Monday November 29, 2021

Dr Yasmin Rashid hints at strict lockdown

Yasmin Rashid says COVID-19 positivity ratio is increasing at an alarming level and stricter lockdowns may be enforced

April 26, 2021
Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid. File photo

LAHORE: Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said here Sunday that corona test to positivity ratio was increasing at an alarming level and stricter lockdowns may be enforced if people did not comply with SOPs.

Addressing a press conference at Chief Minister Secretariat, the health minister said that in some cities it was way over 12 percent whereas in eight cities it was already above 8 percent. She said a total of 288,598 cases had been reported in Punjab and 7,964 people have lost their lives. In the last 24 hours, 3056 cases have been reported and 67 people lost their lives.

The minister said, “So far 233,655 people have recovered. In the last 24 hours, 28,207 corona tests were performed. Overall, so far 44, 82,194 tests have been performed in Punjab. Since the beginning of the Pandemic, the capacity of the government hospitals has been increased manifolds.”

She said that in the last two weeks, 200 new ventilators had been added to the government hospitals of Punjab. On 150 beds, BiPAP and Cannula nosels have been added. She said, “Today, another 23 ventilators are being added to Lahore hospitals.

The minister said, “So far the supply and stock of Oxygen is satisfactory. We had some issue in Multan which had been resolved. The Punjab govt, as per directions from the NCOC, is enforcing corona SOPs in letter and spirit and the vaccination process is underway at full pace in Punjab. In Lahore, 15 smart lockdowns are in place whereas Rawalpindi has 10 and Multan has two lockdowns in place. Businesses are not allowed after 6pm and completely closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Indoor marriages, marquees, halls and community centres and event halls have been completely closed down. Work from home orders of 50% government employees is being enforced.”

She said rumours are being spread about vaccination. SO far, three typs of vaccines are being used that are: Sinopharm, Cansino, and Sinovac. So far 934,170 people have been vaccinated. In the last 24 hours, 34,706 have been vaccinated. In Ramazan, 23,000 people on average per day are being vaccinated. The government, she added, has pledged to vaccinate between 34,000 to 35,000 people per day.

The minister said, “The Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Department opened portals for its frontline healthcare workers in all hospitals. Every healthcare worker will be vaccinated by the next week. Home vaccination has been initiated for disabled and so far 1,600 people have been vaccinated. For guidance of people helpline 1033 has been set up. The home vaccination was started for over-80 age category and the age bracket has been lowered to 60 years now. For elders unable to come to centres, a bus services is also being provided to transport people to vaccination centres.

Adequate stocks of vaccine are being provided by the federal government. In the last 24 hours, 250,000 doses were received and tomorrow, another 250,000 doses will be received.”

She said she was saddened by the statement from PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. The country, she said was in a state of emergency and Bilawal was still playing petty politics. Punjab always played the role of elder brother and when Sindh got bigger quota for healthcare workers, Punjab raised absolutely no objections. If PM could offer help to India, how could he ignore Sindh? The vaccine given to Sindh has not been utilised, she added. The criticism only could make sense if Sindh had used its quota. Like Punjab, Sindh is receiving adequate stock of vaccine and they could procure vaccine on their own if they wanted. World’s leading vaccine manufacturer India has not been able to vaccinate its population and Bilawal has started politics on vaccine. She said Bilawal’s words were hurting.

She said, “Due to bigger population in Lahore, another two new centres of vaccination are being set up here; over 50 years category people will be vaccinated very soon and we hope by May, a large number of people will be vaccinated. All medicines, including Actemra are being provided free-of-cost to people. People can contact 042 99211136 which is number of central control room. For people wanting to take patients to hospitals, they can contact this number to get information on available beds in nearby facilities. Another number 0304 111 781 is also functional to provide guidance. Over 5,000 Oxygen cylinders have been added in the hospitals.”

The minister said that Adequate PPEs were available for healthcare workers. She said the health secretaries have met Secretary Industries for uninterrupted oxygen supplies. As per our information, 91% oxygen is available for medical services. Overall 60% of it is being used in government 31% private in hospitals. Request for more supply has also been made. “Elective surgeries have been stopped for the next two weeks. Only emergency surgeries will be done in government hospitals. I urge people to follow SOPs otherwise tough action will be taken. Prime Minister Imran Khan has pointed to this important fact that in case people do not comply with SOPs, we may go to bigger lockdowns.”

Responding to journalist queries, the minister said that the numbers of test was added as per NCOC guidelines. Only a day earlier, 28,000 tests were performed and Secretary P&SH department has written to the NCOC on this. Secretary SH& ME Barrister Nabeel Awan said that no incident of black marketing of Oxygen was reported so far. He said the department was monitoring the supply of oxygen and action would be taken on black marketing.

The minister said that the government was spending billion of rupees on treatment of corona patients. She said the PC-1 of dental college in Jubilee Town was prepared and efforts were on to complete it in time.

Dr Yasmin said that on directions from CM, Punjab also started work on preparation of its indigenous vaccine. Past government never bothers to developed research facilities for such challenges. India is reporting high number of deaths due to corona. It is heartening to see that son of Abdus Sattar Edhi has offered help to India. Exact picture of situation is presented to people.

Secretary SH&ME Barrister Nabeel Awan said that investigations had been initiated on reported vaccination pilferage incident. On complaints about such incidents at Mozang, Services and Jinnah Hospitals, he said MS Mozang Teaching hospitals had been suspended and action under PEEDA had been started. The investigation of vaccination to dear ones in Services and Jinnah hospitals had been conducted and summary sent to the CM for action. The investigation has been completed at Jinnah Hospital and by the next week action will be taken.