Pakistani doctor
Dr Sarwat's plea to Pakistani authorities for healthcare workers Image Credit: Twitter

The lack of protective equipment and proper facilities amidst the coronavirus outbreak forced a COVID-19 positive doctor from Pakistan to plead for help in a video message aimed at authorities.

Dr Sarwat, who tested positive for coronavirus in Islamabad on Tuesday, accused Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Hospital management of endangering the lives of healthcare professionals.

In a video message, the doctor claimed that a medic had tested positive for the virus three days ago, but the management didn’t seal the Maternal and Child Healthcare Centre at the facility.

She said the management was requested to seal the department but they didn’t take any measures.

Dr Sarwat said that the conditions at the facility were compromising her and her colleagues' lives as they worked without proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

She also said that while she was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and had fever, she was asked to continue working.

“Spread the message in the media so that the leaders who are sitting at home, who do not understand what I am trying to say start understanding,” she is heard saying in the clip.

The hospital’s management, however, rejected the accusation. Dr Waseem Khawaja, the PIMS spokesperson, said they had set up a separate ward for the staff, Samaa TV, a Pakistani news and entertainment television network reported.

Anyone, including nurses or doctors, who contracts the virus is placed in isolation, Khawaja added.

After the video Dr Sarwat made went viral, Dr Zafar Mirza, @zfrmrza, special assistant to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on health, posted an update on his twitter account saying that she was admitted to a "dedicated private room".

He further wrote: “I assure all health care workers and their families of government’s full support. We care for you and we mean it!”

Many like journalist Omar Quraishi, @omar_quraishi, asked why were such measures not in place in the beginning: “[…] Question is why was his intervention needed?”