PESHAWAR - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Health and Finance Taimur Jhagra has said that provincial government is planning and im­plementing a comprehensive and robust strategy to combat the COVID-19 virus in the province.

He said this at a joint press conference with Advisor to CM on Information Ajmal Wazir at Civil Secretariat here yesterday.

The health minister said there was not a single confirm corona case in 6 districts which include Lower and Upper Chitral, Lower and Upper Kohistan, Kolai Palas and Battagram. He said 11 other districts have 10 or less than 10 confirm patients so far.

“Peshawar and Mardan districts are the most hit areas by the pandemic”, he added.

He added Peshawar reported 38 new cas­es in last 24 hours while only 2 confirm cas­es reported from Mardan in last 7 days.

Taimur Jhagra said the government has made five key interventions to combat COV­ID-19 in the province, these include launch­ing a locum tenens system, establishing rapid response teams, procuring essential medical / quarantine facilities and supplies, enhancing testing capacity and facilitating Ehsaas beneficiaries.

The minister said the government was in­creasing workforce in health sector. “The lo­cum tenens system has been established to engage medical professionals across vari­ous fields to address the shortfall in staff be­cause of COVID-19”, he added.

He added that to ensure transparency and efficiency in the system, technology has been used to register, track attendance and release payments to new medical staff in­ducted in the system.

Jhagra said that the provincial govern­ment has established 200 medical isola­tion facilities in hospitals with a capacity of 4093 beds for COVID-19 patients.

In addition to this, 296 quarantine centers are currently operational across the prov­ince. He further said the Government has placed orders of essential medical equip­ment and supplies worth Rs 3.8 billion, be­sides this Health Department has already distributed essential PPEs to hospitals that include 778400 latex gloves, 707924 masks 3 ply, 37247 and N-95 Masks. Besides this live dashboard has been establish to assess hospital wise stock in each district.

The minister said that the government is rapidly enhancing testing capacity as the capacity has been expanded from 350 tests per day last week to 540 tests per day this week.

Jhagra said the government was aware of traders’ sufferings and economic situation of the province. “The government is estab­lishing strategy and SOPs with consultation of traders to open economic activities in the province” he added.

On the occasion, Ajmal Wazir said the gov­ernment’s social distancing measures have been effective in controlling the spread of the virus, however, more cooperation is re­quired from the public in this regard over the next two weeks.

He lauded the services of doctors, nurses, paramedics and other health workers along with media persons working in front line.

He also said that Chief Minister Mahmood Khan himself is monitoring the arrange­ments.