LAHORE - Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) Chairman Abrarul Haq on Thursday announced a relief package for those affected by the lockdown, including journalists, doctors, paramedics, orphans, widows, special persons, artists and daily wagers.

Addressing a press conference here at a local hotel along with PRCS Secretary General Khalid Bin Majeed, he said that healthcare workers and journalists had been on the forefront in fight against Covid-19 and a number of those had even lost their lives in the line of duty. He said the coronavirus had affected all sectors of the economy, and the media industry was no exception.

He said hundreds of journalists had been left unemployed amid this national crisis while scores were facing salary cuts and delays. Abrarul Haq said keeping in view the challenges, the PRCS had decided to launch a special programme to provide cash assistance and food package to journalists, healthcare workers, orphans, widows, special persons, artists and daily wagers affected by the coronavirus.

He said under the programme, cash assistance besides ration packs would be provided to each family badly hit by the pandemic.  He said since the outbreak of coronavirus in Pakistan in February this year, the PRCS had been sparing no effort to augment the government’s endeavours to contain spread of the pandemic. PRCS chairman said a 120-bed Red Crescent Corona Care Hospital was built in Rawalpindi in a record period of 18 days, which had been operational since April 2020 and hundreds of patients had been treated there. He further said that three-floor hospital, equipped with 15 ventilators, oxygen support for 90 beds and other facilities had been set up in accordance with the recommendations of the Chinese health experts.

Abrarul Haq said under the Corona Muhafiz Response Campaign, the Red Crescent Muhafiz Force has been mobilized to connect the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ in the fight against pandemic. During their door-to-door campaign in multiple cities across country, the Muhafiz volunteers made sure that no family is left hungry as they motivated the affluent families to share food with their deserving neighbors. He said this initiative of the PRCS was acknowledged even at the international level.

Khalid bin Majeed said in order to boost the testing capacity for Covid-19, the PRCS in collaboration with the Indus Hospital has opened a walk-in sample collection centre in Karachi, where people with symptoms can get themselves tested free of cost. He said the PRCS Virtual Call Center (Helpline 1030) at the NHQ is providing awareness to public on preventive measures against the pandemic. The Covid-19 AAGAHI Call Center established at Karachi PHQ is operational 24/7 and providing guidance to the communities. A PRCS Tele Medicine Center is also operational in the Merged Areas.