Comprehensive HEC Policy/Guidelines for Universities and DAIs on COVID-19
Category: News & Events
Published on: March 19, 2020

What is corona virus (SARS-CoV-2)?

Corona viruses are a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds, and respiratory tract infections in humans. Typically, these infections are mild, but rarer forms such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) can be lethal.

The current corona virus outbreak, recently declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This virus has been shown to have a close genetic similarity to bat corona viruses, which are thought to have been its likely origin.

COVID-19 seems to be spread in a similar way to cold and flu bugs, through droplets created when a person coughs or sneezes being left on surfaces, which are then touched by other people and spread the disease further. At present, whilst COVID-19 appears to be more contagious than SARS or MERS, the fatality rate is relatively low (around 3%) when compared with MERS (34%) and SARS (10%), with early data suggesting the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are at a higher risk.

The health, welfare and safety of students and staff is the number one priority for the University. The University is taking a number of steps to safeguard our community.

How does it spread?

Although we have a lot to learn about this virus, it is currently believed that it spreads like other respiratory viruses- by people with the infection coughing and sneezing. These droplets are inhaled by other people or moved to the eyes, nose or mouth by contaminated hands.

What are the symptoms of this infection?

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include the following:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

If you have these symptoms, stay home and contact your health-care provider for medical guidance. Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care, emergency room or other health facility without contacting them first. Your provider will need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic.

Case Definitions

  1. A patient with at least one of the following symptoms: Fever, Cough or Shortness of breath


A history of travel to or residence in a country/area or territory reporting local transmission of COVID-19 disease during the 14 days prior to symptom onset. A list of the countries can be found in the latest WHO situational report at

  1. A patient with at least one of the following symptoms: Fever, Cough or Shortness of breath


Contact with a confirmed or probable COVID19 case in the last 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms;

  1. A patient with at least one of the following symptoms: Fever, Cough or Shortness of breath


Requiring hospitalization with no other etiology that fully explains the clinical presentation.

Who is at high risk for complications from COVID-19?

  • People older than 60 years
  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Pregnant ladies

Dissemination of basic practices to the students /faculty and visitors to avoid transmission:

  • Panic should be avoided by informing 80% have mild symptoms and low mortality rate Proper COVID-19 awareness materials should be provided in all the offices/institutions.
  • Visual alerts (signs, posters) at entrances and in strategic places providing instruction on hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette.
  • Post information, like posters and flyers, that remind faculty/students and visitors to practice good respiratory and hand hygiene.
  • In case of any concern of mild symptoms of employees, relief from work/work from home should be suggested to avoid any contact.
  • Organizations should avoid face to face meetings in case of any such concern.
  • All the offices should have work modalities policies in place, in advance.
  • Avoid stigma in case someone turns positive for SARS-CoV-2 by creating awareness that it’s just like any other respiratory virus.
  • Help desks to be provided in each institute
  • Information and videos regarding COVID-19 prevention, hand hygiene etc to be uploaded on university websites
  • Helpline numbers to be provided on website
  • FAQs should be displayed on university website
  • Daily situation report on COVID-19 and NIH Pakistan dash board report to be shared on university website to provide latest information to staff /faculty and students

Preventive measures to be taken:

Everyday measures everyone can take (Standard precautions):

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Wipe your hands with disposable paper towels or clean towels.
  • Soap and water should always be used if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose, if hand washing facilities are not available

  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow (sleeve sneezing) or use a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and immediately dispose of the tissue in a covered bin.
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Ensure thorough cooking of meat and eggs at university kitchens

Students, staff and visitors should wash their hands:

  • before leaving home
  • on arrival at University buildings or sites
  • after using the toilet
  • after breaks and sporting activities
  • before food preparation
  • before eating any food, including snacks
  • before leaving the University

If you feel sick:

  • Stay at home
  • Rest as much as possible
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Take your temperature daily
  • Stay home for at least 72 hours after your fever ends, without the use of fever-reducing medications
  • If you must need to go out of the house, wear a surgical mask and avoid close contact
  • Avoid contact with the people who have compromised immune systems, underlying health conditions and/or are age 60 and older

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19:

If you develop any symptoms such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath, follow the steps below:

  • Stay at home
  • Avoid contact with others
  • Contact your health care provider in advance
  • Do not show up at a clinic or other health facility without contacting it first because your provider will need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic / hospital.

