This page is regularly updated as additional information becomes available for prevention and control measures of COVID-19.
Coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 is a contagious disease that since its detection in year 2019 has turned into an ongoing pandemic.
In December 2019, a series of pneumonia cases occurred in the city of Wuhan (China). On January 9, 2020, the Chinese health authorities announced that it is a new virus called COVID-19. On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus outbreak as the sixth public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), and on March 11, 2020, the WHO announced coronavirus as a pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic first appeared in Pakistan on February 26, when two citizens traveled to a neighboring country for pilgrimage and subsequently returned to their hometowns of Karachi and Rawalpindi with initial respiratory symptoms of the virus. Since then, the Government of Pakistan has been continuously monitoring the situation to limit the risk of contagion among the population and imposed smart and micro lockdowns in different parts of the country. This was aided by other preventive measures such as safety protocols at airports, continual ban on international flights and screening of passengers.
The early actions put in place by the government have helped Pakistan avoid a tragic healthcare emergency. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard, Pakistan is currently placed at number 31 for highest number of confirmed cases in the world.
How can I protect myself and the people around me?
In these situations, prevention is the key! Following the basic rules and recommendations from the Government of Pakistan and the World Health Organization (WHO), you can protect yourself and the people around you from getting the coronavirus.
Things to do
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer, and avoid touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth) with your hands.
- When coughing or sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a tissue. Throw the tissue into a dust bin immediately after use and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue, use your flexed elbow.
- If you have cough, runny nose, fever, sore throat, stay home in isolation. Even if symptoms are mild, avoid going to work or coming in close contact with the people you live with. If symptoms become severe, you should immediately seek medical attention, preferably over the Government’s Sehat Tahaffuz's hotline, 1166. This number is active from 8 am to 12 midnight every day, and it is available in Urdu and Pashto languages.
- Keep a 2-meter distance from one another (social distancing).
- If you are 70 years old or over or if you have chronic disease, and you have mild symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, you should immediately seek medical attention.
- If you are under medication, you must comply with your doctor’s advice.
Things not to do
- You should not come in contact with persons who show symptoms of respiratory infection (cough, runny nose, fever, sore throat). And if you are the one with symptoms you should protect others by staying home.
- Avoid gatherings, social events, visits to other houses and crowded spaces.
- Avoid any non-essential movement within the country.
- Do not visit your doctor or a health unit if you develop mild symptoms of respiratory infection (cough, runny nose, fever, sore throat).
- Avoid visits to patients in hospitals. Avoid contact with elderly people or those who have chronic diseases. You could be putting people at risk without knowing it.
What are the symptoms?
This virus mainly causes respiratory symptoms (shortness of breath). However, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a common cold: runny nose, cough, fever and difficulty breathing. Some people may also experience extreme fatigue, loss of smell and taste or abdominal pain.
The effect of the virus on health can vary a lot from one person to another. Some people become infected but do not develop any symptoms and do not feel unwell. While older people and those with pre-existing medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness and are at a higher risk of needing hospital care.
You can find more information about the symptoms of COVID-19 on WHO’s website. You can also visit the Pakistani Ministry of Health website to get updates on the COVID-19 situation in the country. The government has also launched a COVID-19 specific web portal. To access the official preventive measures to slow the transmission of COVID-19, please click here.
Watch the video titled ‘How is the new coronavirus affecting people who get it?’ to learn more about the virus on the WHO’s YouTube channel. The government of Pakistan has published a video in Urdu language describing the COVID-19 symptoms.
What should I do if I do not feel well?
If you have mild symptoms like cough, runny nose, fever, sore throat, stay home in isolation. It’s important you stay hydrated, eat, and get regular sleep.
While not feeling well, it is important to avoid any close contact with people around you. Keep a 2-meter distance from one another. You should also take the time to tell people who were in close contact with you that you do not feel well.
If you keep having high fever (38º or higher), cough and difficulty breathing, it is important you seek medical care. However, this does not mean you should go right away to the doctor. If your COVID symptoms prevail, you should contact your health provider
The Pakistani health ministry offers nationwide COVID-19 tests free of charge. The tests are carried out in specific public hospitals in several cities and under specific circumstances.
To access COVID-19 related information of all four provinces of Pakistan along with AJ&K, Gilgit Baltistan and Islamabad, you can access the website of National Command Operation Center (NCOC) and government’s COVID-19 specific web portal. This website provides details of COVID-related facilities like Designated Tertiary Care Hospitals, Hospital Isolation Wards, Quarantine Facilities and Laboratory Testing Capacity. You can also visit the official website of Health department of provincial government of Sindh.
Apart from statistical information regarding COVID-19, you can get information on COVID-19 testing services, hospitals for COVID-19 and quarantine/isolation centers in rural and urban areas of Sindh province.
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