Global health body says screening measures implemented at major entry points to minimize spread of COVID-19
The World Health Organization (WHO) has lauded Pakistan’s efforts in managing the global novel coronavirus outbreak, and treating confirmed cases in accordance with standardized clinical protocols.
A report by the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan noted that the global health body had announced immediate support for the government to ensure preparedness and a rapid response for the developing situation.
WHO representative in Pakistan Dr. Palitha Mahipala told APP he was “impressed by the swift and diligent way the government has handled the crisis so far and WHO is committed to support them every step of the way.” He said the COVID-19 outbreak was a public health emergency for the globe and noted that all the countries neighboring Pakistan—Iran, Afghanistan, China, India—had registered at least one confirmed case of the virus since it broke out in China’s Wuhan province earlier this year.
“It is critically important that countries and international organizations work hand-in-hand to minimize the spread of the virus,” he said, adding that screenings of travelers at all points of entry to the country have been set-up on priority basis to monitor and quarantine anyone suffering from the virus.
Screenings are currently being conducted for all international travelers arriving at airports in Islamabad, Lahore, Sialkot, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi. There are additional screening measures at the borders with Afghanistan and Iran to monitor those traveling via land. WHO is also supporting surveillance efforts to ensure suspected cases are investigated in a timely manner and confirmed as per international standards, he said.
In his statement, Dr. Mahipala urged the public against panicking and advised them to seek out the latest information on COVID-19 from official sources. Everyone should follow the recommended preventive and protective measures, he added.
Dr. Mahipala said WHO is supporting healthcare providers and facilities to build their preparedness and response capacities. These measures include training health care providers on how best to approach suspected and confirmed cases; prevention and control measures; distributing personal protective equipment to health facilities, including at points of entry, for managing suspected and confirmed cases; activating or alerting rapid response teams and distributing information education and communications materials to raise public awareness and counter rumors and misinformation.
To assist the response, WHO has provided eight kits of medical equipment to the relevant Provincial Disaster Management Authorities and health departments.