Buzdar orders up-gradation of testing laboratories CM announces special risk allowance for medical staff engaged in coronavirus duties

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Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has directed immediate up-gradation of testing laboratories in all divisional headquarters of the province, amid coronavirus fears.
In his tweet, Usman Buzdar said, he has directed to upgrade all the testing labs to Bio Safety Level-3 (BSL-3) to tackle the rush of suspected patients and ensure prompt results.
On Tuesday, CM Buzdar had announced to recruit 10,000 medical staffers including doctors, nurses and paramedics aimed at tackling the coronavirus outbreak. “We have approved a package of Rs 11 billion to be provided to the health department for tackling the spread of the virus,” he had said adding that Rs 20 million have already been released in this regard.
He had said that they have imposed section 144 in the province and a cabinet committee is overseeing the efforts to deal with the virus on daily basis. “We have also formed a committee on school holidays and lowering fees of private schools and will ensure that the guidelines issued from the province are followed,” he said.
Usman Buzdar had announced that it was decided to carry out early deduction of Zakat from bank accounts. “We have conveyed the recommendations to the federal government and the finance minister will brief on the matter within two to three days,” he said.
The CM announced that special risk allowance, equal to one salary, will be given to doctors, nurses, medical staff and others engaged in the treatment of coronavirus affected patients. The 600 people, cleared after spending 14 days in DG Khan quarantine facility, are being sent to their homes and Punjab government is also arranging follow-up screening in their respective districts. Their corona tests were negative and screening of prisoners has also been started. A summary has been moved to release 3500 prisoners involved in petty crimes besides setting up a 100-bed hospital in Camp Jail Lahore.
He stated this while talking to the media after chairing cabinet committee meeting for the eradication of coronavirus. The chief minister said the total number of coronavirus patients in Punjab is 312: 176 are in DG Khan, 77 in Lahore, 3 in Multan, 19 in Jhelum, 2 each in Rawalpindi and Faisalabad, 21 in Gujrat, 8 in Gujranwala and 1 each in Mandi Bahuddin, Rahim Yar Khan, Sargodha and Narowal. The total number of quarantine facilities in Punjab is 163 having a total capacity of 20,000 patients, he added. Meanwhile, work is in progress to set up more quarantine facilities along-with increase in medical facilities. PSL level-3 labs will be set up in every division and 62 crore rupees have been released for 5 divisions to early complete this project, he added.
The chief minister told that Punjab government is writing a letter to CAA that arrangements be made to quickly check the Punjab bound CAA staff after foreign duties or Punjab govt be provided with their lists for screening. He assured that cleanliness and other essential matters will not be affected and the administration will ensure cities’ regular cleanliness.
He directed that food-chain supply should not be affected adding that there is no shortage of any kind but the people should avoid unnecessary hoarding. The administration is active against hoarding and provision of personal protective equipment is in progress for safety from coronavirus. He advised the people to maintain social distancing and impressed upon the philanthropists to attend to the needs of the indigent strata around them. There is no curfew but the people should restrict to their homes and cooperate with the government. The Punjab government will announce social protection package on the pattern of the federal government, he added.
The chief secretary told that 150 pilgrims, coming from Iran, are kept in Faisalabad. The Taftan border is closed and there is no information about the arrival of more pilgrims. Provincial Ministers Dr Yasmeen Rashid, Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan, Musarrat Jamshed Cheema MPA, Chief Secretary, administrative secretaries and others were also present.