ISLAMABAD: The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) says Pakistan's efforts to cope with the Coronavirus challenge are better than many countries.
The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to 73 countries around the world, affecting more than 90,000 people and killing 3,115.
Dr Plata Mahipala, Country Head of the Institute at WHO's headquarters in Islamabad, said that unlike many countries in the world, Pakistan not only facilitated the diagnosis of Coronavirus in 2 weeks but also in 5 different places of the country.
He said that only 3 laboratories in the US, Hong Kong and the Netherlands have the capability to test the virus, while Pakistan got it within 2 weeks and now it is being tested in 5 different regions of the country.
He said that many countries in the world do not have the ability to test, which is why they send samples to other countries.
Dr Plata Mahipala said that although cases of coronavirus have been reported in 73 countries worldwide, only a few cases have been reported in more countries and the largest number has been reported in China and few other countries.
In some countries, such as South Korea, Italy and Iran, there has been a sudden increase in the number of cases as the virus is transmitted from person to person, he said.
According to the WHO local head, most people with the virus get cured without any major complications, with about 19 % of patients experiencing a critical condition, with a mortality rate of between 2 and 4 %.
He said that China has dealt with this problem very well, so the number of cases in China has started to decline.
He further said that the allegations that some countries have covered the reported cases should be removed as all member states are bound to declare cases immediately after verification under 'International Health Regulation 2005'.
In addition, he instructed people to refrain from travelling to countries where the number of Coronavirus cases is high.
Responding to a question regarding 5 reported cases in Pakistan, WHO's Country Head said it was a positive sign because it shows that Pakistan has tightened its surveillance system. The cause was identified without delay.
He said the World Health Organization is supporting efforts against the virus and that personal protective items (PPEs) such as tweak gowns, masks, gloves, etc. are being provided in hospitals across the country.
He also lauded the Prime Minister's Assistant Special Health Minister Dr Zafar Mirza for ensuring screening of everyone at 19 entry points in Pakistan, wiping out 5 quarantine locations across the country and allocating 600 beds at Isolation Wards.
The World Health Organization official urged the media to spread awareness and play a positive role so that no one would worry.
Regarding precautions, Dr. Plata Mahipala said that hand hygiene is the best way to prevent the disease and people should also avoid unnecessary travel.
He suggested travellers should contact medical specialists immediately if they experience symptoms such as pneumonia; Stay safe.
Responding to a question, he said efforts were being made to develop a vaccine for the treatment of the Novel Coronavirus and the WHO has been working with several organizations in this regard.