ISLAMABAD            -       The District Administration following the directions of the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) has restricted the District Health Office (DHO) to conduct the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) service in rural areas only, The Nation learnt on Saturday.

Officials said that the DHO will be responsible for the COVID-19 surveillance in the rural areas of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), while in urban areas the practice will be continued by the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI). A notification issued by the District Magistrate said that “In pursuance of decisions by National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), the Surveillance/Test, Track and Quarantine (TTQ) for COVID-19 in urban areas shall be responsibility of Directorate of Health Services (MCI). The same will be done by the District Health Office, MNHSR&C in rural areas. The District Health Office and National Institute of Health are requested to provide VTM/testing kits to DHS, MCI.”

Dr. Zaeem Zia was appointed as the DHO after the emergence of COVID-19 in the city, however, officials said that in the meeting of NCOC some quarters expressed concerns on the performance of the office and also mentioned Dr. Zia’s appreciation by the United States (US) Secretary of the State Mike Pompeo. Mike Pompeo in his tweet on social media website had said that “Our @FulbrightPrgrm alumni are doing great things around the world. Thank you Dr. Zia for all you are doing for #Pakistan”. The DHO Dr. Zaeem Zia also had responded “Thank you @SecPompeo for your words and to USEFP for providing us the opportunity for the cross cultural program. We are in this together and will fight COVID 19 through solidarity and resilience.”

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) sharing the TTQ report had also appreciated the DHO work:“Proud of my DHO-ICT team under the leadership of DrZaeem Zia for their continued hardwork.” Officials said that in the middle of the battle with the COVID-19 in the federal capital the departmental rift has started amongst the top health officials for conducting the Surveillance/Test, Track and Quarantine (TTQ) in their territories.

“Now the rural and urban areas will be under surveillance by separate teams,” said the officials. According to the National Operations and Command Center dashboard, 377 confirm cases of the COVID-19 were reported in last 24 hours with more four deaths of the residents of the ICT. The data said that the virus has been confirmed in 4323 citizens and 629 have been recovered from it so far. It also said that the health teams tested 22185 COVID-19 tests in the federal city in previous 24 hours.

Earlier, 402 cases were confirmed with the COVID-19 in a day which was the highest number in the city.

Separately, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Dr. ZafarMirza said that government is starting an online program for the correct use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) by the healthcare professionals.

He said that the program will be initiated from the federal capital and above 100,000 health care professionals will be trained under this program.

SAPM added that the program will sensitise the proper use of PPEs by the healthcare professionals as the correct use of it is important to save human lives during COVID-19.

Dr. ZafarMirza also said that with the help of Pakistan Psychiatric Society the doctors and other healthcare professionals will be provided the psychological and ethical training.