PM satisfied with virus testing kits, PPE availability

Updated 16 Jun 2020

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Tells provinces to impose lockdowns in areas with high number of cases. — PM's Instagram/File
Tells provinces to impose lockdowns in areas with high number of cases. — PM's Instagram/File

ISLAMABAD: Expressing satisfaction over availability of coronavirus testing kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) in the country, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday directed provinces to impose “smart lockdowns” in areas having high number of cases of the deadly virus.

Presiding over a meeting to review Covid-19 situation here on Monday, the prime minister warned that coming few weeks would be crucial in terms of spread of the disease and urged the people to adopt preventive measures so that a balance could be maintained between economic activities and the government’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the prime minister was apprised that smart lockdowns had been imposed across 20 big cities in the country including the federal capital where “hotspots” (places of cluster of patients) had been identified.

Tells provinces to impose lockdowns in areas with high number of cases

Although the prime minister directed the local leadership to review the situation in hospitals, the meeting did not discuss increasing complaints about shortage of beds for Covid-19 patients in both public and private hospitals.

Meanwhile, a source told Dawn that the prime minister did not take a serious notice that no further place for new patients was available in hospitals as cases were mounting and reaching close to 150,000 with 3,000 deaths.

“The prime minister directed provincial governments to impose smart lockdowns in sensitive areas keeping in view ground realities to maintain a balance between economic activities and preventive measures,” said an official press release issued by the PMO.

Meanwhile, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) for Covid-19 on Monday undertook a comprehensive review of Covid-19 clusters and hotspots across the country.

A total of 20 cities across the country have been identified as likely to see increase in the ratio/speed of infections which need restrictive measures for containment of the disease.

The same information is being shared with provinces by NCOC. In Islamabad G-9/2 and G-9/3 had more than 300 cases of Covid-19 and these areas were sealed along with busy Karachi Company.

New hotspots of the disease in Islamabad now being monitored and likely to be sealed include I-8, I-10, Ghauri Town, Bharakhau, G-6 and G-7.

Major cities witnessing rapid increase in coronavirus cases and having been identified for necessary restrictive measures include Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranawala, Swat, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Sialkot, Gujarat, Ghotki, Larkana, Khairpur, D.G. Khan, Malakand and Mardan.

According to NCOC, it had adopted the Track, Trace and Quarantine (TTQ) strategy which was aimed at identifying clusters/hotspots of the disease to ensure targeted lockdowns in these areas. The TTQ strategy, it said, had been made to keep the spread of the disease in check as different sectors of economy open up.

The meeting was briefed in detail on operationalisation of additional oxygenated beds and ventilators, including procurement of these critical healthcare equipment by NDMA.

The meeting was further informed that a total of 2,150 additional oxygenated beds would become functional by the end July to meet additional requirements. Of these, 1,000 oxygenated beds will be functional by the end June and another 1,150 by the end of July.

The prime minister was informed that a total of 107 Covid-19 testing laboratories were operational in the country and more than 25,000 tests were being conducted on a daily basis in these laboratories. The number of total ventilators is said to be 4,800 and 1,600 more will be added soon.

The meeting was further informed that indigenous ventilators and N-95 masks were being manufactured and by the end of July 2000 more beds would be added to existing hospitals.

The prime minister took notice of non-availability of some medicines and injections being used for treatment of Covid-19 patients.

He asked the chairman of NDMA to ensure availability of all required medicines and injections in all hospitals.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Khan directed the provincial governments to devise a joint strategy to control inflation since the basic objective behind the recent reduction in prices of petroleum products was to give relief to the people.

The prime minister issued the directive while chairing a meeting held to review prices of essential items.

“The prime minister directed chief secretaries [who attended the meeting through video link] to chalk out a joint strategy to shift benefits of the government’s decision [regarding reduction in POL prices] to the masses,” said a press release.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2020