LAHORE: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Monday assured a delegation of religious scholars of different schools of thought that called on him at his officeh that mosques will not be closed in the province.
The delegation announced full support to the government in its efforts to check coronavirus spread.
Mr Buzdar said a cabinet committee had been constituted to monitor the steps being taken for controlling the virus that was regularly holding its meetings, while Rs240 million had been released to the health department for the procurement of necessary medical equipment.
He said the government had also allocated an amount of Rs1 billion for health department to cope with the possible coronavirus outbreak in the province.
The chief minister said 41 high-dependency units having 541 beds capacity have been established in the district headquarters (DHQ) hospitals in the province for coronavirus patients.
He said special hospitals had been established in Muzaffargarh, Lahore and Rawalpindi for the coronavirus patients, while quarantine facilities were set up in Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan and Bahawalpur to monitor health conditions of the pilgrims returning from Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The chief minister said 760 pilgrims had reached DG Khan who were being screened.
Meanwhile, additional 10,000 kits were being procured to diagnose coronavirus.
He said the Punjab cabinet had also given approval for public health emergency, claiming that coronavirus treatment facility could be set up for 100,000 people within one week.
He said a ban had been imposed on public gatherings under Section 144 in Punjab and a public awareness campaign was also in progress.
Stressing that people should not panic, the chief minister said the religious scholars should sensitise people to coronavirus threat, adding that the government appreciated their (religious scholars’) recommendations.
Law minister Basharat Raja said the religious scholars’ cooperation with the government was a good tradition.
Provincial health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid maintained that as the virus could spread swiftly, one should not go out during the holidays.
Provincial minister Saeed-ul-Hassan Shah observed that people should avoid going to other places during the pandemic.
The religious scholars were also given a briefing on the precautionary measures taken by the government to check virus spread.
Badshahi Masjid khateeb (prayer leader) led the prayer for safety from coronavirus.
Maulana Sahibzada Fazal Raheem, Maulana Ghulam Muhammad Sialvi, Maulana Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, Hafiz Zubair Ahmad Zaheer, Allama Muhammad Hussain Akbar and other religious scholars also spoke.
Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2020