TIMERGARA: The political parties, the civil society and elders on Friday demanded of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan to establish a coronavirus testing laboratory in Malakand division.

In separate statements issued here, JUI-F district emir Ameer Sirajuddin, JI chief Izazul Mulk Afkari, PPP secretary information Alam Zeb, PTI activist Ali Shah Mishwani and activists Akbar Khan, Umar Zada and Ibrash Pasha said Malakand division with more than five million people was the largest division in the province and deserved to have a separate testing laboratory for suspected Covid-19 patients.

They said swabs of the suspects from Lower and Upper Dir, Swat, Buner, Malakand, Shangla and Bajaur were being sent either to Khyber Medical University Peshawar or National Institute of Health Sciences, Islamabad, for laboratory reports.

They said not only the suspected patients but also their families went through mental stress while awaiting results for four to five days.

TRIAGE CENTRE SET UP: A triage centre was set up at the district headquarters hospital, Timergara, on Friday, the first-ever of its kind in Malakand division.

Deputy commissioner Saadat Hassan along with Commandant Dir Task Force Col Mujtaba Haidar visited the centre and expressed satisfaction on the arrangements.

Briefing the officials, medical superintendent Dr Shaukat Ali said suspected patients would be screened at the centre and be sent to isolation while rest would be admitted to emergency unit. He said the centre was set up with the support of NGO Medecins Sans Frontiers to help isolate coronavirus victims from rest of the patients. He said the hospital’s ICU and available ventilators were functional.

Commandant Mujtaba Haidar said the administration would take action against elements disseminating negative propaganda regarding the pandemic.

RELIEF SOUGHT: The Pakistan Peoples Party, Lower Dir chapter on Friday demanded of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to provide relief package to the lockdown-hit peoople.

Speaking at a news conference, district president and former provincial minister Mehmood Zeb Khan, Alam Zeb, Shahid Jan and others said the daily wagers and low-income families were the worst affected.

They said the poor families had been waiting for the relief package for two weeks.

The PPP leaders rejected the Tiger force and demanded that the government form impartial committees for distribution of relief among the poor.

Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2020