LAHORE - President Arif Alvi Wednesday told Punjab authorities that federal government has placed order with Turkish government for the import of hydroxychloroquine, a medicine which helps in the early recovery of corona patients.

The president also disclosed that locally manufactured ventilators would soon be available for the patients and would be supplied to the provinces as per their demand. He said this while responding to queries of Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin during a briefing session by the Punjab government regarding COVID-19 at Darbar Hall of the Civil Secretariat, where he also visited the Corona crisis management centre.

The president was briefed about performance of various departments to contain coronavirus spread, lockdown and exemptions, heat mapping, CM’s Insaf Imdad Programme, continuation of educational activities online, and other steps taken so far by the provincial government.

The president said that import of 3-D digital printing machines and its materials were banned during the lockdown; however, the commerce minister recently issued a notification allowing its import to ensures availability of 3D printed ventilators in Pakistan. He added that the Ministry of Science and Technology and some other local institutions had also developed ventilators, which were in the testing phase, and would be made available after their approval. He said Punjab should place its demand for needed accessories so that the federal government could provide them as soon these were available.

As far as hydroxychloroquine was concerned, he said, the drug was being manufactured in various countries such as Germany, USA, France and Turkey; and the federal government had contacted Turkey in this regard. As soon it reached Pakistan, Punjab would also be supplied accordingly, he pledged.

The president directed the authorities to ensure that those industrial units functioning presently adhered strictly to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and the guidelines to protect their workers from corona pandemic. he said that these industrial labourers should also be issued standard identity numbers/passes so that they might not face any difficulty on their way to the workplaces and on returning home during the lockdown, he said.

Dr Arif Alvi also stressed the need for taking ulema on board while deciding about prayers and other religious congregations, especially Taraveeh during upcoming holy month of Ramazan, if the lockdown continues for maintaining social distancing.

He said that since Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control Ordinance-2020 had been promulgated in Punjab, all other such laws existing already should wither be merged or set aside for smooth and effective implementation.

President said that coronavirus was not a political but a national issue and the government, entire nation and all institutions were making joint efforts to get rid of the pandemic.

President Arif Alvi said the Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Tiger Force (CRTF) was an embodiment of the Islamic concept of social work and community help.

Addressing a briefing on the CRTF at Governor House, he said the concept of Tiger Relief Force was embedded in the Islamic society and the culture.

“It is heartening that some 814,000 volunteers, all of them being under 30 years of age, have been registered so far to become part of the Tiger Relief Force, who have the spirit of social service and self-help during the lockdown,” he said.

He paid tribute to the medical professionals and paramedical staff, police, Rangers, army and the media in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking on the occasion, Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar said the PM’s Tiger Relief Force was an apolitical institution, which would work above political considerations. Deputy commissioners were authorized to recruit the volunteers in their districts, who would work without any monetary benefit.