ISLAMABAD: Deputy Senate Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla on Sunday suggested that the second session of the Parliament Building should be postponed after two MPs were found infected with the corona virus.
The National Assembly session will begin on Monday (today), while the Senate will meet on Tuesday. “This virus has reached the gallery of parliament,” Mandviwalla said, expressing concern over reports about lawmakers and assembly staff contracting the corona virus.
“More lawmakers and staff are likely to be affected by the virus,” he said and warned that calling the National Assembly and Senate sessions at this time could have serious consequences, media reports said.
He said the process [of both the houses of Parliament] must be postponed, and steps must be at stake so that no one enters an untested place. Syed Mehboob Shah and PTI MNA from Bajaur Gul Zafar Khan tested positive.
A special team from the National Institutes of Health took a swab from the affected MPs and others on May 8. All members of the two Houses of Parliament have been directed to undergo tests before attending scheduled sessions.
Meanwhile, Federal Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Minister of National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Senator King Zafarul Haq, Mushahid Hussain Syed, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Saleem Zia, Abdul Qayyum and others have been declared negative.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Assembly Asad Qaiser recovered quickly from a coronavirus, his spokesman said on Sunday adding that he was likely to be discharged from the hospital on Monday (today).
He no longer has a fever and has had few chest infections, said the spokesman, adding that the speaker’s cough was better than before.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief of Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa Sunday called National Assembly Chairman Asad Qaiser to ask about him. In a telephone call with the prime minister, Qaiser said he felt better after following doctor’s instructions and expressed optimism that he would get well soon. Imran prayed well and prayed for his speedy recovery.
Separately, the military commander held a telephone conversation with Asad Qaiser and asked about him. Bajwa expressed good wishes for the health of the NA speaker and prayed for his initial healing.
In a related development, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has given permission to house insulation. The Department of Primary & Secondary Health has officially issued a notice of recommendations from the Corona Expert Advisory Group and the Technical Working Group.
Usman Buzdar, when giving permission for isolation at home, said that the SOP [standard operating procedures], outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO) has been considered for home isolation and patients who carry only small symptoms can be stored in home isolation.
Patients will be kept in buildings that are equipped under the supervision of the district health authorities related to important facilities, he added. CM said that patients can be stored in buildings that are equipped with hotel facilities, school buildings, mosques, hostels, and community centers as needed. He said that buildings where patients would be kept in isolation homes would be disinfected every day and solid waste would be disposed of according to given guidelines.
Usman Buzdar said that isolation at home would not be permitted where there was a danger of spreading the virus because the cooling and heating system and isolated patients would be given food only in disposable packages.
The CM said that a committee, nominated by the deputy commissioner concerned, would decide on the isolation of the house and the assistant commissioner or his deputy, the deputy health official of the district (DDO), the chief official would also be included on the house isolation committee. He said that staff members of the Department of Population, Livestock, Excise & Taxation Welfare would monitor and report on the isolation of the house. He said that three committees would be formed in each city union council and a doctor would be included in each committee. One committee will be formed in each village union council and the presence of a doctor will be mandatory on the committee.
The committee will also review the scope of looking after more than one patient according to the number of family members, he added. He said that the families concerned would be informed of the SOP and procedures before giving permission for house isolation. He added that patients kept in solitary confinement would be bound to inform about their condition on a daily basis.
Usman Buzdar said that it is mandatory for every patient who is isolated at home to ensure the implementation of the directives of the Department of Primary & Secondary Health and restrictions on testing protocols will be mandatory for patients treated in isolation homes.
The CM emphasized that the duration of home isolation would be 10 days and two patients’ negative corona tests would be needed to end home isolation. In case the surface of the second corona test is positive, a new test will be carried out after five days to end the isolation of the house.
In the event that a corona test is not available, the patient must remain in isolation for another two weeks even though it does not carry symptoms. He also issued a directive to the Primary & Secondary Health Department to take the steps needed to ensure the implementation of SOPs related to house isolation.