Pakistan coronavirus
Pakistan authorities are on high alert as they have started screening passengers coming from China at the international airports. Image Credit: Social media

Dubai: Pakistan has denied reports of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country, despite reports that four 'suspected cases’ were being treated in hospitals in the country.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health, Dr Zafar Mirza, on Sunday said that no case of coronavirus has been detected.

Pakistani media on Saturday reported four suspected cases in the country. However, Dr Mirza refuted the media claims in his series of tweets.

“Chinese kept in isolation in Nishtar Hospital, Multan is improving. No signs of sever acute respiratory infection. He is being managed in line with standard protocol as a suspect. Pakistan does not have any Coronavirus patient until now, and we are alert!,” he tweeted.

In another tweet, he said: “A part of media is incorrectly reporting about diagnosis of a first case of novel coronavirus in Pakistan. We expect responsible reporting by media. Please do not add to nation’s anxiety about Coronavirus and should meticulously check facts before reporting. Thank you.”

Pakistani authorities have already deputed teams at international airports to screen passengers coming in from China.

On Saturday, media reported that the first case of coronavirus was detected in Multan but the Ministry of National Health Services declared the claim as incorrect, putting it down as misreporting by media.

The 40-year-old Chinese national among the four suspecetd cases, Feng Fen, was admitted on Friday night with symptoms similar to those of a coronavirus infection. But he, along with the others, are showing signs of recovery according to the authorities.

“There is no confirmed case of NCV from Pakistan as we speak [Saturday 9:00pm]. There is an outbreak in China so as per international protocols we have to be vigilant and keep every suspected passenger, who has history of travelling to China, under observation,” Dr Mirza said as quoted by Dawn news.

“Fact is that on Jan 21 a Chinese national was taken under observation from Multan Airport as he was having fever. The passenger, who is a male in mid 20s, has been showing signs of improvement which shows that he is not suffering from the severe acute respiratory infections, which is the major sign of NCV,” he said.

Feng had arrived at Karachi airport on PIA flight PK332 on Jan 21 from Wuhan, to visit the Multan-Sukkur motorway project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

According to hospital sources, another patient, identified as Rahmatullah, resident of Multan, has also been admitted to the hospital with the same symptoms. Rahmatullah had been visiting China in connection with his business and returned to Pakistan on Jan 24.

Talking to the media, Nishtar Medical University Vice Chancellor Dr Mustafa Kamal Pasha said the suspected coronavirus patients were under treatment and being provided proper medical care. He said that blood samples of both patients had been sent to National Institute of Health, Islamabad.

He further said that the patients had been kept in the isolation ward and were being administered medicines meant for sore throat and flu.

“The medicines are showing results as the patients are recovering speedily, which is why we are hoping that they are not victims of coronavirus and are rather suffering from normal flu and seasonal throat infection. However, their treatment is under way while adopting all guidelines and parameters set by the World Health Organisation,” he added.

As the death toll of Coronavirus victims has increased to 56 in China, Beijing has expanded its drastic travel restrictions to contain the contagion that President Xi Jinping has said posed a “grave” threat.

China has locked down the worst-hit province of Hubei in the country’s centre in a massive quarantine affecting tens of millions of people to slow the spread of a respiratory illness that has infected almost 2,000.

The virus has also spread around the world, with cases confirmed in around a dozen other countries as distant as France, Australia and the United States.