LAHORE: The Provincial Apex Committee on Wednesday planned to set up a field hospital with a quarantine facility in Taftan to screen pilgrims coming from Iran at the very first point.
The decision seems an outcome of a backlash that the first batch of pilgrims sent to different provinces after 14 days of quarantine was found to be coronavirus positive.
The Apex Committee also planned converting Hajj Terminal in Lahore into a quarantine centre for the passengers suspected of having coronavirus infection.
The meeting at Chief Minister’s Secretariat was chaired by Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and attended by Corps Commander Lahore Lt-Gen Majid Ehsan, General Officer Commanding 10-Division Maj-Gen Aneeq-ur-Rehman Malik, DG Rangers Punjab Maj-Gen Amir Majeed, law minister Basharat Raja, health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid, the chief secretary, the IG, the ACS (Home) and other civil and military officials.
Shopping malls, restaurants to close at 10pm
The Apex Committee also decided to close all shopping malls and commercial activity in markets after 10pm. Reacting to the report that people had begun going to Murree after “closure of educational institutions under coronavirus threat,” the committee took a decision to close the hill resort for tourists.
The meeting also decided to make screening and movement system at entry points of Punjab more effective.
The military leadership assured its full cooperation to the civil government.
The meeting asserted that the already given action plan against the coronavirus threat should be implemented in letter and spirit effectively. Besides reviewing steps being taken to deal with coronavirus, the meeting also discussed the future roadmap. The participants expressed the commitment to utilise all possible resources for saving the people from coronavirus.
Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister emphasised that extraordinary steps were required to deal with the unusual situation. He stressed that all line departments should go to every extent to save the lives of people.
“There is no option except to win the war against coronavirus and both political as well as military leadership is on one page to deal with this pandemic,” the chief minister said. He emphasised that every segment of society should play its role for effectively dealing with the coronavirus.
The chief minister said arrangements had been made to quarantine 5,000 people in DG Khan, Bahawalpur and Multan. He assured that the health department would be provided with every possible resource to deal with the coronavirus threat, adding that these steps had been taken to protect the people.
Corps Commander Lt-Gen Majid Ehsan said the Punjab government was taking effective steps for dealing with coronavirus. “The Pakistan Army is extending cooperation to the government at every level to overcome it. It is a national cause and we will fully support the civil government,” he said.
The provincial health departments’ secretaries briefed the meeting on coronavirus situation and precautionary measures across the province. The meeting was told that the number of coronavirus patients had increased to 198,000 in the world, while there were 239 confirmed coronavirus patients in Pakistan including 26 in Punjab.
Health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid told the meeting that she was personally visiting all hospitals and ensuring whether the high dependency wards were ready to handle the coronavirus patients effectively besides all the required equipment.
Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2020