With the number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus — COVID-19 — reaching 94 in Pakistan as Sindh alone reports a surge of 41 new cases on Monday, efforts are being made by the federal as well as all provincial governments to contain the outbreak that has claimed at least 6,000 lives globally.
COVID-19, which belongs to a family of viruses that include the common cold and more serious diseases, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), has a wide range of symptoms, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties.
If you feel like you have any of the symptoms, here’s how you can get yourself tested in Pakistan:
- Visit a government-designated public or private hospital. According to Dawn, Dr Mumtaz Ali Khan of the National Institute of Health (NIH) has said that all district headquarters hospitals and tertiary care hospitals across the country are equipped to collect samples for coronavirus.
- At the hospital, a doctor will check the patient for symptoms to determine if he or she has coronavirus, according to NIH Executive Director Maj Gen Aamir Ikram.
- The patient will be asked a set of questions regarding their travel history as well as of those they have been in close contact with.
- If the doctor rules out suspicion of coronavirus, the patient will be sent back.
- If the doctor comes to the conclusion that the patient is manifesting symptoms, a swab of their saliva is taken and sent to one of the designated facilities that have coronavirus testing equipment.
- This testing will be done free of cost.
While some private labs are independently testing individuals for the virus against a fee, here’s a list of facilities sending samples to the main centres for free testing. The free facilities will, however, not conduct tests themselves on individual requests.
- Chandka Medical College Hospital – Larkana
- Ghulam Muhammad Mahar Medical College – Sukkur
- Peoples Medical University Hospital – Nawabshah
- Civil Hospital – Karachi
- Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre – Karachi
- Lyari General Hospital – Karachi
- Indus Hospital – Karachi
- Aga Khan Hospital – Karachi
- Dow University of Health Sciences, Ojha – Karachi
- District Health Offices (DHOs) all over the province
- Services Hospital – Lahore
- Nishtar Hospital – Multan
- Benazir Hospital – Rawalpindi
AZAD JAMMU & KASHMIR:
- Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan Hospital – Muzaffarabad
- Abbas Institute of Medical Sciences – Muzaffarabad
- Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan Hospital – Rawalakot
- Divisional Headquarters Hospital – Mirpur
- District Headquarters Hospital – Kotli
- In Gilgit-Baltistan, citizens can contact district health authorities who will come to their homes to collect samples
- In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Police Services Hospital has been made the main centre for dealing with coronavirus cases
Meanwhile, the federal health ministry has set up 1166 as its coronavirus hotline.