KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah has approved the purchase of six new Rapid Testing Machines (RTM) and 300,000 testing kits to enhance the public sector’s testing capacity for COVID-19.
The decision, which the CM made while presiding over a coronavirus meeting here on Saturday, was made in light of the fact that the provincial government currently has around 7,500 testing kits whereas the stock would only last for the next seven days.
The meeting was attended by Minister Health Dr Azra Pechuho, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister (PSCM) Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary Health Dr Zahid Abbasi, Secretary Investment Najam shah, Dr Bari of Indus Hospital, Dr Saba Jamal, Dr Saeed Khan of Dow Lab and Dr M. B. Dharejo.
On being told that the testing capacity in the province had been enhanced from 200 to 2,020 per day, Shah said that it should be at least 5,000 per day. He was informed that 200,000 testing kits, already approved by the technical committee, could be purchased from a UK firm.
Approving the proposal, the CM directed Indus Hospital to place an order and try receiving the consignment within the next 15 days.
The CM was also told that the capacity could be enhanced further if new polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines were purchased after which he approved the purchase of PCR machines, besides also approving the purchase of six RTPs and another 100,000 testing kits from Canada.
It may be noted here that the government placed the orders for the purchases on Saturday evening.
Earlier, Shah had directed the health department to establish a Coronavirus Patients Unit (CPU) at Services Hospital, Karachi.
Ordering the immediate release of Rs13.4 million for the establishment of the unit, he also ordered the repair of wards, purchase of necessary equipment, and posting of doctors and paramedical staff.