Pakistan to formulate action plan for battling infectious coronavirus

Pakistan to formulate action plan for battling infectious coronavirus

ISLAMABAD: With the death toll from the coronavirus rising in neighbouring China, Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered authorities to take necessary precautionary measures and formulate a comprehensive strategy to tackle the threat of the deadly disease spreading to Pakistan.

Despite unprecedented quarantines and travel lockdowns, the death toll from the viral epidemic has spiked to 81 in China, with hundreds of new infections reported as major countries step up efforts to evacuate their citizens from the epicentre, Wuhan.

In a letter sent to relevant ministries and divisions on Monday, the PM Office said that the spread of the virus “could not be ruled out” given the huge number of Chinese citizens in Pakistan and people frequently travelling between the two countries.

Nearly 2,000 coronavirus cases have been reported across the globe, according to the letter sent by the Prime Minister’s Office.

“In light of the above, the Prime Minister has desired for immediately convening a high level inter-ministerial meeting under the chairmanship of Special Assistant to the PM on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination to formulate a comprehensive strategy for tackling the threat,” the PM Office stated in the letter.

The proposed participants in the inter-ministerial meeting would be Foreign Secretary, Secretary National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Secretary Interior, Secretary Aviation, provincial health secretaries, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman, Surgeon General Pakistan Army, Director General of Military Operations, Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs) directors general, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Director General, National Institute of Health (NIH) Director General, Airport Security Force (ASF) Director General, Director General China – Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and any other secretary / official deemed appropriate by the Ministry of National Health Services.

The decision of the meeting along with recommendations are to be furnished to the Prime Minister’s Office within one week’s time.

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