Punjab can conduct 3,100 virus tests daily: Buzdar


LAHORE: Punjab has achieved the capacity of conducting 3,100 Covid-19 tests daily, which will be increased to 5,000 tests in the next few days, says Chief Minister Usman Buzdar while presiding over a video-link meeting of the cabinet committee for eradication of coronavirus here on Tuesday.

As many as 1,785 people were tested on Monday, he said and added that “around 19,000 diagnostic kits are available in the province and 2,000 more will be received from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) by Wednesday (today).”

Meanwhile, the chief minister said testing laboratories were being established in Lahore and other districts of the province, and directed the officials to make functional eight labs at the earliest.

He also ordered strict enforcement of Section 144 in the province. “Violation of government orders will not be tolerated as these steps are being taken to protect the lives of citizens,” he maintained.

Orders strict enforcement of Section 144

Mr Buzdar directed traffic police to take action against those violating pillion riding ban.

Stressing the need for early screening of suspected patients, he said: “The health authorities should complete the procurement of necessary equipment as soon as possible. All patients in the quarantine facilities or isolation wards will be tested again after 14 days and those testing negative [for Covid-19] will be allowed to go home.”

The chief minister sought establishment of separate wards for coronavirus-affected pregnant women in Lahore and other districts’ hospitals. He said the patients should be provided with every necessary facility in quarantine centres.

He ordered provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to doctors and nurses on a priority basis, besides resolution of their other issues by the government.

Provincial ministers Dr Yasmeen Rashid, Mian Aslam Iqbal, chief secretary, inspector general of police, secretaries of health, information, finance and agriculture departments and military officials attended the meeting at the chief minister’s office. Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht, senior member of Board of Revenue, additional chief secretary (Home), relevant secretaries and other high officials participated in the meeting through video link.

Meanwhile,Chief Secretary Azam Suleiman called on the chief minister at his office and presented Rs1.2 billion cheque for Chief Minister Fund for Corona Control.

This amount has been donated by Punjab government employees to support the governmental efforts for overcoming the coronavirus pandemic.

Government employees from grade 1 to 16 have donated their one-day salary, while those in grade 17 to grade 19 donated two-day salary for the fund. Similarly, three days’ salary of government officers in grade 20 to grade 22 has been donated for the purpose.

Talking on this occasion, the chief minister appreciated the employees’ passion and assured them that this amount would be utilised transparently for helping the coronavirus patients.

“The Punjab government is standing with the affected people and the poor will not be left alone. The government employees have set a high example and every penny [of the donation] will be spent on the welfare of the deserving people. I am monitoring the relief activities and there would be no delay in this regard,” he said.

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