died of the disease also called Covid-19. Iran had first reported its case on Friday.
The patient is said to have traveled from Iran to Karachi by plane on February 20. He and his family have been placed in quarantine and the Health Department is in the process of examining all the passengers that he traveled with, the statement added.
As reported by Dawn, English news daily from Pakistan, Yousuf said the man had started showing symptoms while he was in Iran. His tests were carried out today at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) which turned out to be positive.
Yousuf said the Sindh government has informed the federal government, World Health Organisation and other partners about the confirmation of the virus in the patient. “The passengers who traveled with him were exposed as well; we will track down all the passengers and carry out their tests,” she added.
No information was immediately available about the second case identified in Pakistan.
Pakistan and neighbors are vulnerable to the rapid spread of the virus
Pakistan has been spending less than 1% of its GDP on health for decades. It has only slightly improved in recent years.
Pakistan and its neighbors like India and Bangladesh are quite vulnerable to the spread of the disease. One of the major contributing factors is the high density of the population. Also, healthcare awareness among rural populations is low and the public healthcare system is not up to the standards of the developed economies.
Earlier Pakistan did not evacuate its citizens from Wuhan who pleaded to be rescued with a concern that their healthcare system may not be able to cope up with the infection spread.
Approximately 500 Pakistani citizens, mostly students were stuck in Wuhan, China, a city quarantined after the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.
India had earlier reported three cases of coronavirus, all are said to have recovered and virus free.