ISLAMABAD - As the number of suspected cases of Coronavirus surged in the country, the government on Wednesday banned export of N95 mask and related articles from China.

Officials at the National Institute of Health (NIH) have received 19 samples of suspect patients of Coronavirus, however, no one has been confirmed so far.

They also said that the surge in number of suspected cases has been noted after the resumption of flight operations between China and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, noting the surge in the number of suspect cases in the country and worldwide spread of the Coronavirus cases, the Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has imposed strict restriction on the export of N95 masks and other medical equipments required to control the spread of Coronavirus.

The authority has issued directives to drugs inspectors in all provinces to monitor the availability of personal protective equipment for corona virus infection.

The notification issued by the DRAP and is available with The Nation said all the federal/provincial inspectors of drugs to visit the importers/distributors dealing with articles used as personal protective equipment to cater the emergent corona virus infection, in their respective areas.

It said the personal protective articles include surgical mask, N95 mask, goggles or face shields, disposable caps, biohazard bags, hands sanitizers, powders air purifying respirators, etc.

“In case of any attempt to export the articles for Corona virus prevention, a strict action be taken,” said the notification issued.

President Pakistan Drugs Lawyers Forum (PDLF) Noor Mehar said that the N95 respirator is the most common of the seven types of particulate filtering face piece respirators.

He said that this product filters at least 95% of airborne particles but is not resistant to oil. He added that these products are referred to as surgical N95 respirators.

Noor Mehar said that its size and shape is also of international standard and gives maximum protection and it is manufactured in and imported from China and no company in Pakistan is manufacturing A-category N95 mask.

He said Pakistan could be affected with corona virus as it is China’s neighbour and the government needs to take more vigilant measures to quarantine the suspect cases on the virus.

Meanwhile officials at NIH also said that the suspected cases were received from Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and federal capital.

They said that no case has been confirmed including the latest of Chinese national admitted at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS).

Spokesperson PIMS Dr. Waseem Khawaja said that special infectious disease team examined the Chinese national corona virus suspect at isolation ward.

He said that the patient was shifted on having abnormal body temperature.

Spokesperson ministry of National Health Services (NHS) Sajid Shah said that an emergency core group is daily reviewing the situation of corona virus in country.

Earlier, SAPM Dr. Mirza told the media that all travellers reaching Pakistan from China with 14-day travel history from China are reaching after spending 14-day incubation period and screening from the departure and arrival airports.

He said that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been notified on all airports and entry, exit points while special teams have been dispatched to all provinces as well.