ISLAMABAD-As the government reported local transmission of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in two residents of the city, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) on Monday decided to shutdown Outdoor Patients Department (OPD) and to extend the isolation ward.

Meanwhile, two nurses deployed in PIMS COVID-19 emergency havealso been isolated in the hostel being suspects of the virus.

According to the official dashboard the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), the number of COVID-19 patients in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) jumped to 15. Six new cases were traced from the Barakahu area.

Officials at National Institute of Health (NIH) and PIMS confirmed to The Nation that two cases reported in Islamabad were locally transmitted with no travel history.

Officials informed that both patients had interacted with pilgrims returned from Iran and health authorities are tracing rest of their contacts.

Officials at PIMS also said that two nurses who were deployed in the emergency of COVID-19 ward have been isolated after they showed COVID-19 symptoms.

“They have been isolated in nursing hostel which is also dangerous,” said an official at PIMS.

PIMS officials said that despite of repeated demands by the staff working at COVID-19 ward, the government has not provided sufficient Personal Protection Equipment to the staff and also preventive measures are not being implemented in letter and spirit.

PIMS officials also said that the hospital had allocated only ten beds for COVID-19 patients and is isolating patients at their homes due to low number of beds.

Meanwhile, the PIMS top administration held a meeting to review the situation of COVID-19 situation and decided to close the OPD and extended the isolation ward facility. After the extension of the ward, the bed capacity in PIMS will be increased to 70.

The documents available with The Nation said that the hospital management will convert entire Medical Ward-II into isolation ward and shift all patients there.

Thirty beds of School of Dentistry will be also isolated for COVID-19 patients and private wards will be also allocated for this situation.

The meetings minutes available said that a meeting with heads of clinical departments and nursing staff regarding of COVID-19 was held on Monday under the chairmanship of Executive Director in the auditorium of IH, PIMS. All the head of departments and stakeholders of nursing staff attended the meeting. It said the Executive Director briefed the head of departments about yesterday’s meeting. He briefed that ministry of NHSR&C is looking towards PIMS regarding treatment of COVID-19 patients.

It was decided that Medical Ward–II will be completely converted into isolation ward.It was also decided that patients will be shifted to medical ward-II within 24 hours.

The documents said that all three floors will also be converted into isolation wards and no new admissions will be made in private wards, so that wards can be vacated for isolation.

It was also decided that 30 beds in Schools of Dentistry will be isolated and admissions will be minimised in the general wards also.

It also added that the core committee comprising the following officers is hereby constituted to give recommendations for day to day affairs.

The committee includes ED Prof. AnserMaxood, Dr. RaufNizai, Dr. Rana Imran Sikandar, Dr. Shahjee Ahmed Siddiui, Dr. SyedaBatoolMazhar, Dr. Jai Krishan, Dr. Ayesha IsaniMajeed, Dr. RukhsanaNaseemAkhtar, Dr. FarhanaZareef, CNS HumeraKhushnood and Pharmmacist Mustafa Khan.

PIMS Media Coordinator Dr. WaseemKhawaja said that that the decisions have been taken keeping the growing situation on COVID-19 and PIMS administration is taking all measures to prevent the situation.