Safety Message for the Academic Community
The Health Ministry has confirmed the first two cases of the respiratory illness COVID-19 (also known as novel coronavirus) in Pakistan. While the Government announcement suggests that the Ministry is in control of the situation, there is a need for universities to redouble their efforts to safeguard the health of their students, faculty, and staff. Since the virus spreads through human contact, universities are particularly vulnerable.
HEC had already issued prudential guidelines in this regard, including a request to designate a senior officer as the focal point for all matters pertaining to the control of the virus, and to share widely the information provided periodically by the Health Ministry.
University communities have expressed a number of concerns because of the speculation around the various unknowns and uncertainties regarding the spread of this virus. Universities are requested access and provide credible and timely information to their campus communities.
Some information is provided below:
About Novel Corona Virus:
An outbreak of a novel corona virus (2019-nCoV) was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019. With the rapidly evolving epidemiological situation, the WHO has now declared the outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). Early on, most patients most likely had animal-to-person spread, but now indications are that person-to-person spread is occurring. Most often, spread from person-to-person happens among close contacts (about 6 feet), mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It's currently unclear if a person can get 2019-nCoV by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. Typically, with most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). With 2019-nCoV, however, there have been reports of spread from an infected asymptomatic patient.
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