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Pakistan

Web Desk
March 24, 2020

Buzdar says Rs11bn set aside for health dept to procure medical equipment

Pakistan

Web Desk
Tue, Mar 24, 2020

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Tuesday said that the Punjab government is immediately releasing Rs11 billion to the health department to equip them  to combat the spread of the coronavirus in the province.

While addressing the media on Tuesday, Buzdar said that following a meeting of the Punjab cabinet, it was decided that the amount would be released  so that the purchasing of medical equipment, especially personal protection equipment (PPEs), can be completed at the earliest.  

The department has also been directed to immediately make 8 laboratories fully functional to aid in the fight against COVID-19, for which a sum of  Rs620 million has already provided.

Buzdar said that Rs2bn would be given to the provincial disaster management authority (PDMA) and Rs60 million to the district governments so they may take effective measures to curtail the spread of the virus.

According to the chief minister, the cabinet also approved for Zakat deductions to be carried out a month sooner so that the government can better facilitate the poor   in this difficult time. He said the recommendation will be sent to the federal government for final consent.

He said that Bait-ul-Maal funds will also be released to  provide relief to the poor.

The chief minister said that  the cabinet has accorded approval to the Infectious Disease Prevention Control Act, 2020. 

Furthermore, special tribute was paid to Dr Osama, who was at the forefront of the fight against the virus in Gilgit-Baltistan and lost his life.

The cabinet also approved the release of Rs1bn to the Balochistan government so they may  not face financial constraints in combatting the virus.

Buzdar said that school holidays and a proposed reduction in  fees of private schools also came under discussion. He said that a committee has been formed  including the law minister and education minister which will present a report within a week. 

Hiring of 10,000 doctors and paramedics has also been approved, which will include  bringing retired doctors on board.

"We are introducing an ordinance under which we are suspending local bodies elections for nine months," said Buzdar.

The chief minister said that  he, along with the rest of the cabinet,  have donated a month’s salary to the coronavirus prevention fund.