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March 20, 2020

Army’s Medical Corps battalion to establish field hospital at Expo Centre


March 20, 2020

A battalion of the Army Medical Corps from the Malir Cantonment, comprising doctors, paramedics, nurses, pathologists and technicians, will arrive at the Expo Centre Karachi on Friday morning to help establish a 10,000-bed field hospital to isolate and treat confirmed patients of voronavirus in a safe and secured environment, away from common people and other patients.

“On a request from the Sindh government, the Medical Corps of the Pakistan Army has come forward to help us in establishment of a field hospital of 10,000 beds at the Expo Centre Karachi to isolate and treat coronavirus patients. The Sindh government would bear all the expenses for the establishment of the facility,” said Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Thursday.

He said that initially, the Medical Corps battalion would establish a 500-bed isolation and treatment facility in one of the halls of the Expo Centre, and if need arose, more halls would be utilised to add more beds, equipment and staff to keep and treat more patients.

The decision to establish the field hospital was taken at meeting between Singh government officials and Corps Commander Karachi Lt-General Humayun Aziz. The meeting was also attended by Director General Sindh Rangers Major General Omar Bukhari and Brigadier Sami of Corps 5.

Provincial ministers, including Dr Azra Pechuho and Saeed Ghani, law adviser Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Sindh IGP Mushtaq Mahar, Sajid Jamal Abro and health department’s focal person MB Dharejo.

In the first phase, one hall of the Expo Centre would be converted into an isolation centre and then more halls would be acquired. In the first hall, beds, medicines and necessary equipment would be made available, while Medical Corps and civil doctors and paramedical staff would be deployed at the field hospital.

On the occasion, CM Shah said that he had made over 16,000 swabs/VTMs and 13,000 testing kits available to test coronavirus infection in the province. “But we will have to enhance our testing capacity, which is limited to only 600.”

During the meeting, it was also decided that due to the ongoing partial lockdown in the province, the government would distribute 2,000,000 ration bags among the poor segment of society.

“With the closure of malls, restaurants or what it is being termed a partial lockdown, we have tried to slow down the spread of coronavirus so that necessary arrangements for establishing isolation centres and field hospitals could be made accordingly,” the chief minister said.

Corps Commander Karachi Lt-General Humayun Aziz appreciated timely efforts of the provincial government and emphasised the need for providing ration to daily-wagers and other poor people so that their food requirement could continue to be met.

The chief minister said that he had already held a number of meetings with philanthropists and NGOs like Edhi Foundation and Saylani to seek their help and guidance for the preparation of ration bags and the development of mechanism to provide ration bags to needy and deserving people.

The chief minister and the corps commander decided to constitute a committee under Education and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani with the Karachi commissioner and Additional Secretary Health Aleem Lashari, while from Corps 5 Brigadier Sami and his two team members will be in the committee. A warehouse to store ration bags would be established, from where onward supplies of bags to Sindh would be made. The quality of food items and their quantity as agreed by the committee would be ensured. However, it was decided that the ration bags would have a one-month food items.

It was also decided that the house where ration bags would be supplied would be marked as ‘supplied’ so that duplication could be avoided. The meeting further decided that a help line would be set up where deserving people would get themselves registered for ration bags and then after necessary verification ration bags would be supplied.

Tea shop owners held

Law enforcement agencies in Karachi continued their crackdown on those flouting the government’s Sindh-wide ban imposed to control the spread of the novel coronavirus and arrested three tea shop owners on Thursday, adds our correspondent.

The arrests were made by the Landhi police officials who found tea shops in their jurisdiction running according to their normal routine with crowds of people having their tea there.

The police raided the tea shops and arrested three shop owners. The detained men were identified as Matiullah, Rizwan and Bashir Ahmed. Three separate cases were registered against them under Section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code.