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Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Announces Revised COVID-19 Testing Policy

by Staff Report

Under new guidelines, healthcare professionals and their families would be prioritized for testing

The government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province on Sunday announced that it had prepared a revised policy for testing of suspected COVID-19 patients, adding that it would be implemented in the coming days.

In a statement issued to media, Adviser to the C.M. on Information Ajmal Wazir said that authorities had decided to initially increase testing to 2,000 per day before enhancing it even further to 5,000 and then 10,000 tests per day.

He said the new policy favored healthcare workers, who would be tested on priority basis, as they were fighting the virus on the frontline. The family members of any confirmed coronavirus patient would also be prioritized for testing to isolate virus clusters, he said.

According to Wazir, tests would be prioritized for any COVID-19 patient with five or fewer family members, while families with more than five members would commence testing with the five at highest risk.

The de facto information minister said travelers arriving from abroad would be tested within 48 hours. He also said that priority would be accorded to members of the armed forces, and ‘essential’ workers, such as bank employees, and shopkeepers.

Wazir’s statement claimed that the province had thus far conducted 19,543 tests for COVID-19, noting that province had started the crisis with 20 tests/day and had now increased that number to 1,000 test/day.

The province continues to report the highest fatality rate due to COVID-19 in Pakistan, with the tally climbing to 180 on Monday morning. Overall, the province has now recorded 3,129 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with 811 recoveries. It currently has 2,138 active cases of the disease.

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