Tests for COVID-19:

  • Testing is typically conducted by taking a nasopharyngeal and throat swab at a health care facility.
  • Call ahead before visiting your healthcare provider.

Who should wear a mask?

  • Public health agencies currently do not recommend healthy people to wear masks when they are in public.
  • It’s most important for people who are sick to wear a mask in a healthcare setting (such as a waiting room) to avoid exposing other people when they cough or sneeze.
  • Masks should not be touched or handled during use.
  • If the mask gets wet or dirty from secretions, it must be replaced immediately with a new clean, dry mask.
  • Remove the mask using the appropriate technique – that is, do not touch the front, but instead untie it.
  • Discard the mask immediately after use and perform hand hygiene.

How to wear a mask?

  • The dark surface is the outside of masks; the metal strip (nose clip) side is the upside of masks
  • The light surface is the inside of masks, which closes to our face. In addition, pay attention to the part with the metal strip above the mask, and don’t wear it upside down.
  • Distinguishing the inside, outside, up and down of masks, and washing your hands before wearing masks. Then hang the rope on the ears at both ends.

When wearing disposable medical masks, fully folded surface, and cover mouth, nose, and lower jaw entirely, then compress nose clip, so masks and face are in full contact with each other.

How to clean and disinfect surfaces?

  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door knobs, floors, handrails, tables, lifts, computer and keyboards etc)
  • Departments should use a disinfectant on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Corona virus, an alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol, or a 10% bleach/water solution to disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces.
  • Regular household soap or detergent should be used first for cleaning, and then, after rinsing, regular household disinfectant containing 0.5% sodium hypochlorite (i.e., equivalent to 5000 pm or 1 part bleach to 9 parts water) should be applied at least once per day.
  • Metal surfaces can be cleaned and disinfected with 75% Alcohol.
  • It is also recommended that all departments purchase single use disinfectant wipes for touch points within their work spaces.
  • Please avoid putting disinfectant gels or liquids on electronics and other equipment, including unless they have been indicated as safe to use on those devices.
  • Clean and disinfect bathroom and toilet surfaces at least once daily. Regular household soap or detergent should be used first for cleaning, and then, after rinsing, regular household disinfectant containing 0.5% sodium hypochlorite should be applied.
  • Clean the clothes, bed linen, and bath and hand towels using regular laundry soap and water or machine wash at 60–90 °C with common household detergent, and dry thoroughly.
  • Gloves and protective clothing (e.g., plastic aprons) should be used when cleaning surfaces or handling clothing or linen.

Work area protection:
On the way to work:

  • Wear disposable medical masks properly. Try not to use public transportation.
  • Walking, cycling, taking a private car or shuttle to work is recommended.
  • If you must use public transportation, should wear the face mask all the way.
  • Try to avoid touching anything with your hands on the way.

Thermal screening:

  • Before entering the office building, should consciously take a temperature test.
  • If the body temperature is normal, you can enter the building then wash your hands in the bathroom.
  • If the body temperature exceeds 37.2 ℃, please do not go into the building to work, go home for observation, if necessary, and please go to the hospital for treatment.

Office work:

  • Keep the office area clean. It is recommended to ventilate 3 times a day for 20-30 minutes each time, and keep warm when ventilating.
  • Keep a distance of more than 1 meter from person to person Wear a mask when work in a multi-person office.
  • Wash your hands frequently, drink plenty of water, and insist on washing your hands strictly according to the seven-step method before eating and after going to the toilet. Both sides of the reception of outsiders should wear masks.

