ISLAMABAD: With a sharp surge in cases of the coronavirus novel reported in the past 24 hours, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday ordered that personal protective equipment (PPE) be given to health professionals because they were frontline soldiers in the fight against the deadly virus.
He also directed the relevant authorities to ensure that the lower classes benefited from the major recently announced tax breaks for the construction sector which had been given industry status.
The prime minister issued a directive while chairing a meeting about the Covid-19 situation. The event was attended by federal ministers Asad Umar, Khusro Bakhtiar and Hammad Azhar, special assistants PM Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Dr. Zafar Mirza and Dr. Moeed Yusuf and Chairperson of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chief Lieutenant General Muhammad Afzal.
Dr Mirza and Lieutenant General Afzal told the meeting that there were 3,300 ventilators in 137 hospitals across the country and direct contact had been made with hospitals to provide personal protective equipment (PPE). In addition, 49,500 test equipment is provided for the province and more tools will be provided in the next few days.
The meeting told 3,300 ventilators available in 137 hospitals, 49,500 test kits were provided for the province
The meeting was told that enough PPE and masks are available in the country, but efforts are underway to regulate more ventilators.
At another meeting, special assistant Usman Dar told the prime minister that a decision had been made to bring a direct update on the Tiger Force to public knowledge. The meeting was told that people would be able to check for updates directly at http://crt.covid.gov.pk and more than 739,000 people had registered as troops.
Meanwhile, speaking at the press conference, Dr. Zafar Mirza said that as many as 500,000 N95 masks had been provided for the province and claimed that the amount was more than their needs. “As per our estimates, there are 1,162 PPE requirements in Balochistan, but we provide 5,600 PPE for the province. However, we still get complaints that the amount of PPE given to the province is insufficient. Unfortunately, PPE is used by people who don’t need it, “he said.
The PM assistant said a guideline would be announced on April 8 for the use of PPE, adding that only health professionals working in isolation wards had to wear N95 masks, while sanitation staff had to wear surgical masks even on isolation wards.
“If the irrational use of PPE continues, we will never be able to have enough stock of equipment. In addition, when new ventilators are imported and produced in Pakistan, an expert committee has been formed to look at the efficacy of ventilators and diagnostic kits, “he said.
Dr Mirza said that 397 Covid-19 cases were reported in Pakistan over the past 24 hours. However, he said the death rate in Pakistan was far lower, at 1.53 percent compared to the global rate of 5.45 percent.
Earlier, while giving an explanation to the parliamentary committee, the NDMA chairman said that 500 ventilators would reach Pakistan on April 9 and arrangements were being made to import 2,000 more ventilators. He said 29,000 test kits had been provided for the province and 137 hospitals across the country were dedicated to Covid-19 patients. He said that as many as 35,000 tests had been carried out throughout the country.
According to reports, 3,662 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Pakistan – 1,816 in Punjab, 932 in Sindh, 405 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 210 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 202 in Balochistan, 82 in Islamabad and 15 in Azad Kashmir. A total of 52 deaths have been reported and 257 patients recovered.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Air Force C-130 aircraft on Monday shifted 5.5 tons of medical and PPE to Quetta.
Published in Dawn, April 7, 2020
to request modification Contact us at Here or [email protected]