KARACHI          -           Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Thursday said that the detection of one case coronavirus in Karachi is a serious issue, therefore his government has decided to screen all those people who have travelled to Iran and returned and even their family members with whom they have closely interacted.

 Addressing a press conference just after presiding over an emergent meeting to evolve strategy to combat the Coronavirus at CM House, he said that the Coronavirus patient had visited Iran along with a group of 28 people.

“We have established contacts with each and every one of the group and have got their names and phone numbers,” he said and added those 28 people were under surveillance. “I am glad that they are voluntarily cooperating with the health department,” he said and added “this support and cooperation are need of the hour.”

“I have constituted a taskforce under mine supervision which will be meeting at 7pm every day to review the situation and the arrangements,” he added.

The chief minister also disclosed that the father, mother and sister of the Coronavirus patient had also been screened and fortunately no symptoms of the virus had been found among them. “Even then we have shifted them to hospital for quarantine and other necessary investigations,” he said.

Shah said that some 8000 people of Pakistan had visited Iran from February 2 of them 1500 belonged to Sindh. Out of 1500 around 500 people to Karachi and rest of others to different districts of the province.

He disclosed that union council wise the data of 1500 persons were being developed so that they could be kept in isolation in their respective houses. In case of emergence of Coronavirus symptoms in any of them could be shifted to hospital,” he said.

CM said that the educational institutions haD been closed for two days followed by two closed holiday days- Saturday and Sunday, in this way the children of these 1500 people who returned from Iran would not be able to go to school and interact with other children. “During these four days the health department would be able to screen them,” he said.

The Chief Minister said that Coronavirus had become a global emergency and all the nations, including Pakistan would have to battle it with best strategy and bravery.

To a question, the Chief Minister said that a hospital in Karachi had been dedicated for the treatment of Coronavirus patients or tests of the suspects. “I have requested Aga Khan Hospital to purchase all the required equipments, gadgets and medicines for the hospital and we would pay them,” he said. He added that their purchase would be best one and timely, therefore his government had bothered Aga Khan Hospital experts.

Mr Shah urged the media not to disclose names of the Coronavirus patient and suspects. “In these cases, confidentiality is most important but we [media and social media] have disclosed the names of family member of the patient,” he surprised.

To a question, the Chief Minister said that officially the Federal Government had closed its border with Iran but “our border is pores and entry of people could not be stopped easily, therefore, I would talk to the Federal Government to take necessary measures,” he said.

Helpline: The Chief Minister told media that a 24/7 Control Room-cum-Help Line had been established at Commissioner Karachi. The phone numbers of the helpline included 021-99203443, 021-9920440, 0316-0111712. The health department had also notified District Rapid Response Teams under district health officers.