Pakistan is hurriedly ordering medicines from India to battle a dengue outbreak that has killed at least 13 people, affected thousands and caused panic in Punjab, news reports said Monday.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif ordered that dengue medicines be immediately imported from India, reported The Nation Monday.
Sharif asked the Punjab health secretary to promptly get in touch with the Indian high commissioner in Islamabad to import the WHO-approved medicines from New Delhi.
The chief minister told an emergency meeting of Punjab officials that medicines and equipment needed to be imported urgently, and Indian drugs were the easiest available.
He also directed officials to contact the Sri Lankan high commissioner for staff, equipment, technical assistance and medicines.
Punjab Health Secretary Jahanzaib Khan said 2,994 dengue virus cases have been reported in the province.
Geo News reported that 10 people had died in Punjab. One of the victims was senior government official Ataullah Siddiqui, who was hospitalised Friday after he was diagnosed with the virus.
Three deaths were reported from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
The number of dengue patients continued to rise across Punjab, Geo said. Lahore in particular was seriously hit with over 3,000 cases.
Hospitals are finding it difficult to cope with the large number of dengue cases, the reports. Emergency has been declared in all Lahore hospitals.
The outbreak has also been reported from Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
An editorial in the News International said Monday: “The annual dengue outbreak has struck with an especially vicious sting this year, creating mass panic – most notably in Punjab.
“The degree of alarm has led to morning assembly being cancelled in schools.
“Punjab is not the only affected province; in Sindh, 190 cases of dengue-related hospitalisation have been reported and there have been three deaths in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.”
Saying that there was mass public panic, it stated: “Knowing that dengue is an annual curse, preventive actions should have begun much sooner.
“We must seek ways to treat and curb this illness which has taken a heavy toll on our already strained healthcare system,” it added.