–PM assures doctors, nurses of provision of PPE, says nation acknowledges their services
–Inaugurates up-gradation of hospital in Rawalpindi Saddar, urges people to donate to coronavirus relief fund
RAWALPINDI: In the wake of increasing number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that the government was “continuously monitoring” situation to determine the accurate rate of spread of the infection in the country”, fearing that the cases may further spike.
The prime minister was speaking at the inauguration of the up-gradation of 500-bed Cantonment General Hospital (CGH), in Saddar, Rawalpindi, with modern medical facilities.
On the occasion, the premier said the government started taking preventive measures in the country since the first coronavirus case had surfaced in China in December, besides working on a mechanism to deal with the looming challenge.
He, however, regretted that healthcare had never been a priority during the last 70 years, saying his government would take every step to bring improvement to the neglected area.
The PM also assured the nurses and doctors –who have been complaining about a lack of protective equipment ever since the outbreak, leading to two deaths and multiple infections— that the government would provide protective material for their safety in this “vulnerable” environment.
“The protective gear would be provided on priority to those working at the intensive care units (ICUs) and dealing patients suffering from contagious diseases,” the PM said.
He said the decision was taken by the Command and Control Centre to ensure the provision of shielding material to the front line medical staff for their own safety.
Pakistan was fortunate to receive necessary medical equipment and expertise from China on priority as the world was facing the grave COVID-19 challenge, he added.
He said the entire nation and the government stood with the medical workers for their readiness to handle the difficult health situations.
“We will fully support you — our doctors, nurses and paramedic staff — and the nation acknowledge your efforts,” he said. He was briefed that the hospital had constituted a Corona Response Team with a specific plan in place to deal with the emergency.
A separate ICU and isolation ward had been established, besides setting up of seven dispensaries in slum areas to detect persons with symptoms of the infectious disease, he was further told.
The prime minister was also apprised that operation theatres had the facility of live telecast of surgeries, usually for the purpose of the distant advisory opinion from physicians and as the educational activity for medical students.
‘WILL EMERGE STRONGER AFTER BATTLING COVID-19’:
The PM hoped that the people of Pakistan would emerge as a stronger nation by fighting and winning the war against coronavirus with unity, faith, discipline, and sagacity.
“Nothing is impossible. Every difficulty is considered as a test for us. Allah Almighty has repeatedly said in the Holy Quran that He continues to test our faith. And I hope this [Pakistani] nation will emerge as a great and stronger nation from this test,” he said while participating in a private television’s live telethon held for raising funds for the Prime Minister’s Fund for COVID-19.
The prime minister said as the COVID-19 pandemic had spread and affected the people worldwide including the leaders of some Western countries and the situation during the coming weeks and months could not be predicted, the war against this deadly contagion in Pakistan could only be won with unity.
Advising the people to take preventive measures against the COVID-19, he warned the law-enforcing personnel to avoid taking strict action against those coming out of houses.
“We cannot fight and win the war against COVID-19 by putting people in jails. If we will not take care of our people, we cannot win this war,” the prime minister said.
He said the Corona Relief Tigers Force besides aiding the civil administration and army in the distribution of food and other essentials at doorsteps in the areas under lock-down, would also create awareness about preventive measures, including social distancing.
The prime minister said with high-level meetings being held on a daily basis, the federal government was in contact with the provinces and was taking required measures, including the analysation of data on regular basis to assess the situation and trends of coronavirus spread in the country.
CORONA RELIEF FUND:
Prime Minister Imran Khan also announced the opening of “Prime Minister’s COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund-2020” to “help the government fight the pandemic”.
The premier, through a Twitter post, announced that he wants “everyone to donate towards this fund which will be used to take care of all those who have been made destitute by the lockdown.”
Send your tax deductible donation to Acc. No. 4162 786 786 National Bank of Pakistan Main Branch Karachi. Complete account information and transfer instructions are available at https://t.co/CRL0erEk3Z
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 1, 2020
The premier had announced to open a Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) on Monday in his third national address on the epidemic. “Those depositing money in the fund would be given relaxation in taxes and the money would be utilised to provide food and cash to 15 million poor and needy people,” he had said.