The district administration has declared Multan as a high-risk district after sudden outburst of dengue as 18 cases of disease were reported from different areas here on Wednesday.

District Coordination Officer Zahid Saleem Gondal said that Multan had been declared a high risk district and the health and other concerned departments had been directed to adopt practical measures instead of doing paper work.

He said that all district departments and towns had been issued orders to carry out a survey of entire city, clear all ponds and fill all hatcheries of larva.

The DCO was of the opinion that the fear of growth of larva had increased due to rains and the provincial government had issued direction for launching anti-dengue campaign on emergency grounds. He said that the joint teams of Health Department and towns would carry out survey of all graveyards, schools and other spots to launch fumigation drive and protect the lives of citizens.

He revealed that a total of 550 cases had so far been reported from across the province and the number was continuously rising which was an issue of grave concern. He further disclosed that emergency had been declared at all hospitals and separate dengue wards had been allocated. He warned that strict action would be taken against the departments exhibiting negligence in dengue drive. The DCO directed the police officials to take legal action against the owner of the property if dengue larva was found at his place.

Meanwhile, the DCO said that the provincial government has launched mega projects to bring Multan on par with Lahore. He added that work on Metro project was underway and the citizens would find Multan a very beautiful city after its completion. He said that green belts would be established as soon as the project was accomplished. “This initiative will turn Multan green and dispel the impression that Multan is the city of dust,” he added.

Earlier, taking notice of the increasing number of dengue patients in the three government-run hospitals, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed displeasure over the performance of the local administration and health department as the number of patients have has risen to 57.

The chief minister had directed the Cabinet Committee on Anti-Dengue to visit Rawalpindi to review the situation and take immediate steps to curb this menace. Following the directive, the chief minister’s adviser on health, Khawaja Salman Rafique had visited the garrison city and inspected work carried out by the departments to eliminate dengue virus. The adviser directed spraying of anti-dengue medicines in localities from where cases had been reported.