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Pakistan lacks facility to detect coronavirus

ISLAMABAD: Amid concerns about the outbreak of a new virus that has thus far killed 14 people in China and infected over 800, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said the country lacks the facility to detect the deadly coronavirus.

Dr Zafar Mirza in a statement said samples of suspected cases will be sent to international labs for testing.

He said specific virology labs have the necessary equipment to diagnose such viral diseases.

The SAPM said samples would be referred to labs of three countries, including China and Holland until the labs with facility to detect the coronavirus are established in the country. He assured that the facility will be made available in two weeks.

China’s National Health Commission earlier said 830 cases of coronavirus had been confirmed so far and 25 people had died as of Thursday.

Read More: China virus death toll mounts to 25, infections spread

Most of the cases are in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus is believed to have originated late last year.

Non-fatal cases have been found in at least seven other countries.

Health officials fear the transmission rate could accelerate as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home and abroad during week-long holidays for the Lunar New Year, which begins on Saturday.

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