Punjab health department ‘ready to tackle the coronavirus’: CM Buzdar
Statesman Report
LAHORE: Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar on Tuesday reiterated once again that the provincial government had neither imposed a lockdown nor a curfew in the province, saying that the health department was ready to battle the coronavirus.
The chief minister was addressing a news conference via video link with senior members of the provincial cabinet. In response to a question, CM Buzdar said that hospitals across the province were ready to deal with the pandemic.
"Our health department is ready to tackle the coronavirus," he said. "We have issued directives to the health department to buy equipment needed to battle the coronavirus."
The chief minister announced that local elections in the province have been delayed for nine months owing to the pandemic. He said that the government was focused on ensuring the poor were looked after as long as the pandemic lasted.
"I want to make it clear that this is not a curfew or a lockdown, as you can read in the notification," he said. "We want to make sure the poor and the daily wage earners are looked after."
Punjab needs Rs83 Billion to cope with coronavirus, says provincial committee
More than 15,000 people are likely to be infected with coronavirus in Punjab by late May, and the casualties could stand between 700 to 2,200, with an expected death rate of 5-15 per cent among the patients, a media report said Tuesday.
The estimates have been made for March 15 to May 24, 2020 on the basis of current spread rate of virus in the province. According to a steering committee on the virus in Punjab, the province needs more than Rs83 billion to cope with the situation.
The committee is headed by Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakhat, with representation from various departments and bodies including finance, health, labour, and irrigation, among others.
The committee has said that the estimates have been made for the preparations to cope with the pandemic, as well as for emergency situations as the disease spreads across the province.
For the next three months, Punjab requires Rs18.88 billion, out of which Rs7.59 billion are needed for diagnostic support, Rs0.161 billion for personnel protective equipment, Rs5.675 billion for clinical management, among other expenditures.
For the next six months, Punjab will 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, among other expenditures.
In the next 12 months, Punjab will 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, among other expenditures.
According to the steering committee, there is a shortage of Rs26 billion for the purpose, and to meet the requirements, the federal government will have to provide the required funds.
Further, the steering committee recommends that the federal government should immediately enact the Coronavirus Ordinance to provide protection against personal liability of healthcare professionals.