Punjab is all set increase its coronavirus testing capacity to 2,500 test per day by Thursday (April 2), revealed Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid.
“Our aim, however, is to bring the figure to 5,000 tests each day so that more and more people can be identified,” she said on SAMAA TV’s programme Naya Din on Tuesday.
The minister said that the government has been using the lockdown to increase the number of hospitals in the province. “The Mayo Hospital, Expo Centre and the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute have been completely allotted to the coronavirus patients,” she said.
Both tests, as well as self-isolation facilities, are present at these hospitals, Dr Rashid assured adding that three medical colleges have also been converted into quarantine centres.
The minister clarified that all the doctors and paramedic staff working on the front line are being trained and looked after. The medical staff will have one-week shifts and then will be given relief.
“They will be tested as well so that they don’t transfer the virus to anyone else,” she said. “Personal protective equipment, double salaries and training programmes will also be provided to them,” Dr Rashid explained.
The minister gave a breakdown of the number of cases in the province. Presently, 638 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Punjab. Of these, 207 are in the Dera Ghazi Khan quarantine centre.
Lahore has reported 127 cases so far. “Rawalpindi, Gujarat and Jhelum have been declared red as the number of people visiting from abroad is very high there,” Dr Rashid said.
Another increase in the number of patients has been of those who have returned from the Tableegi Jamaat’s ijtema. A total of 1,100 people recently returned from the ijtema are being tested after the first 50 samples came positive.
The minister clarified that all the known cases are being accurately communicated to the public. “We are in no way trying to hide anything from you,” she added.
Punjab has conducted 14,500 tests of the novel coronavirus so far.