Pakistani 'hero' doctor who led fight against coronavirus dies
23 Mar 2020
Dr Osama Riaz
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
A young physician, Dr Osama Riaz, has become the first Pakistani doctor to die from coronavirus which he had contracted while physically handling suspected COVID-19 patients returning to Gilgit-Baltistan from overseas and other parts of the country.
Dr Riaz was part of the 10-member team of the doctors tasked with screening patients returning from other areas, particularly those arriving there from Iran via Taftan. He later started providing services to the suspected patients in isolation centres established for them in Gilgit.
"It is with extreme sadness that the Gilgit-Baltistan health department confirms that Osama Riaz who played a key role in the war against coronavirus has passed away," the GB government's information department tweeted.
His colleagues said that Dr Riaz ignored his health and served the patients till late night as they had never been provided any services before.
Dr Shah Zaman, a senior member of the Health Department and focal person of Gilgit-Baltistan government for coronavirus, said that he had personally met Dr Riaz last week.
"After I met him at the screening centre, he finished duty and went home. He was perfectly alright by that time and didn’t made any complaint but it was when his wife tried to wake him up, he didn’t respond. When he was checked, he was unconscious,” said Dr Shah Zaman.
Dr Riaz was then shifted to the Provincial Headquarters Hospital (PHQ) in Gilgit city where he was put on a ventilator. It was a big shock and surprise for the local authorities. They sent his swab for investigation that confirmed him as a positive case.
According to officials in Gilgit, they repeated his swab test and again he tested positive for the coronavirus. They said they had learnt two days ago that he had died and his brain stopped functioning but since it was a sensitive issue and could have serious repercussions, they wanted to utilise all their resources at their disposal to save his life.
According to the doctors in the PHQ, they had sent his swab to the National Institute of Health in Islamabad for the satisfaction of his family.