Medical emergency declared to mitigate coronavirus spread, not a holiday, says Punjab govt

LAHORE: Punjab Health Minister Yasmin Rashid on Tuesday confirmed that the number of coronavirus cases in the province had risen to 6 — pushing the country’s toll to 193 — while also warning citizens not to treat this period as a “holiday”.

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“Our job right now is to mitigate [the spread]. This is why a medical emergency was declared in the province a few days ago. Do not think of this as a holiday. We want to have the minimum number of people coming out of their homes [during this period].”

Addressing a press conference alongside Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, the health minister maintained Punjab would bear the biggest burden, when it comes to coronavirus cases in the country.

“Right now we have around 750 Zaireens that are being tested for the virus. The next batch of pilgrims is approximately 1,200 people, therefore, our number of patients will be greater [than Sindh].”

Rashid confirmed the new cases were also reported from the pilgrims currently under quarantine in Dera Ghazi Khan who had travelled from the Pakistan-Iran border at Taftan by road.

“Around 736 patients are under quarantine in Dera Ghazi Khan and are being tested,” she said, adding that the Punjab government will keep the public informed about the situation on a daily basis.

Commenting on the death of a suspected coronavirus patient in Lahore, Rashid explained that the patient — who was from Mandi Bahauddin — was admitted to Mayo Hospital late last night and was kept in isolation.

“His condition […] he was comatose and had a bleeding disorder. We had taken his sample [prior to his death] and have sent it for testing. I will only confirm the case when the test results come back positive.”

She added that the patient had travelled from Iran to Muscat before coming to Pakistan. “We kept him in isolation because he had a really strong case history,” she said.

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