Attend a meeting:

  • It is recommended to wear a mask and wash your hands before entering the meeting room. The meeting staff should be more than 1 meter apart.
  • Try to reduce centralized meetings and control meeting time. When the meeting time is too long, open the window and ventilate once. The venue and furniture must be disinfected after the meeting.
  • Better use video conferencing rather than physical presence in meetings pr seminars.

In the dining hall:

  • Adopt divided meals to avoid crowded people.
  • The dining room must be disinfected once a day, the tables and chairs should be disinfected after use.
  • Cutlery must be sterilized at high temperature.
  • The operation room should be kept clean and dry.
  • Mixed use raw food and cooked food is strictly prohibited, also need to avoid raw meat.
  • It is recommended to have a nutritious meal with light taste.

On the way home from work:

  • Wear a disposable medical mask to go out after washing your hands. When you back home, remove your mask and wash hands firstly. Wipe the phone and keys with a sterile wipe or 75% alcohol. Keep the room ventilated and clean to avoid crowds.

In public area:

  • Daily disinfection of public areas such as halls, corridors, conference rooms, elevators, stairs, toilets, etc. should be proceed, using spray disinfection as much as possible. Cleaning utensils used in each area should be kept separately to avoid mixing On travel:
  • It is recommended to wipe the interior and the door handle of the car with 75% alcohol once a day.
  • Must wear masks when take shuttle bus. And the shuttle bus should be wiped and disinfected with 75% alcohol after use.

Support staff:

  • Service personnel, security personnel, cleaning personnel must wear masks while working, and keep a safe distance from people.
  • Canteen purchasers or suppliers must wear masks and disposable rubber gloves to avoid direct hand contact with fresh meat and poultry materials, wash hands and disinfect them immediately after removing gloves.
  • Cleaning staff must wear disposable rubber gloves when working, wash and disinfect hands after working.
  • Security personnel must wear masks to work, carefully inquire and register the status of outsiders, report abnormal situation in time.

How to deal with abandoned masks:

  • During epidemic prevention, hand hygiene should be done before and after removing masks. Abandoned masks should be placed in trash cans, and the trash can should be disinfected with 75% alcohol or chlorine-containing disinfectant twice a day.


  • Ensure supplies are available (tissues, waste receptacles, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, disinfectants, alcohol wipes etc)
  • Facemasks should be available for those who develop respiratory symptoms
  • Ideally the distance between two beds should be >6 feet if students or staff are sharing same room in hostel areas
  • Similarly the sitting places should be > 6 feet apart in waiting areas.
  • Hand sanitizers and hand washing facilities to be provided in hallways, corridors, waiting areas, library, cafeterias, outside lecture halls and offices

Dedicated transportation facility should be made available in case someone becomes symptomatic and needs to be transported to healthcare facility

*WHO recommended Tests centers for Corona virus in Pakistan:*

  • WHO contact


Dr Michael Lukwiya 0300 8429534

  • Karachi

Dr Haris Mustafa 0333-1595551 Agha Khan Hospital

National Stadium Rd, Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Karachi City,


Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Center

Rafiq، Sarwar Shaheed Rd, Karachi Cantonment,

Ph: 021-99201300

  • Islamabad: Dr Salman Ahmed, National Institute of Health

Chak Shahzad, Islamabad

Cell # 0333-5384248

Ph: 051-9255815

Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences

G-8, Islamabad,

Ph: (051) 9261170

  • Peshawar: Dr Saeed Khan 0300 5903375

Care facility send the samples to NIH-Islamabad

Police & Services Hospital Peshawar

Police Rd, PTCL Colony, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Ph: 091-9223472

  • Quetta: Dr Dawood Riaz 0333-7804297

Care facility send the samples to NIH-Islamabad

Fatima Jinnah Chest and General Hospital – Quetta

Bahadurabad, Wahdat Colony, Quetta, Balochistan

Sheikh Zahid Hospital – Quetta

Mastung Rd, Quetta, Balochistan

  • Lahore: Dr.  Irfan Ahmad 03246327085