PESHAWAR - To review the latest situation of corona across the province, a special

meeting of the provincial cabinet was

held here on Friday with Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood

Khan in the chair.

The cabinet was briefed about the

latest corona updates, preventive

measures and other steps taken by

the provincial government to cope

with the Covid-19 and matters related to wheat procurement for the upcoming season.

Regarding the latest position of

procurement of essential medical

equipments for the treatment of Corona patients and Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) for the frontline health workers, the cabinet was

told that uptil now the health department had made a total procurement

worth Rs 1.5 billion including ventilators, surgical masks, N-95 Masks and

other essential items while more procurement was in the pipeline.

The meeting was also informed that

testing capacity for suspected patients of corona had been considerably increased and work is in progress

to further increase it.

The Chief Minister directed the

health department to take necessary

steps to increase the testing capacity

of public sector hospitals on war footings and to increase the capacity to at

least 2000 tests per day.

Mahmood Khan also directed the

concerned quarters to release additional funds to District Health Officers, Medical Superintendents of

all districts to enable them effectively deal with any unwanted situation

there and then.

He also directed to ensure strict implementation of SOPs at quarantine

centers and isolation units set up at

the district level. Mahmood Khan directed the highups of home and relief

departments to make all necessary

arrangements to facilitate the individuals of Tablighi Jumat presently staying in different parts of the province.

He also issued instructions to the

concerned quarters to expedite work

on Gomal Zam Dam and Chashma

Right Bank Canal Project to make the

province self-sustained in wheat production in the future.

Later, while briefing the media

about the cabinet decisions, Advisor to Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Information Ajmal Wazir informed that the cabinet had

expressed its satisfaction over the

current situation of wheat and flour

stocks in the province and allowed

the food department to use all available options for the procurement of

wheat for the upcoming season.

The cabinet stressed to give top priority to local purchase of wheat.

Ajmal Wazir informed the media

that the cabinet has unanimously decided to extend the public holidays

and closure of markets for further

one week starting from the coming

Sunday.

“The cabinet approved in principle

the salary package for the professionals to be hired on daily wage basis for

backing up the existing health staff

fighting against corona pandemic.

The professionals to be hired on daily wage basis include pathologists, pulmonologist, nurses and other medical

staff,” the advisor informed and added

that hiring of these staff will be advertised by coming Tuesday via newspapers, websites and other mediums of

mass communication for wide range

of publicity. He added that after hiring,

these staff would be deputed in various districts on need basis.

Ajmal Wazir stated that total number of corona positive cases had

reached 309 with death toll of 09 in

the province. “The cabinet was informed that decisions of the provincial government to maintain social distancing and partial lockdown had

yielded very positive results.”

to control the outbreak of corona,

however, there is still a threat of its

outbreak in urban and congested areas,” Ajmal Wazir said and added that

the cabinet stressed to implement the

social distancing measures more effectively.

“The cabinet was further briefed

that measures were being taken to

enhance the testing capacity for corona patients and testing labs were being set up in tertiary care hospitals of

the province to increase the capacity

to 2000 tests per day,” he remarked

and added that private sector hospitals were also being engaged for the

purpose. Ajmal Wazir also told that to

provide relief to construction industry of the province, the cabinet had

in principle decided to give waver in

provincial taxes and levies.

Regarding the distribution of money under the relief package approved

by the government the advisor informed that 2.1 million households of

the province will be paid 12000 cash

in the first phase and 6000 cash in the

second phase.