PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has approved Rs1 million each for journalists, who die of novel coronavirus, and said if any journalist is affected by the virus, the government will bear all treatment expenses.
Adviser to the chief minister on information Ajmal Khan Wazir told reporters here on Saturday that the provincial government acknowledged that the journalists were playing an important role in creating public awareness of coronavirus.
He said the government was taking steps against coronavirus on a priority basis.
“We have purchased personal protective equipment costing Rs1.5 billion for the health department,” he said.
The adviser said 275 quarantine centres had been set up across the province with the capacity to handle 18,000 patients besides high dependency units in different hospitals of the province with the capacity of 480.
He said the province had 110 isolation wards with the capacity to accommodate 3,000 patients.
Mr Ajmal said there were 583 ventilators across the province and the number would increase in near future.
He said a scheme had been introduced to back up the existing health staff, which had registered 9,500 people, including specialists, doctors and paramedics.
“As per the emergency, 638 doctors were recruited on a regular basis and 1,299 on a temporary basis,” he said.
On the occasion, the adviser handed over 1,000 bottles of hand sanitisers, 1,000 face masks and 100 pieces of safety kits to Peshawar Press Club president Syed Bukhar Shah and Khyber Union of Journalists president Fida Khattak on the behalf of the government.
He said the province had so far recorded 656 confirmed Covid-19 cases, while 131 patients had recovered from the disease.
The adviser said the coronavirus deaths in the province had totalled 25, while the condition of 20 confirmed cases was critical.
While stressing the need for maintaining social distancing in all public and private places, he said both the government and people had a collective responsibility to follow the anti-coronavirus guidelines.
Mr Ajmal said the government and journalists were key partners to protect the people from the virus.
He asked journalists to identify the system’s weaknesses through constructive criticism and highlighted their grievances and promised the effective resolution of their problems.
Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2020