​About CO​​VID-19 ​​

1) What is COVID-19?
​COVID-19 is the official name of the disease caused by the virus SARS CoV-2, formerly known as Novel Coronavirus. This is a new strain from the coronavirus family.

2) How does SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) spread?
SARS CoV-2 spreads through droplets which are released when people sneeze or cough.

3) What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, body aches and breathing problems. With new strains, the disease may present with other symptoms as well such as sneezing, runny nose, sore throat etc. ​

4) How long is the incubation period for COVID-19?
Incubation period is the time between catching the virus and when the symptoms of the disease start appearing. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range between 1 and 14 days.

5) How do I know if I have COVID-19 and not regular cold or flu?
The only way to know if you suffer from COVID-19 is through a special lab test.

6) Can COVID-19 be treated with antibiotics?
No. COVID-19 is caused by a virus and antibiotics only work on bacterial infections.

7) Is there any particular treatment for COVID-19?
There is no treatment for COVID-19 yet. The disease is treated symptomatically, which means the symptoms (such as fever and cough) are treated rather than the disease itself.

8) How serious is COVID-19?
COVID-19 usually causes a mild to moderate respiratory (lung) infection; however, it may lead to severe pneumonia (lung infection), organ failure and can be fatal, especially in the elderly or those who are immunocompromised or have other chronic diseases. ​​

Protection from COVI​​D​​​-19

1) What precautionary measures should I take regularly?​
  • Wear a mask to cover your face and mouth outside your home. 
  • Also wear a mask at home if there is a COVID-19 suspected or confirmed patient around.
  • Regularly wash your hands, especially after sneezing or coughing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth without first washing your hands.
  • Follow cough/sneeze hygiene practices (cough or sneeze in a tissue or your elbow/ sleeves) and discard used tissues appropriately in the dustbin; do not reuse.
  • Stay home. Maintain physical distancing: avoid large gatherings and keep a distance of at least 6 feet when in the company of other people.​
2) ​How can I increase my immunity against COVID-19?
  • Get vaccinated with COVID-19.
  • Have a balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat, and lentils.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid processed or fried food.
  • Sleep 7 to 8 hours every night.
  • Exercise regularly. 
  • Do not smoke.

3) Can I get COVID-19 from eating fish, chicken or meat?
No, you cannot get COVID-19 by eating fish, chicken or meat. However, cook these thoroughly so that you are not at risk of other infections. ​

4) Can I get COVID-19 from my pets?
While some animals can get SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, currently, there is no evidence to suggest pets can pass it to humans. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after petting animals.

5) Can I give COVID-19 to my pets?
There have been isolated cases of domestic pets catching COVID-19 from humans. If you have COVID-19, or think you may have it, it is best to limit your contact with your pets and have someone else care for them. The animal and its surrounding environment should be cleaned while wearing a face mask and gloves; a bleach solution should be used to clean the surfaces the pet uses.  ​

6) Can I get vaccinated for COVID-19?
Yes, there are now vaccines available for COVID-19. Please call 1166 for more information. 

7) Should I wear a mask? 
You should wear a surgical mask if you are sick yourself with cold/ flu-like symptoms or are outside the home in an area where there are others around you. The N-95 mask is only needed if you are a healthcare staff working specifically in Intensive or Special Care Units or carrying out aerosol-generating procedures. ​

8) I need to travel soon. What precautions should I take?
If you have to travel, take the following precautions: avoid people who may be sick; wash your hands frequently and try not to touch your face, especially your eyes, nose or mouth without first washing your hands. Wear a surgical mask if you can. Note that you may be placed in quarantine upon your return.

9) What precautionary measures should I take when I return home from outside?

Always wash your hands immediately after you return home. If you have to visit a hospital or a crowded place, like the supermarket, take a shower and change your clothes. ​

10) Are there any safety guidelines for bathing and burial of the bodies of COVID-19 patients?
It is essential for those involved in bathing and funeral of the COVID-19 affected dead body to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all times. Recommended PPE includes:

  • Gloves
  • Two layers of full sleeve impervious gown
  • N95 mask
  • Closed shoes with shoe covers
  • Goggles
  • Headgear to cover your entire head

​It is strongly recommended by expert pathologists to seal the COVID-19 affected dead bodies in a plastic bag after the bathing ritual. ​

About the ​Aga Khan U​​niversity Hospitals' role in fighting CO​​VID-19 in Pakistan​​

1) What did the leadership and experts at the Aga Khan University Hospital do before the outbreak of COVID-19 in Pakistan? 
Our expert scientists and clinicians in public health, infectious diseases, emergency medicine, internal medicine,​ and family medicine began researching, studying, assessing and learning about the disease outbreak, first from China and then other countries as the disease spread there. This they used to prepare for the outbreak in Pakistan and make disease projections.

