WORLD Health Organisation (WHO) has lauded the efforts of Pakistani government in dealing with the novel Corona-virus outbreak as a health emergency and treating the patients as per standardized clinical protocols. WHO Representative in Pakistan Dr Palitha Mahipala said that he is impressed by the swift and diligent way the government has so far handled the crisis.
As news of the first two Corona-virus cases was confirmed by the Pakistani authorities, it sent a shockwave across the country with the people rightly concerned that our healthcare system will not be able to cope with this emergency. However, the way Special Assistant on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza and his team as well as the provincial governments responded to the challenge is really commendable. In fact, this time around our authorities did not show any negligence but appeared to be on guard since the breakout of the virus in China. Though some of the decisions of the government including the one of not bringing back Pakistani students from Wuhan city met a lot of criticism but in our view it was a step in the right direction to keep the country safe from the virus. It did not mean that the government turned its back to the plight of Pakistani students but with the cooperation of Chinese friends, their needs and wellbeing is being ensured. For this purpose a two-member task force was also deployed at Wuhan city. The response of the government was also quick when the Corona-virus cases were reported from Iran and Afghanistan as timely decisions of closing the borders and putting in place necessary screening equipment was ensured. These decisions were of great importance to avoid total outbreak of the virus in the country given the mass movement of people on these borders. However, it is important that the Zaireen stranded in Iran are brought back to the country after carrying out their screening and quarantining them for a specified period to prevent the spread of this infectious virus. Both the federal and provincial governments must continue the campaign for creating awareness amongst the masses about the virus, ensuring also that items such as masks are sufficiently available to the masses at rates which were available before the emergence of the Corona-virus.