Monday, April 13, 2020

NBP President reviews safety, security arrangements at branches

Pakistan News & Features Services

The President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Arif Usmani, visited various branches of Karachi on April 13 to assess and evaluate first-hand the safety and security measures made for the customers and employees of the bank.

He appreciated the bank employees who, in the face of all the challenges, were performing their duties.

NBP has been taking preventive and precautionary measures in its branches by ensuring social distancing and providing hand washing facilities/sanitizers to customers before entering the branches or using ATMs.

The presence of the President, alongwith senior management, amongst branch employees was deemed a morale booster for all the entire staff, serving through these hard times. The President, while acknowledging their invaluable services, also advised that all necessary measures must be taken for safety of customers and employees.

Arif Usmani also took the time out to talk directly to the customers present in the branches and he informed them about NBP’s digital banking channels to avoid in-person branch banking as far as possible. 

He reassured the customers that all the staff of NBP was committed to serving the nation in this distressful and difficult time.

The NBP President, during his visit to various branches, was accompanied Tariq Jamali, SEVP & Group Chief, Centralized Operations & Administration Group and Karim Akram Khan, Group Head Logistics Support Group.

Boris Johnson discharged from hospital; commends NHS

By Masood Sattar Khan 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has been discharged from the hospital on Easter day, after a week, and delivered a speech to express his gratitude to the people for following social distancing measures and the National Health Service (NHS) for saving him and fighting the coronavirus.

Johnson, 55, was taken to St Thomas' Hospital in south London a week ago and spent three days in the intensive care unit after his symptoms deteriorated. 

In a video message, hours after his discharge hospital, the Prime Minister expressed optimism that his country was making progress in this incredible national battle against coronavirus. 

The Prime Minister commended quite a few nurses and doctors, who had looked after him, while making special mention of Jenny and Luis for their care and support. 

He had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 27 but continued to oversee government handling of the pandemic while isolating himself at the Downing Street. Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has been deputizing for Johnson since his admission at hospital.

Social distancing stressed even at home

By Mukhtar Alam
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Referring to the frequency of the age of patients, the Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, in a video message on April 12, remarked that the people of every age were being contracted to the coronavirus. 

“Therefore we all have to be careful in our movement and must maintain social distancing even at home,” he advised. 

He shared that the percentage of cured patients in terms of total positive cases was 28%.

According to him, 389 patients have recovered and returned to their homes, while 645 positive cases were in home isolation, 60 at isolation centres and 992 were taking treatment at different hospital of the province. He also disclosed that 68.3% male and 31.7% percent female were affected by the virus.

Coronavirus Update: 93 new cases reported in Karachi

By Mukhtar Alam
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Sindh's health authorities did not find any new coronavirus case to report from the interior of Sindh on April 12 as all the 93 confirmed new infections were detected in Karachi, taking the provincial tally of coronavirus infected people to 1,411, with overall 30 deaths. 

Two new corona disease related deaths were reported by one public and one private hospital. The deceased included one man of 59 years and a woman of 64 years, according to official data shared with newsmen. 

So far, the highest number of coronavirus cases (896) have been reported from the Karachi division, followed by Sukkur (274) and Hyderabad (176). The Sukkur cases were attributed to presence of Iran pilgrims in quarantine, while Hyderabad cases were mainly detected among members of tableeghi jamat. 

Keen observers, however, feared that the government was perhaps running short of testing kits and other facilities in the case interior people. However, they stressed the government to increase testing the people against the viral diseases on a fast track, as 14 districts have already been infected with coronavirus.

It was learnt that Hyderabad had reported its last 13 new cases, in addition to one new infection at Sanghar and another three at Larkana, on April 11. 

The health department’s statistics released on April 12 at 8am revealed that in all 13,309 tested have been conducted so far in the province, out of which, 1,411 were found positive for coronavirus. The death rate due to the infection came as 2.12%, while the overall rate of positive cases in 13,309 tests came as 10.60%.

Core group of private hospitals formed

By Mukhtar Alam
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Sindh Health department has constituted a core group from the “Private Hospitals Core Committee” to utilize the medical expertise available with the private sector in the management of COVID-19 at government hospitals, it emerged on April 12.

A source in the department said that core group comprising three members,, namely Dr Asim Hussain of Ziauddin Hospital, Dr Salman Faridi of Liaquat National Hospital and Dr Abdul Bari Khan of the Indus Hospital, has been formed in the light of decisions taken at a meeting of the private hospitals core committee, held with Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, the provincial minister for health, recently. 

The meeting, held on April 9, had discussed formulation of a strategy for increasing capacity of the private hospitals across the province and training of human resources belonging to private hospitals for COVID-19. The meeting also deliberated on development and delivery of advisory on COVID-19, the source added. 

Earlier, the private hospitals’ association had said that it was decided in the meeting by the Sindh government to establish a control and command centre through which the private hospitals will provide consultants in special fields. 

Constituted as a follow up of the decisions of meeting in question, now the core group will identify human resource required for COVID-19; formulate a group of consultants from major private hospitals consisting of pulmonologist, infection disease consultant, intensivist and pathologist. 

According to a notification of the health department, the core group will formulate the procedure of consultant group to remain on call with secondary and tertiary care government hospitals across Sindh. 

The terms of reference notified by the department also envisage that the core group will also formulate the way of giving advice on video calling to those government hospitals who will find problems in the management of serious COVID-19 patients. The group will formulate the ways to assist the Sindh Health department in the management of COVID-19 pandemic, it was further said. 

In the meantime, according to another notification of the government, Dr Syed Junaid A Shah, President of the Private Hospitals and Clinics Association, has been included as a member of the Private Hospitals Core Committee, which already has seven members, with the Health minister as Chairperson.

Pakistani scholar advises to follow China example

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

A Pakistani scholar in Wuhan, Ali Nagri, in a video message, has appealed to his Pakistani counterparts to be fully cooperative with the government and follow the instructions issued time to time for elimination of coronavirus from the country. 

He said that Wuhan was reopened to the public after 76 days and there was a wave of celebrations not only for the Chinese and Pakistanis living here but for all international students. 

He pointed out that all those living in Wuhan during lockdown faced a number of problems but, at the end of the day, they emerged successful by defeating the virus. 

He urged upon the Pakistanis to follow the example of the Wuhan and pay full attention to the anti-virus directives issued time to time by the authority concerned to counter the pandemic from Pakistan.

China issues commemorative stamp on President Arif Alvi’s historic visit

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

China has issued a commemorative stamp on President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi’s visit to Beijing at the crucial time the country was fighting to curb coronavirus. 

The postage envelopue with Dr Arif Alvi photograph and remarks that ‘I am proud of my iron-friends the people of China, in the way they handled coronavirus’ signed by the President on March 17, 2020. 

Lauding the gesture, the Chinese media including the most popular China Radio International (CRI), have given a prominent space to this report in their publications and on their television channels and websites.

The envelopue also bears a stamp lauding the fraternal relationship between the two countries the remarks most popular slogan ‘Pakistan-China friendship for everyone’ both in English and Chinese languages. 

President Dr Arif Alvi’s last visit to China, during a period when coronavirus had started to paralyze the whole world, reflected the deep rooted friendship ties between the two countries. 

He held talks with the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, and witnessed the signing of multiple bilateral cooperation documents. He also met the Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang. 

The visit to Beijing and his meetings with the Chinese leaders were widely hailed by the media and the people of China reacted very positively on the goodwill gesture of Pakistan.