At least three Pakistani journalists have tested positive for novel coronavirus. This news was revealed via Twitter that 2 journalists working with News 24 HD TV and 1 with AbbTakk TV have contracted COVID-19.
The names of these three journalists have not been revealed but all of them are based in Lahore.
CEO 24 NewsHD Mohsin Naqvi confirmed the development and said, “We are investigating the possibility of further infected individuals by tests and have quarantined few staff members. We have and will continue to assure that all precautions possible are taken.”
Also, the head of a newspaper union claimed three more reporters to have been infected with the coronavirus. He said that lack of safety kits is one of the reasons for this situation.
Chairman All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation (APNEC) Siddique Anzar told Anadolu Agency, “Most of the reporters covering hospitals asked me for safety kits. After our request to the federal government, they have taken up the responsibility for the treatment of only those reporters and their families who have tested positive.”
He said that the reporters from smaller towns like Dera Ismail Khan and Larkana are not just ill-equipped but are also facing financial issues as salaries have been delayed.
Sibte Hassan, who reports for Hum News from Karachi, said: “Channels are demanding extensive coverage of this issue… we have to give live hits in every headline and bulletin but they haven’t provided us with any safety kits. I am roaming around in hospitals… I got my safety kit on my own, but many of the field reporters cannot even afford these.”
Hamid Mir, a senior journalist said: “I have even used safety kits in war zones that were very heavy but for corona, it is very light… hand gloves, masks, plastic capes, and sanitizers. We have demanded the government to pay the overdue bills of media houses that are around Rs6 billion so that their staff can get through this lockdown and take care of themselves.”