LAHORE: More than 15,000 people are likely to be infected with coronavirus in Punjab, while the casualties could stand between 700 to 2,200, with expected death rate of 5-15 per cent among the patients.
The estimates have been made for March 15 to May 24, 2020 duration on the basis of current spread rate of Covid-19 in the province, while the province needed more than Rs83 billion to cope with the situation.
The estimates have been made by the steering committee on Punjab’s recovery plan for economic stabilisation in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The committee is headed by Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakhat, with representation from various departments and bodies including Finance, Health, Labour, Irrigation, UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), Sub-National Governance Programme (SNG), Punjab Social Protection Authority (PSPA), Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) and Urban Unit, etc.
The committee said the estimates have been made for preparations and planning to cope with the situation, which seems to be in control currently. The steering committee estimated that Punjab would need huge funds of more than Rs83.15 billion with an immediate support from the federal government during the next 12 months.
For the next three months, Punjab would require Rs18.88 billion, out of which Rs7.59 billion would be needed for diagnostic support, Rs0.161 billion for personnel protective equipment, Rs5.675 billion for clinical management, Rs1.683 billion for hospital personnel protective equipment, Rs0.517 billion for surveillance, Rs2.5 billion for incentive for health professional and Rs0.756 billion for other expenditures.
For the next six months, Punjab would need another Rs25.51 billion, out of which Rs7.726 billion would be required for diagnostic support, Rs0.323 billion for personnel protective equipment, Rs7.776 billion for clinical management, Rs3.366 billion for hospital personnel protective equipment, Rs0.563 billion for surveillance, Rs5 billion for incentives for health professionals and Rs0.756 billion for other expenditures.
In the next 12 months, Punjab would need another Rs38.766 billion, out of which Rs7.997 billion would be meant for diagnostic support, Rs0.645 billion for personnel protective equipment, Rs11.98 billion for clinical management, Rs6.732 billion for hospital personnel protective equipment, Rs0.656 billion for surveillance, Rs10 billion for incentives for the health professionals and Rs0.756 billion for other expenditures.
The steering committee finds a gap of Rs26 billion, to meet its requirements for which the federal government would have to provide the required funds.
Further, the steering committee recommended that the federal government should immediately enact the Coronavirus Ordinance, akin to UK’s Coronavirus Bill, to provide protection against personal liability of healthcare professionals and the procurements made under the urgency arrangement. The health departments would have to use WHO-Covid-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) guidelines, which could incur further costs. It was highlighted in the discussion of the working groups that due to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) actions against the government officials during the recent times, the officials were reluctant in procurement of equipment, which delayed the procurements and adversely affected the health sector. So, in the case of coronavirus pandemic, no such delay could be afforded by the government and the nation.
It was pointed out that Pakistan is lagging behind in the region in the WHO-IHR combined capacities framework and stood at 51 per cent, compared to India 75 per cent and Iran 85 per cent. The IHR Combined Capacity Framework contains 13 core competencies, which include Legislation and Financing, Coordination Food Safety, Laboratory, Surveillance, Human Resources, National Health Emergency Framework, Health Service Provision and Risk Communication.
An official said the government was making all-out efforts to save every life, affected by coronavirus and these estimates are made to evolve the system for the worst scenario.
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