LAHORE                   -                  Punjab government has rejected reports that a patient, Imran Ali, who died at Mayo hospital. on Tuesday, was a Corona patient.

“We have received test reports of Imran Ali, who lost his life at Mayo Hospital , and cause of his death was not COVID19.I urge everyone that these are testing times and we should act responsibly”, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said in a tweet.  Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid put the number of Corona patients at six.

Addressing a news conference along with Information Minister Fayyazul Hasan Chohan, the Health Minister said that the number of COVID-19 positive patients in Punjab had reached six as lab had confirmed five more people positive. “These five people testing positive are from a group of travelers in Dera Ghazi who recently came back from Iran”, she said, adding that from among the first batch of 42 people, coming from Iran, five had been confirmed as positive.

She also said that the family of the patient reported positive in Mayo Hospital was also placed under isolation. She also informed that over 1,200 more pilgrims were arriving from Iran in a few days. They would be kept in isolation centres, she said. 

“As Punjab is the largest province, we have the largest number of travelers coming and therefore a large number of tests are being done in Punjab”, she explained.  Health Minister said that another two groups of travelers were being kept under surveillance in Multan and in Bahawalpur.

She urged that the patients reported positive must voluntarily put themselves in isolation. “We currently have 1,250 Ventilators available in Punjab and the procurement process of another 1,000 ventilators has been started”,

“We have developed another quarantine facility at Kala Shah Kaku and in Rawalpindi. The government has also banned meetings of the prisoners in jails with visitors. The Police Lines Hospital in Qila Gojar Singh is being equipped with quarantine facility. Similarly one facility at division level is also being dedicated for quarantine.”

The Minister said that that in order to ensure best possible services, medical emergency was imposed in Punjab last week. She said that after the meeting of the National Security Council, a ban has been imposed on all public gatherings, religious congregations whereas education institutions have been closed down.

The Health Minister said: “In the current situation, people must restrict unnecessary movement. The Auqaf Department has closed down all shrines. We are requesting people to restrict themselves to homes and stop unnecessary movement. We have taken these steps under difficult circumstances. We have not locked any businesses and markets yet and we are trying that life may continue as much normal as possible.

She said Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar had asked the religious leaders and scholars to create awareness among people through mosques. “The COVID is highly infectious virus and 80 per cent of the patients recover automatically. Only 1 to 2 per cent of the patients may require ventilators. People must take precautionary measure and those suffering from flu or having respiratory complications must wear masks.”

Dr. Yasmin Rashid elaborated: “The updates are being shared with all and the stakeholders must play their role in controlling the epidemic. There is no justification whatsoever for doctor’s strike in such circumstances. I myself visited the Services and Mayo Hospitals last night. All necessary equipment has been provided to the staff in Tertiary Care, DHQ and THQ hospitals. China has made great progress in containing the virus and I pay rich tribute to the Chinese doctors losing their lives in the line of duty.”

Replying to a question, she said that that the patient coming from Mandi Bahauddin was already in serious condition and was in Coma. “His necessary tests have been taken and the lab will confirm his exact status. The patient had travelled to Muscat from Iran and then came to Pakistan hence was kept in the isolation ward” Dr. Yasmin Rashid further explained.

Health Minister said that the suspect and confirmed patients were being kept in separate wards in government hospitals.

“The Tayyeb Erdgon Hospital in Muzaffargarh, PKLI in Lahore, Institute of Urology in Rawalpindi and Civil Hospital in Bahawalpur have been dedicated for Corona”, she said. 

Fayyazul Hassan Chohan said the Punjab government had taken effective measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. He asked the traders not to hoard sanitizers, face masks and other direly needed items, and warned them of strict action if found indulged in the malpractice.