ISLAMABAD                   -                       With a suggestion for conducting mass testing of coronavirus to know the ac­tual number of patients in the country, a 25-member parliamentary commit­tee on coronavirus yesterday agreed to unanimously fight against the virus.

The committee, chaired by Speak­er National Assembly Asad Qaiser, will make any decision about extend­ing lockdown in different parts of the country in its next meeting scheduled to be held on April 9.

The members from opposition asked the chair to allow working of standing committee on health to and also share utilization of resources in the head of infectious disease with the parliamen­tary body of Coronavirus disease.

The first meeting of parliamentary committee discussed to monitor im­plementation of the National Plan of Action [NAP] on Coronavirus with a view to ensuring its expeditious im­plementation.

It was decided that a sub-commit­tee consisting of members from both sides will prepare detailed ToRs and the periodical report of the commit­tee. This committee will keep an eye on all the activities on coronavirus and will take immediate action where ever it notices any dereliction of duty.

National Disaster Management Au­thority Chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal, giving briefing to the body, said that presently there are more than 3,800 ventilators present in the coun­try. The public sector has 2,200 ven­tilators while the rest are with the private sector. He said that on April 9, around 500 more ventilators will reach Pakistan.

About medical staff working to avoid spread of the virus, he said that 29,000 medical kits have been provided to the provinces. “As many as 137 hospitals have been allocated for fighting the vi­rus,” he said.

He said that across the country 22 laboratories are operational in terms of testing and so far, 35,000 tests have been conducted. The doctors from Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi will be trained regarding the ventilators, he said.

Dr. Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, said that 22 laboratories are working for testing Coronavirus. As many as 35000 tests have been con­ducted, he said.

About the matters related to eco­nomic affairs, Muhammad Hamad Azhar, Minister for Economic Affairs said that government will take all de­cisions keeping in view the best utili­zation of available funds.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Foreign Minister said that the recommenda­tions of the Committee will also be shared with NSC for its decisions.

The members from opposition said that the government should take prac­tical steps to control the spread of vi­rus in the country. They said there was a need of conducting aggressive and mass testing of Coronavirus to know the actual quantum of patient.

Talking to The Nation, a committee Raja Pervez Ashraf said he drew the attention towards the country’s wheat crop. “Government should have ar­rangements for countering any situa­tion, as practical and immediate steps are required, ” he said, mentioning that he asked the chair to also make arrangement for the briefing of repre­sentatives of all provinces.

Other opposition members raised questions about the availability of ventilators, testing kits and other equipments required for Coronavirus Disease