LAHORE             -           The number of coronavirus positive patients in Punjab has reached 96, confirmed Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar in a tweet on Friday.  The chief minister has further informed that out of these 96 patients, 71 were pilgrims who had come from Iran.

Giving details, the chief minister said that 15 patients had been tested positive in Lahore, two in Multan, three in Muzaffargarh, three in Gujrat and one each in Rawalpindi and Jhelum. The chief minister also appealed to the people to practice social distancing to stay safe from the pandemic.

The Chief Minister chaired the meeting of the cabinet committee on coronavirus at his office on Friday to review the steps being taken for overcoming the coronavirus and to ponder over different steps to secure the lives of the people. The meeting also reviewed the proposal of air-lifting pilgrims from Iran.

Chief Minister approved setting up of field hospital of one thousand beds capacity at Expo Centre Lahore and directed the Commissioner Lahore Division to take immediate steps in this regard. He also announced funds worth around Rs8 billion for the health department and PDMA.

On his instructions, the finance department has released the funds on an emergent basis.

Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said that a ministerial committee had been constituted to extend cooperation to the Balochistan government and to set up a quarantine facility in Taftaan.  Chief Minister said that Punjab government would immediately provide one billion rupees to Balochistan government. He added that he had also constituted a committee to solve the problems of doctors and other health professionals. He said that encouragement of doctors was necessary as they were to assist the coronavirus patients.

Buzdar expresse his resolve to address the economic problems of daily wage employees and said that provision of wages to daily wage employees would continue and they would not be left alone in this difficult situation.

The chief minister further stated that identification of 880 beds had been completed in eight hotels of the provincial metropolis to utilize them in case of need. Work has been started to establish quarantine centres in hotels of other major cities and provincial ministers have also been assigned duties in different districts. He directed the ministers to immediately visit their assigned districts and to take necessary steps.

Usman Buzdar disclosed that SOPs had been devised for home-based isolation and a collective mechanism would also be devised in consultation with the federal government. He approved to recruit retired doctors and other staff through walk-in-interviews and added that the Punjab government would recruit them on an emergency basis for the treatment of coronavirus patients. He also directed that there should be no shortage in the supply of food items.

The chief minister was briefed that all the confirmed coronavirus patients had travel a history.

Chief Minister assigned duties to provincial ministers, advisors and special assistants to review steps being taken for controlling coronavirus in their assigned districts.

According to the details, Minister for Public Prosecution Ch. Zaheer-Uddin would monitor coronavirus related situation in Faisalabad. Similarly, Minister for Sports Muhammad Taimoor Khan in Jhang, Minister for Cooperatives Mehr Muhammad Aslam in Chiniot, Minister for Women Development Aashfa Riaz in Toba Tek Singh, Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid in Lahore, Population Welfare Minister Muhammad Hashmi Dogar in Kasur, Wildlife and Fisheries Minister Malik Asad Ali in Nankana Sahib, Disaster Management Minister Mian Khalid Mahmood in Sheikhupura, Literacy Minister Raja Rashid Hafeez in Rawalpindi, Minister for Mines Hafiz Ammar Yasir in Jhelum, Minister for Higher Education & IT Yasir Hamayun in Chakwal, Minister for Revenue Anwar in Attock, Minister for Labour Ansar Majid Khan Niazi in Sargodha, Minister for Forests Muhammad Sibtain Khan in Mianwali, Minister for Excise & Taxation Mumtaz Ahmed in Khushab, Minister for Housing Mian Mahmood-ur-Rashid in Gujranwala, Minister for Environment Muhammad Rizwan in Gujrat, Minister for CMIT Muhammad Ajmal Cheema in Mandi Bahauddin, Minister for Auqaf Pir Syed Saeed ud Hassan in Narowal, Minister for Special Education Muhammad Akhlaq in Sialkot, Agriculture Minister Malik Nauman Ahmed Langrial in Sahiwal, Minister for Consolidation Syed Sumsam Ali Bukhari in Okara, Food Minister Samiullah Ch. in Bahawalpur, Minister for Zakat & Ushr Shaukat Ali Laleka in Bahawalnagar, Irrigation Minister Muhammad Mohsin Khan Leghari in RY Khan, Energy Minister Muhammad Akhtar Malik in Multan, Minister Syed Hussain Jahania Gardezi in Khanewal, Minister for Transport Muhammad Jehanzeb Khan Khichi in Vehari, Minister for Livestock & Dairy Development Sardar Hasnain Bahadur Dreshak in Rajanpur, Minister for Prisons Zawar Hussain Warraich in Lodhran

Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has directed the ministers, advisors, special assistants to immediately visit their assigned districts and further directed them to submit daily reports after reviewing steps being taken in collaboration with district administration, health and other line departments.

“We will win this war at every cost by exerting joint efforts as the Punjab government took timely steps earlier than other provinces. The provincial government took up this issue on January 3rd and the government is standing with the people in this hour of trial”, concluded the chief minister.