Eight people admitted to Karachi’s Aga Khan University Hospital on Saturday suspected with the coronavirus infection have emerged clear, said the Sindh Health Department on Tuesday.
AKUH identified a cluster of suspected cases and contacted the health department. They were investigated by a team under the director-general for health, but didn’t meet the diagnostic criteria for the coronavirus.
All of them had flu-like symptoms and seven had travelled to China recently. One of the patients left against medical advice and four were discharged after treatment for the regular flu.
Two suspected cases were also rejected based on AKUH definitions and were discharged after being kept under observation and being given treatment, said the government.
The health department is coordinating with the AKU on sharing data and a surveillance mechanism has been established.
Communication was developed with the health authorities and other stakeholders and a health advisory on the n-coronavirus was distributed to all major healthcare facilities in the city.
The WHO case definition
The WHO has set surveillance criteria for human infection with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV):
2. A person with acute respiratory illness of any degree of severity who, within 14 days before onset of illness, had any of the following exposures:
The situation in Pakistan
Currently, we don’t have a laboratory to test for the new coronavirus. Cases are being ruled out at the National Institute of Health by testing for closely related viruses, according to Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza.
An inter-ministerial meeting was held at the federal level on Monday to prepare a strategy. It included members of the Ministry of National Health Service, provincial health secretaries, the secretaries from the interior ministry and aviation, chairman NDMA, surgeon general of the army, directors-general of the ISI, PDMA, CAA, ASF and China Ministry of Foreign Affairs DG.
Its outcomes will be presented to the prime minister within this week.
The public has been advised to take preventive measures such as avoiding close contact with others especially those at high risk for severe infection, covering the mouth and nose with tissue when sneezing or coughing, washing hands with soap and water or disinfecting with an alcohol-based sanitiser regularly and wiping surfaces that are frequently touched or shared (doorknobs, remote controls) with a standard household disinfectant.
Those who are ill are advised to stay at home unless they develop fever or experience difficulty breathing.