Health, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Pakistan confirms first coronavirus cases

Virus believed to have entered from neighboring Iran

Aamir Latif   | 26.02.2020
Pakistan confirms first coronavirus cases

KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan confirmed two coronavirus cases Wednesday.

"I can confirm first two cases of coronavirus in Pakistan. Both cases are being taken care of according to clinical standard protocols & both of them are stable," said prime minister adviser on health affairs, Dr. Zafar Mirza.

"No need to panic, things are under control," he tweeted, without providing details about the gender and location of the patients.

He said he would provide details about the situation at a news conference Thursday.

Health officials confirmed earlier that a male, 22, who had traveled to Iran, tested positive for the virus in Karachi.

The patient, according to a statement by Sindh province health department, of which Karachi is the capital, travelled from Iran to Karachi by plane Feb. 20.

Together with his family he has been placed in quarantine and the Health Department is in the process of examining all passengers who traveled with him, the statement added.

Pakistan has already closed its border with Iran after Iran reported 12 casualties with 47 confirmed cases.

Pakistani authorities said the border town of Taftan, Balochistan was quarantined for coronavirus screening, while a 100-bed tent hospital was set up in the area for pilgrims coming from Iran, state-run media added.

Local broadcaster Geo News, quoting unarmed officials, reported the government decided to screen all those who have traveled to Iran in the last 15 days.

The novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has sounded global alarms, with China, the epicenter, reporting 2,700 deaths from the outbreak, and health experts grappling to find a cure.

Outside mainland China, the coronavirus has spread to more than 30 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Singapore, France, Russia, Spain and India.

The U.S. has reported 53 confirmed cases; 40 were passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was traveling in Asia, three were repatriated from China, and 14 were cases originating within U.S. borders.

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak an international health emergency.

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