Dr Yasmin Rashid says 358 ventilators are available
Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid says people at home who show symptoms of the coronavirus should call 1122 immediately and get in touch with rescue officials instead of going to a health facility themselves and infecting others.
The minister was addressing a press conference in Lahore on Saturday. She said a control room has been set up at Lahore’s Mayo Hospital that will guide you where to take suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients once you call 1122.
“The control room has access to the mobile application that shows the number of beds and ventilators available at hospitals,” Dr Rashid told the media.
“The Punjab Health Department’s website is updated daily to let people know how many beds and other facilities are ready to be use.”
Currently, 64 coronavirus patients across Punjab are on ventilators in serious condition, while 358 more ventilators are available.
Dr Rashid remarked that the virus is continuously evolving and no one in the world can claim to be an expert in combating it so far.
Initially, Punjab was also trialing hydroxychloroquine, but dropped it once it wasn’t showing much progress.
But Dr Rashid said Punjab doctors are now eyeing another drug, Actemra (tocilizumab) that has the potential to rapidly shorten the recovery period by increasing oxygen levels.
She said around 10 to 15 patients were administered the drug via an injection and they recovered 86%.
However, the drug is very expensive and a single day’s use costs Rs1.2 million. She said the government has decided to initiate proper trials for the medicine and begin procuring it soon.
The minister affirmed that none of the patients volunteering for the trials will be named.
“It’s your life and you’re responsible for it. We can reduce the infection rate by 30% to 40% if we cover our face with masks and follow other SOPs as well,” she added.