It is a group of single-stranded Ribonucleic acids (RNA) viruses which are playing a variety of biological roles such as coding, decoding, regulations and expression of genes and also affiliated with the Coronaviridae family. Coronavirus is classified into four species on the basis of genotypic and serological characteristics; (a) Alpha, (b) Beta, (c) Gamma, (d) Delta.
Alpha COVIs and Beta COVs can cause human diseases like NL63α (Infection in the respiratory tract, pneumonia through community and children croup), 229Eα (Range of respiratory symptoms, common cold to high morbidity outcomes such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis), OC43β (It is the most prevalent human Coronavirus in several parts of the world. It is the member of Beta COVs and infects human and cattle), and HKUIα (It is originated from the infection of mice). These viruses are developed in children, the elderly and the weak immune system of the peoples. Beta COVs is creating a life threat and deadly disease potential.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infects humans, bats, and other mammals. It is RNA virus that enters its host cell by binding to the ACE2 receptor (Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) attached to the outer surface of cells in the lungs arteries, heart, kidney and intestines. Due to (SARS-CoV), in 2003 approximately, 8000 peoples were infected and 800 died in the world. [Lu, G., and Liu, D. 2012]
In fact, COVID-19 is a new virus that has not been previously identified in humans. It has a link with SARS-CoV that initially emerged in Wuhan city, Hubei Province, China. [Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, 2020]
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fearless.” [Marie Curie]
The government responded quickly, and efficiently to stop COVID-19 for further spread from local, regional and national levels. Geographically, Pakistan borders are attached with China and Iran and every day travelling and trading takes place among them via land and air routes. It is the biggest challenge for the government of Pakistan to contain COVID-19 from external sites, so they had decided to temporarily close the borders until all the facilities/medical instruments are not reaching that area for proper monitoring. Soon after, the screening process is initiated at all the airports and ground crossing, and health declaration form (HDF) is distributed to the public. This form is mandatory for all the passengers before entering Pakistan due to the confirmation of infected peoples and the collection of data. The Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) team is following all the incoming travellers through regular telephone conversations.
CURRENT STATUS OF COVID-19 IN PAKISTAN
With fewer resources, Pakistan accepts the challenge and tries to control the virus through local transmission. After the 1st case was identified, every contact is traced and isolated as per quarantine. Pakistan has started providing well-facilitated hospitals, laboratories, and qualified staff for the collection of the samples of the COVID-19. A disease surveillance & Response Units (PDSRU) is extended to the district level and collaborated with provincial and federal levels. The National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad is declared the main diagnostic referral centre and the testing facility is extended in the major cities Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Multan/Bahawalpur, and Gilgit along with mobile testing laboratory is deployed with the required expertise to Taftan. According to the condition, it was necessary to create the Emergency Rapid Response Team (RRT) and trained and equipped along with ambulance services. The Infection Prevention & Control (IPC) measures have started for strict implementation of all the health care facilities. All the tools which are utilising to contain COVID-19 depend on sustainable funds and for smoothly working of these tools Pakistan has created Emergency Fund. [National Institute of Health, 2020]
“Digital Pakistan initiative”
[Aidrus, T. 2020]
Initially, through social and electronic media, a COVID-19 awareness campaign was started by the government of Pakistan along with “Corona Chatbot’ which was formed for the peoples and for the collection of latest information about this virus. This tool is bilingual i.e. English and Urdu which is very helpful for the peoples. In this app, people can find the nearest labs and quickly tests to access their risk of COVID-19 and the web link is http://messenger.com/t/NHSRCOfficial. [ARY News, 2020]
The Ministry of Climate Changes along with the support of United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) shared live-saving COVID-19 prevention tips to more than 1000 locals [Reliefweb, 2020]
The government decided that in the weak economical condition, shut down of all the cities will cause the death of poor people from hunger. [Aljazeera News, 2020]
China took a strong initiative in the crucial movement and sent tones of protective gear and testing kits to Pakistan for containing the spread of Coronavirus. Almost PKR 67 Million worth of instruments i.e. 02 tonnes of masks, test kits, ventilators, medical protective clothes were received via Khunjerab Pass. These instruments were distributed by the federal government to the provincial government to contain the COVID-19. On the request of the Governor, Punjab, Chaudhary Sarwar, the Chinese university in Lahore has been converted into 1000 bed field hospitals and the Chinese doctors and supporting staff agreed to work with Pakistani medical experts to develop testing kits and other types of equipment. Pakistan has currently 194,000 medical health practitioners and in which 30,000 working in Intensive Care Unit (ICUs) with completes medical kits i.e. face-shields, goggles, two N95, and 30 surgical masks and hand wash kit. Almost 19,670 beds are available in the ICUs and the capacity of the beds was also increased from 500 to 162,000. Pakistan has booked all three and four-star hotels as (COVID-19) Command and Control Centre, where 40,000 patients can be contained if required. In public hospitals, 2,200 ventilators are available and more ventilators will be imported by April-May, 2020 and their quantity will be increased according to the conditions [Jamal, S. 2020]. It is also decided to establish temporary hospitals on Grand Trunk, Road which will be supervised by Chinese and Pakistani Doctors.
Financial Incentive Packages
The Prime Minister, of Pakistan, has announced financial incentive packages to save the public from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. In this package Rs. 200 billion were allotted to the labours across the country, a tax refund of Rs. 100 billion immediately to the export industry, Rs, 100 billion are earmarked for the small and medium industries and agriculture, Rs. 150 billion is allocated for the low-income families and also promised to give these families to the Rs. 3000/- per month. For constant availability of foods, Rs, 50 billion is earmarked for the utility stores. For health workers Rs. 50 billion was set aside for the purchase of personal protective equipment. The taxes on the food items are reduced or eradicate completely and Rs. 100 billion was set aside for any emergency. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has granted Rs. 25 billion for purchasing equipment from other countries. [Dawn News, 2020]
The government is utilising all the machinery along with getting help from friendly countries to contain COVID-19 but without the cooperation of the public, it could not be successful. The print and electronic media should play their positive role to reduce the fearer environment because due to this reason lots of peoples are dying in the world. The peoples should follow the directions of the state which is for their own safety and try to prove to be a responsible citizen. This is the time when everybody should unite for the protection and survivability of humanity. A little bit of irresponsibility can cause plenty of deaths, so try to save yourself and others.