The Pakistani traveller who had returned from China and was suspected to have COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) tested negative on Thursday, said the Sindh health department.
SAMAA Digital has a copy of the report from Aga Khan University Hospital which says the polymerase chain reaction test did not detect the 2019 novel coronavirus.
On February 19 the suspected case, 22-year-old Abdullah, was identified by the airport health authority after returning from China. A rapid response team transported the patient to the isolation ward at Dow University Ojha Campus.
The District Health Officer sent his samples to the lab at the Aga Khan University Hospital. On February 20 his samples were found negative for the virus and he was discharged. He had reported symptoms of fever and a sore throat on February 19.
“Jinnah International Airport in Karachi and the city’s hospitals are equipped to deal with the coronavirus threat,” said Health Secretary Zahid Abbasi.
Eight major hospitals in Sindh have isolation wards for patients suspected to have COVID-19 and ambulances are available to transport any such from the Karachi airport to these hospitals, he said.
The provincial health department gave further details of these arrangements:
1. Mirpurkhas Government Hospital: One room established with three beds, 12 masks, 12 gloves and three gowns
2. GMMMC Teaching Hospital Sukkur: six rooms established with 100 masks, 100 gloves and 100 gowns
3. Peoples University of Medical and Health Sciences: One room with 50 masks, 50 gloves and 50 gowns
4. Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences: Five rooms with 100 masks, 200 gloves and 75 gowns
5. Chandka Medical College Larkana: One room established with six beds, 100 masks, 100 gloves, 100 gowns
6. Civil Hospital Karachi: Four rooms established
7. Dow Ojha Campus Karachi: Six rooms established
8. Lyari General Hospital: One ward designated
Previous suspected cases in Sindh all clear
Five people who had returned from China and reported symptoms between January 22 and January 24 were admitted for 24 hours to AKU. Four of them were declared disease-free and discharged. One of the patients left against medical advice. The government says a team of Karachi’s Disease Surveillance Response Unit investigated and revealed that he left for China the next day.
Around 27 cases were identified on January 26. They were all Chinese patients who came to the ER with flu-like symptoms. Only three of them met the WHO case definition for COVID-19 and they were kept under isolation at the hospital. The government said a follow-up visit the next day showed they were doing well and had been discharged.
On January 28 and January 29, five and two cases were identified respectively. They were admitted to AKU but discharged later since they didn’t fit the WHO case definition.
A suspected case was reported from Lyari on January 30. The director-general of health in Sindh notified the disease surveillance unit and a team investigated the case. After investigation the patient was admitted to AKUH. Two more cases were identified the next day but the government says neither fit the case definition.
Between February 1 and 2 seven suspected cases were identified. One was isolated at Civil Hospital, Karachi. They were all discharged upon not meeting the WHO case definition.
Two patients were reported on February 3. One was the patient Shahzaib Ali from Khaipur whose video went viral on social media. He had a cough, fever and bleeding from the nose. However he was also discharged after being cleared. The other patient did not have recent travel history to China.
The next day two travellers from China were suspected to have the virus and admitted to AKU. One’s lab test was negative while the other did not match the case definition for COVID-19.
Between February 7 and 12, two people were admitted to AKU but were cleared and discharged later. Two more patients who were admitted to AKU on February 13 are still awaiting test results. Of them, Javed Akhtar has no travel history to China but and Hu Xianyi had returned from the country recently.