The hospital leadership, together with the academic and clinical experts, began proactively planning for the disease outbreak in Pakistan, collaborating with other leading international health organisations as well as sharing emerging knowledge and technical information with the Government Health Agencies in Pakistan.

2) What role did the Aga Khan University Hospital play when the first suspected case of COVID-19 surfaced?
  • Our Clinical Laboratory Experts made the first PCR based testing kits for COVID-19 diagnosis available.
  • We prepared and were ready to accept some of the first patients who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Infection Control Experts began putting previously prepared patient management protocols into action. 
  • Family Medicine doctor and nurse specialists were able to begin screening and testing patients who initially came to us.
  • Procedures and processes were implemented to support very sick patients suspected of COVID-19 and who needed highly specialised care.

3) Has the Aga Khan University Hospital restarted screening and testing for COVID-19? Why was it halted?
The Aga Khan University Hospital has restarted both the services. Patients suspecting COVID-19 can call our Contact Centre at 021-111-911-911 to book a FREE tele-screening appointment. Based on the screening results, patients will be booked for testing, if needed. The price of the COVID-19 test is Rs. 6,900;  welfare and zakat support is available for eligible patients. Free testing supported by the financial assistance provided by the European Union​, is also available for deserving patients.

Earlier, the demand for screening and testing grew significantly within the first few weeks and our capacity to accept a large volume of patients became limited, especially with dwindling supplies. This began as a temporary closure, with plans to resume; however, the Government called for a lock-down and advised that patients should not attempt to go to hospitals for screening and testing in order to avoid more people from getting infected. During this time, to help allay COVID-19 concerns in the wider community, we launched our 24/7 COVID-19 Helpline whereby people who had concerns could get information and guidance from trained healthcare professionals. 

We also began working on plans to offer FREE tele-screening, so patients could be screened without having to come to the hospital. Our new, dedicated testing site is also on the Main Campus on Stadium Road, but away from other clinics and services, so suspected COVID-19 patients can be tested with ease and convenience, with limited exposure risk to themselves and others.  We have introduced home testing and drive-through testing at select locations across the country.

4) What is the Aga Khan University Hospital doing for COVID-19 patients now?
The Aga Khan University Hospital is screening, testing, admitting and caring for as many COVID-19 patients as safely possible, limited by beds, appropriate space, equipment, and supplies. In February 2021, AKUH also became the first private hospital in Karachi to offer COVID-19 vaccinations under the government's free vaccination programme. Tens of thousands of people have received their vaccinations, completely free of cost, at our Main Campus. ​We are also assisting the government to vaccinate the elderly or otherwise immobile people at home. 

While doing so, we continue to offer services to patients who suffer from other serious and life-threatening medical conditions.
In such a pandemic, the volume of suspected and infected patients with varying levels of disease severity can surge and we continue to offer technical support to the Government-led national response.

The Aga Khan University Hospital also continues to work to advance our disease knowledge, processes, systems, protocols and patient flows which are being shared with the Government Health agencies, other healthcare institutions and professional bodies.

The University Hospital understands its role as one of knowledge building, training, and resources for other Hospitals and Healthcare Professionals to use and apply directly in caring for suspected or infected COVID-19 patients. In April 2020, AKU partnered with the Health Ministry to offer a range of trainings, tele-consultations, and assessment of ICU facilities across the country, aimed at supporting treatment for hospitalised, severely ill COVID-19 patients. Learn more here. ​

5) What can you expect from the Aga Khan University Hospital as the disease pandemic progresses in Pakistan?
Our expert scientists and clinicians in Public Health, Infectious Diseases, Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Infection Control ​​will continue to work on defining pathways to pave the way in the fight against COVID-19. 

We are also ​working to enhance our capacity to admit and offer care to more COVID-19 patients, in addition to people needing care for other illnesses. Plans for a field hospital are on standby in the event that the pandemic reaches a national crisis situation.​

For M​​ore Informa​​tion​

To get regular updates, visit our website, LIKE our Facebook page, and Subscribe to our YouTube channel.​

Website: ​​Visit the AKUH COVID-19 Website​
Facebook: Visit the AKUH Facebook Page​
YouTube: ​​​ Visit the AKUH YouTube Channel​
AKUH 24/7 COVID-19 Helpline: +92-21-111-911-911
Government Helpline: 1166
  1. Safe Management of Dead Bodies of ​​COVID-19 Suspected or Confirmed ​Persons English​
  2. Safe Management of Dead Bodies of COVID-19 Suspected or Confirmed Persons Urdu​
  3. Poster: Wellness and COVID-19 in English​
  4. Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 in English​
  5. Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 in Urdu
  6. Symptoms and Prevention Poster in English and Urdu​
  7. COVID-19 Vaccination Government Forms ​Download Here
  8. Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccine Download Here