RAWALPINDI: The number of beds for Covid-19 patients at the Rawalpindi Institute of Urology (RIU) will be increased from 180 to 300 and the shortage of doctors will be met in another two weeks, Commissioner retired Capt Mohammad Mehmood said on Thursday.

Mr Mehmood told Dawn that the government has given the health department enough funds to deal with the coronavirus outbreak in the region, and the department is working to provide the utmost facilities to patients.

More quarantine facilities are being set up to isolate suspected patients and increase testing, he said, adding that the government’s main goal is to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

He said the government will fill vacancies for doctors by holding walk-in interviews in the coming days to overcome the shortage of medical staff.

Mr Mehmood said that he has directed the administrations of all four districts to ensure patients and quarantined individuals are provided three meals a day. Special teams have also been deputed in centres so that people can inform the administration of any problems.

He said that three patients were discharged from RIU on Thursday after they recovered from Covid-19. The number of recoveries is increasing, he said, with nine people having recovered in the division.

“Seven people recovered in Rawalpindi and one each in Attock and Jhelum,” he said.

Mr Mehmood said that the administration is also working to ensure a supply chain of food in cities and that food items are distributed among the poor with the help of philanthropists and charities.

The commissioner visited RIU on Thursday to inspect facilities and check in on patients. He said patients should receive good quality meals and the hospital administration is responsible for ensuring the hospital is kept clean.

He also said that construction and the installation of machinery at RIU should be completed as soon as possible, along with the open air canteen and parking facilities.

Rawalpindi Medical University Vice Chancellor Dr Mohammad Umertold Mr Mehmood that the university has taken all measures to keep patients, doctors and paramedical staff safe. He said the Punjab government has issued standard operating procedures in this regard, which are being implemented.

RIU medical superintendent Dr Khalid Randhawa said a special ward has been set up for people over the age of 60, so they are kept away from other patients. In addition, more than 25 CCTV cameras have been installed to monitor the hospital.

One patient was reported in the Rawalpindi division on Thursday, who is from Rawalpindi city. The total number of Covid-19 patients in Rawalpindi hospitals is 106.

Local administrations have also kept 615 people in quarantine in the four districts - 374 in Rawalpindi, 232 in Jhelum, 19 in Attock and seven in Chakwal. In addition, 349 people have been isolated in their homes including 313 in Rawalpindi and 36 in Jhelum.

A total of 515 members of the Tableeghi Jamaat have been isolated in the division: 198 in Jhelum, 149 in Rawalpindi, 105 in Chakwal and 63 in Attock. Another 291 preachers have been isolated in mosques and 106 in their homes.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2020