Corona Virus: Pakistan Health ministry issues alert

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By Muhammad Luqman
The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), Regulations and Coordination has alerted the Disease Surveillance Division and Central Health Establishment to the possible spread of coronavirus in Pakistan.
The institute directed health officials to investigate a person who may have travelled to Wuhan or any other affected area of China within the last 15 days. It also directed the officials to investigate anyone who may be suffering from severe acute respiratory infections (SARI).
The virus, which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei at the end of last year and has spread to Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as the United States, Thailand, South Korea and Japan.
According to The World Health Organisation (WHO), there may have been limited human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus in China within families, and it is possible there could be a wider outbreak.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) has given guidance to hospitals worldwide about infection prevention and control in case the new virus spreads. There is no specific treatment for the new virus, but anti-virals are being considered and could be “re-purposed”, said Maria Van Kerkhove, acting head of WHO’s emerging diseases unit.
With Chinese New Year approaching on Jan 25, when many Chinese tourists visit Thailand, the WHO called on Thai authorities, the public and holidaymakers to be on alert.
According to the NHS, the notification has been issued in response to the international alert on the virus, which has spread from seafood and animals to humans.
Symptoms of the deadly virus range from fever, to coughing and difficulty breathing.
NHS has decided to establish coronavirus prevention counters at all airports. It has also been advised that people who recently visited China should also be tested for presence of the virus.
National Institute of Health (NIH) , in the advisory, clarified that as of yet no vaccine or specific treatment is available for the infection. “The patient care is mainly supportive,” read the advisory.
The UN’s health agency says the outbreak of the disease in Wuhan is a never-before-seen strain. It belongs to a broad family of viruses that range from the common cold to more serious illnesses such as SARS.
The mysterious SARS-like virus has so far killed nine people and continues to infect hundreds could spread further, Chinese authorities warned on Wednesday ahead of the Lunar New Year travel season.
The virus has already reached the United States while the other neighbouring countries have issued strict travel alerts to contain the spread.
The coronavirus has caused alarm for its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.
The UN’s health agency says the outbreak of the disease in Wuhan is a never-before-seen strain. It belongs to a broad family of viruses that range from the common cold to more serious illnesses such as SARS.

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