ISLAMABAD-Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) on Tuesday sealed its Mother and Child Hospital (MCH) for a week and started screening dozens after five more doctors there were tested positive with the novel coronavirus (COVID-1).

The number of MCH doctors and staff tested positive with the virus has reached eight after the fresh addition, while the total cases in the city reached 464 with 51 more cases in previous 24 hours.

The PIMS MCH was observing hundreds of patients daily in emergency while the doctors on duty were complaining about non-availability of Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) and possible contraction of virus from the community. Officials at The Nation said that PIMS administration is screening dozens of staff and doctors in the MCH after a resident trainee lady doctor was tested positive with the virus on Tuesday.

Officials said that the lady doctor was forced to come on duty despite she was showing symptoms of the COVID-19 and she also performed surgery of patients.

“The patient she treated was also taken as suspect after the doctor was tested positive,” said officials.

Later, the lady doctor tested positive with the virus was confined in the MCH room and she shared her video statement, alleging the PIMS administration for its negligence.

The lady doctor Sarwat in her video statement said that three days ago her colleague was tested positive and she was working with her.

“Later, I was also showing symptoms of the virus like cough and body aches but still I was called on duty,” she said.

Dr. Sarwat said that the administration was requested by the MCH doctors to seal it and start the contact tracing however it didn’t work and dozens of staff including doctors have been put on risk.

She said that her test was confirmed positive at 5:30 in the morning and she was locked in the room instead of making immediate measures to shift her to COVID-19 isolation ward.

“I am locked here since morning 5:30 and requested PIMS Executive Director (ED) to shift me to private ward allocated for doctors,” she said. She added that no safety measure was taken by the administration.

“They are not protecting doctors who are at the frontline,” she said.

Later, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services (NHS) Dr. ZafarMirza visited PIMS to review the situation. In a late evening social media message, the top health official said that “I am just back from PIMS. Dr. Sarwat is now admitted to a dedicated private room and I have reviewed the situation and have given instructions to improve the state of affairs. I assure all healthcare workers and their families of government’s full support. We care for you and we mean it.”

A statement released by the ministry said that PIMS ED gave briefing to the SAPM and other senior officials on the COVID-19 situation in the hospital.

The statement referring to SAPM Dr. ZafarMirza said that government is making all effective measures for the protection of people from COVID-19.

It said that healthcare workers were frontline heroes and government honours their services.

“PPEs to healthcare professionals are being provided on priority basis while the staff at PIMS has been provided one month stock of PPEs,” it said. It further added that all resources will be utilized to provide facilities in the hospitals.  PIMS media coordinator Dr. WaseemKhawaja said that the MCH has been sealed for few days and contact tracing has been started.