FBR issues precautionary measures against coronavirus

FBR issues precautionary measures against coronavirus

ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Thursday issued precautionary measures for tax officials to protect themselves against coronavirus and educate taxpayers and general public for prevention.

The FBR said that with the recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in China, its subsequent spread across the globe and education of two confirmed cases in Pakistan, it is imperative that in line with the direction of the federal government, all officers and staff of FBR be educated on the cases, symptoms and prevention measures to protect themselves as well as to educate the taxpayers and general population about the same.

A compendium of causes, symptoms and prevention; complied from research of World Health Organization, the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC-USA) and Ministry of National Health Service, Islamabad is summarized as under:

Causes: The coronavirus spreads primarily from person to person contact. CDC-USA attributes it to close contact (6 feet or less) with a person already infected. Prime cause of infection is through the airborne (water) droplets during sneezing and coughing of an already infected person.

Touching an area where an infected person has sneezed or coughed may also be avoided. Furthermore, it may spread from consuming uncooked or undercooked animal organ meat.

Summarized, Coronavirus spreads in similar way to flu. Persons at a higher age bracket and persons with weak/weakened immune system are at most risk.

Symptoms: The Coronavirus may manifest symptoms within 2 to 14 days after being contracted. As such, a non-symptomatic person may also be carrying the virus. Common symptoms include combination of: fever, cough and shortness of breath/breathing difficulties.

Most persons infected with Coronavirus experience only mild symptoms and recover. However, in more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Prevention: As a matter of general day to day precautions, measures should be taken, included: use of face masks on mouth and nose; Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers; avoiding close contact with any person showing symptoms of Coronavirus; covering mouth and nose with hand or elbow while sneezing or coughing; washing of hands with soap for at least 20 seconds; and ensuring that meat is thoroughly cooked.

It is recommended to try and avoid close personal contact with people with a recent travel history from the countries, included: China, South Korea, Italy, Japan and Iran.

Testing: The ministry of national health services, Islamabad has procured testing kits for Coronavirus and provided the same to various laboratories across Pakistan. Following places are recommended for testing of Coronavirus:

National Institute of Health, Islamabad (free of cost)

Shaukat Khanum Labs (Across Pakistan)

Agha Khan Labs (Across Pakistan)

Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi.

General instructions to Heads of field formations:

Foregoing in view, heads of all field formations are requested to ensure:

Display of precautionary measures including the causes, symptoms and prevention for Coronavirus at conspicuous places;

Placement of alcohol-bases hand sanitizers at all places of public interaction, both for FBR employees and general public;

Wearing of facemasks at all places of public interaction;

Use of disinfectants to wipe surfaces (Desks, tables and counters etc.) and objects (telephones and keyboards etc.) of common use on daily basis.

Reference to travel advisory before proceeding abroad on official work;

Politely discourage personal greetings in form of hugs and handshakes

Discontinuation of biometric attendance till culmination of Coronavirus threat.

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