By Liu Tian and Jiang Chao
ISLAMABAD, May 7 -- An anti-pandemic medical expert team dispatched by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) arrived in Pakistan on April 24 amid the outbreak of COVID-19, and then immediately devoted themselves to local pandemic control and patient treatment.
According to Zhou Feihu, head of the Chinese expert team and former director of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Department of the Chinese PLA General Hospital, the expert team visited seven medical institutions and designated hospitals in Islamabad and surrounding areas in the past week to introduce China’s experience on COVID-19 prevention and control and emphasize the vital role of controlling sources of infection as well as cutting off the transmission of the virus. Besides, the expert team exchanged experience in patient treatment with Pakistani doctors, including the usage of antiviral drugs, ventilator therapy, and treatment of severe patients suffering inflammation storm.
"After a week of extensive communication, we also learned about how Pakistani counterparts screened the infected, conducted laboratory testing and controlled nosocomial infections before, which laid a foundation for us to formulate more targeted plans and carry out work in the next stage," said Zhou.
According to the preliminary arrangement of the Pakistani military, the Chinese expert team would cooperate with Pakistani military medics to fight the pandemic at the United Arab Emirates-funded military hospital in Pakistan, a designated hospital for COVID-19 patients.
As of the night of May 3, Pakistan had reported more than 20,000 confirmed cases, with daily increase continuing to surge up. According to local media reports, infections and deaths of medical workers had been found in several designated hospitals. In this circumstance, the expert team will further investigate pandemic prevention and control procedures of Pakistani hospitals and help them optimize prevention and control measures to prevent nosocomial infections, so as to push forward pandemic control based on zero infection of medical workers.
Zhou Feihu, who had once participated in the battle against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, noted that the pandemic situation in Pakistan remained grim and complicated. "When we fought Ebola, the place we stayed was isolated, but now in Pakistan, the flow of people remains large. Although we stay in a Pakistani military guesthouse, it still sees a frequent flow of people. We need to take stricter anti-pandemic measures. This is a challenge faced by the Chinese expert team."
It is learnt that under the guidance and coordination of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, the expert team planned to open a consulting hotline at their office upon the permission of the Pakistani side. The hotline aims to provide anti-pandemic consultation services for overseas Chinese and employees of Chinese companies in Pakistan to help them maintain safety and health during the outbreak.