ISLAMABAD                   -                Pakistan People’s Party leader Senator Rehman Malik, on Friday, demanded of the government to ensure free coronavirus testing for the poor patients.

He also submitted a resolution in the Senate so that the government could be advised not to take any fresh loans from international creditors.MalikRehman , the Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior, asked the government to bear the charges of Coronavirus tests of the poor patients. He suggested that the poor patients might be tested either in the government hospitals or reimbursement might be given to private clinics that provide testing facility to poor patients free of cost.

In a letter to the Secretary Interior, Senator A. Rehman Malik wrote that with reference to the 37 point Anti-Corona National Action Plan proposed by the Senate Standing Committee on Interior vide letter dated 12th March, 2020, in which clear directions were given that the public should be facilitated with testing free of cost. He said that majority of the population was below the poverty line and the government was giving a support of Rs.12,000 to the needy, under the circumstances, how these poor people could be expected to afford their tests for COVID-19.The senator noted that the facility of coronavirus testing was not being provided to the poor patients in the government hospitals, especially in rural areas, which meant that the poor victims of coronavirus would remain untested and would become a continued source of infecting others. He said that this was a lacuna in the fight against coronavirus, as the real number of the patients would not be reported among the nation-wide number of cases emerging on daily basis.

 “As of today, there are far more than 24,073 patients countrywide that have been declared positive,” he said. Malik questioned the compiling of the results coming from private hospitals, clinics or from government hospitals and demanded detailed break up of these tests as to where these tests were being performed and how were they included in the daily aggregate of the coronavirus patients.

“How many total testing kits, medicals kits (PPEs) have been imported? How many have been donated from abroad and how they have been distributed in the provinces and Federal Hospitals,” he questioned.He directed that the doctors and nurses who were fighting on the frontline were being infected due to lack of medical gears (PPEs) and the number of infected doctors and nurses were increasing day by day, which was creating a sense of insecurity within the medical community. He said that  the government should immediately do the needful to ensure the safety of the doctors and nurses.Senator Malik submitted a resolution and a call attention notice in the Senate Secretariat to be debated in the House in which he pointed out that in view of the weak economy, the government should not take new loans from international creditors to avoid “extra debt burden on our national economy as in future we will not be in a position to sustain our economy due to heavy financial leverage.”