PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to give Rs12,000 cash assistance to around 100,000 deserving families from the Zakat fund during the outbreak of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
The decision was made during a meeting of the government’s task force on coronavirus here on Monday.
Chief Minister Mahmood Khan chaired the meeting, which was attended by health minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Peshawar Corps Commander Lieutenant General Noman Mehmood, chief secretary Dr Kazim Niaz and inspector general of police Dr Sanaullah Abbasi.
The meeting was briefed about the steps taken to deal with Covid-19 and was told that the Torkham border crossing was opened from April 6 to April 9 for the return of Afghans stranded in Pakistan.
Adviser to the chief minister on information Ajmal Wazir told reporters afterward that Rs12,000 cash assistance would be in addition to Rs12,000 to be given away to 2.2 million deserving families for a period of four months under the federal government’s package.
He said the provincial government would also provide Rs6,000 to the same number of families for three months.
Mr Wazir said relief packages would be given away to the people in a transparent manner.
CM orders special care, screening of Tableeghi Jamaat’s ‘guests’
He said the chief minister had given special instructions to the relevant officials to ensure special care of the Tableeghi Jamaat’s ‘guests’ during their presence in the province and their screening for coronavirus for early return to homes.
The adviser said the chief minister also ordered the provision of personal protection equipment to paramedics declaring that all medical staff and other frontline workers were the nation’s heroes whose devoted endeavours would help defeat coronavirus.
SUPPORTED PLEDGED: The international development partners, including World Bank and Department for International Development, have pledged support to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s efforts to stem the spread of Covid-19.
Representatives of the World Bank pledged an initial sum of $14 million as emergency assistance during a virtual conference meeting with additional chief Secretary Shakeel Qadir Khan, said a statement issued here on Monday.
The DFID’s representatives were also present in the meeting.
The additional chief secretary appreciated the World Bank’s financial assistance and UNDP’s technical support for merged tribal districts.
World Bank country director Patchamuthu Illangovan and operations manager Melinda Good highlighted about the organisation’s approach to closely work with the government to deal with Covid-19 outbreak and its socioeconomic implications.
Officials in the health department said the World Bank had pledged 150 ventilators and 40 of them had been provided to the province, while $200m personal protective equipment would be provided for health workers to protect them from the infection.
Meanwhile, deputy commissioner of Peshawar Mohammad Ali Asghar has said 16 pilgrims from Peshawar were being sent home on completion of 14 days quarantine.
In a statement, Mr Asghar said a total of 152 pilgrims were kept in the quarantine centre on return from Iran.
He said 16 pilgrims were being sent home on completion of the quarantine period, while the rest would later be allowed to leave the premises for return to native areas outside Peshawar.
NEW CASES: Swabi deputy commissioner Shahid Mehmood has disclosed the detection of two new novel coronavirus cases in the district.
He said the district had so far reported seven confirmed Covid-19 cases.
The deputy commissioner said three patients were discharged from a local hospital on recovery from the disease and they’re kept in own houses with none of their family members being allowed to meet them.
He said the district administration had enforced a complete lockdown in the virus-hit areas and asked the residents to stay indoors as a precautionary step.
Also in the day, three new confirmed Covid-19 cases were reported in Gumbat tehsil taking Kohat district’s virus tally to 31.
The new cases were shifted to an isolation ward of the KDA Quarantine Centre, said the Regional Coronavirus Command Centre.
Until now, one patient has recovered from the infection in the district.
Charsadda recorded four new coronavirus cases on Monday.
District health officer Dr Mohammad Idrees told reporters that the fresh cases were reported in a family of Utmanzai tehsil.
He said all family members were quarantined in own house, while samples were taken from them for test.
The DHO said the entire area had been placed in lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus. He said a campaign would be launched in the area to ask the people to stay indoors.
The DHO said 43 suspected coronavirus cases had so far been reported in Charsadda district and 19 of them tested negative for the virus and nine positive.
He added that three patients were discharged on recovery.
Swat district recorded six new Covid-19 cases on Monday increasing the number of patients to 31.
Deputy commissioner Saqib Raza Aslam said two people were diagnosed with the virus in Gumbat Maira, Dangram and Aryanai Bahrain each.
Also in the day, two more coronavirus cases were reported in Haripur taking the district’s virus tally to six.
The patients belonged to Khalabat Township and Serae Nehmat Khan union council.
Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2020