ISLAMABAD              -        Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal on Tuesday said around 4200 ventilators were available in public and private sector hospitals and there was no dearth of ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients in the country.

While addressing a press conference, the Chairman NDMA said orders had already been placed for procurement of additional 1310 ventilators.

He said trained staff was required to operate the ventilators and agreements regarding training of staff, its installation and 1-3 three years maintenance were also ensured with companies to whom the ventilators were being imported. He said United States of America has also offered to donate 200 ventilators to

Pakistan and half of them would reach shortly.

Out of 100 ventilators, 30 each would be provided to Peshawar and Karachi, 15 to Balochistan, 10 to Faisalabad and 15 to Lahore. He said currently only 128 patients were on ventilators. Occupancy of ventilators in all cities was remained below 50 per cent so far, he said.

He said it was expected that 2,000 more ventilators would be required by June if the situation would get worse for which a contingency plan had already been chalked out. The NDMA Chairman said the Authority had 183 intensive care unit ventilators in its warehouses as well as oxygen, CPAP, and BiPAP ventilators.

While refuting reports circulated on social media about shortage of ICU beds, Muhammad Afzal said there were 10,944 ICU beds available in 365 public sector hospitals across the country and only 2211 ICUs beds were in use which was 20 per cent below the available capacity while 679 ICU beds were also available in 52 private hospitals, he said.

Similarly, he added, as many as 72,900 beds were available in public sector while around 6000 beds in private sector hospitals. He said any corona patient, who was denied a bed in a hospital from any part of the country could register complaint at telephone number 111-157-157.

The Chairman NDMA said Pakistan has achieved self-sufficiency in manufacturing medical equipment to treat COVID-19 patients. However, he appealed the masses to strictly adhere to laid down Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) announced by Ministry of Health to prevent spread of the coronavirus and to protect themselves and others.

Regarding locust attack in various parts of the country, the Chairman said massive operation was being carried out in four division including Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Bahawalpur and Faisalabad divisions, along with Okara, Bhakar, and Layyah districts.

 

He said enough stock of pesticides was also available to check locust attack in the country. He said China had also provided 100,000 liters of Malathion and 75,000 liters Lambda, while Japan would provide 50,000 liters Lambda.  NDMA had also ordered to procure 100,000 liters each of these pesticides to undertake spray against locust, he added.

He said provinces were provided the pesticides as per their demand. Muhammad Afzal said NDMA has also arranged nine planes for aerial spray in different parts of the country, including Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Spray kits were also imported to be fixed on army helicopters for carrying aerial spray against locust, he said.

He said over1500 teams were working to carrying out manual spray in various parts of the country.

He said locust could enter Pakistan from Iran and Muscat in first and second week of the next month and they had already deployed aircraft with sufficient spray equipment and pesticides in Dera Ghazi Khan, Dera Ismail Khan and along the Iran border to kill the insect then and there.  Arrangements have also been made to undertake anti-locust spray in deserts of Thar and Cholistan, he said.

The Chairman said six more aircraft were also being added to the air-fleet on the directives of government. The army has placed services of 5000 personnel on NDMA disposal to counter locust attack, he added.

Regarding preparation for flood, Muhammad Afzal said in winter some areas received 29-33 per cent more snow this year, adding that they had also prepared plans to meet any flood situation in coming days.

Replying to a question, he said all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including N-95 masks were being manufacturing in Pakistan and Pakistan Air Force had also provided medical equipments to United States.