‘Premature’ to say all deaths taking place due to coronavirus: Zafar Mirza

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza on Friday said that it would be “premature” to say that all deaths occurring in the country were due to Covid-19.

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Speaking at a media briefing in Islamabad, Mirza said that the primary method of ascertaining whether a person died due to Covid-19 is a laboratory test. “If tests haven’t been done, you cannot say whether a person has died from Covid-19,” he said, adding that without testing, any conclusions would be “mere speculation”.

The SAPM added that the government would issue an advisory in the coming days for doctors working in emergencies about how they should receive dead on arrival or critically ill cases.

“The advisory will contain instructions on how and when to carry out tests of such people if doctors clinically suspect they are Covid-19 positive,” Mirza said.

Referring to media reports claiming the number of deaths in Sindh was much higher than being reported, Mirza said that the Sindh health minister had started a process of contact tracing after some recent unexplained deaths, which he termed a welcome move.

Increased testing capacity

The SAPM said that 6,264 coronavirus tests were conducted across the country on Thursday, adding that it was the highest number of tests in a single day so far.

He revealed that Pakistan now has nearly one million testings kits and more than 20,000 tests would be carried out daily by the month’s end.

Mirza said these tests would help authorities identify the people who have the coronavirus whether they exhibit symptoms or not. He added that 60 per cent of coronavirus cases in the country were locally transmitted.

‘Yaaran-e-Watan programme being launched for overseas doctors’

Appreciating the nation’s resilience during this time, the SAPM said that the country always united in the face of a calamity. “We are getting contributions in the form of money, equipment and medicines not only from people in the country but Pakistanis living abroad as well.”

Some 30,000 Pakistani doctors are serving in foreign countries, Mirza revealed, adding that many of them had expressed a desire to help during the pandemic.

He said the government was launching a technology-based platform called “Yaaran-e-Watan” for all such overseas Pakistani doctors and nurses who wanted to help treat coronavirus patients in the country.

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