‘Pakistan among 6 countries having the capacity to deal with a global pandemic’, predicted WHO

'Only Six Nations Have Evaluated Readiness for Global Pandemic', NY Times wrote in a 2017 article.

Only six countries have the ability to endure a global pandemic, WHO predicted prior to the entire COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the World Bank’s projection in the yearv2017, three among them are rich countries and three are poor countries.

The three wealthy countries, being Saudi Arabia, the US and Finland have gone through two evaluations of their readiness to survive pandemics, one for human diseases and the other for animal outbreaks.

Meanwhile, among the three poor countries are Tanzania, Pakistan, and Eritrea. The three had undergone both evaluations and had briefed how they planned to find money to cover up their faults.

‘As of last April, only three poor countries — Eritrea, Pakistan, and Tanzania — had undergone both evaluations and had described how they planned to find the money to rectify their weaknesses’. (NY TIMES, 2017).

After the COVID-19 outbreak, Pakistan’s timely steps were lauded by WHO, calling it among the countries having the best response system to it.

Steps taken by Pakistan:

National and International Expert Consultation – Initiated 15th Jan

  • Continually ongoing consolations with relevant experts.

Creation of Emergency Operation Center on COVID19 – 22nd Jan

  • Established at the NIH, EOC

Creation of Core Committee on COVID19 – 29th Jan

  • Key decision making body for COVID19 with experts and heads of various response streams.

Continuous coordination with the Chinese government – Late Jan

  • Agreement with the Chinese government on the reduction of travelers and mandated 14 days of quarantine pre-departure to Pakistan.

Strengthening of PoEs with HR, Thermal Guns and Thermal Scanners – First week of Feb  

  • Incrementing capacity for POE and ensuring sensitivity in screening.
  • 1 million passengers screened, passengers from high-risk areas logged and followed up with.

The established need for PPE – First week of Feb

  • Understanding the need and balancing it against our stockpiles. Incl ban on PPE exports and encouragement of PPE imports

 National and Provincial Coordination – Initiated on 4th Feb, ongoing

  • Reached out to Provincial Chief Secretaries on COVID19 outbreak, sensitized them and established a mechanism for inter-provincial coordination.

Designated hospitals for isolation of COVID19 patients – First week of Feb

  • PIMS build a dedicated isolation ward. Currently, there are 207 hospitals across the country that is designated to take COVID19 patients

Contact tracing of high-risk passengers – initiated on 10th Feb, ongoing  

  • Over 20 000 passengers for high-risk areas (Iran and China) have been contacted and traced through phone calls and SMS.

Obtained lab diagnosis capability – 11th Feb

  • NIH was early to establish lab capability in the region. Currently, 13 labs are set up for COVID19 testing and 1 mobile lab in Taftan.

Established quarantine facilities – 14th Feb 

  • 300-bed quarantine established by MoNHSRC. Provinces have established 5 facilities.

Established 1166 National Helpline for COVID19 – 26th Feb

  • Helpline created for public awareness and guidance on COVID19

Suspension of flights to and from Iran – 27th Feb 

Meeting on Inter-Ministerial Coordination – 29th Feb

  • All relevant stakeholders, federal and provincial, met and charted a plan for increasing COVID19 preparedness in the country

Taftan closure and quarantine of all Zaireen – 28th Feb

  • All Zaireen coming to Pakistan through land crossing were quarantined

Chaman Border closure – 2nd March

  • Closed for 2 weeks to allow for the strengthening of health screening

Creation of National Coordination Committee for COVID19 – 13th March

  • The decision of the National Security Committee with all CMs and relevant Federal Ministers. Emulated at the Provincial level.

Command and Control Center on COVID19 – 13th March

  • Set up under the auspicious of NCCC.

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