ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday doctors, nurses and other medical staff were in the frontline of the battle against coronavirus and they would be provided with the necessary protective equipment to ensure their safety and health.
Addressing the healthcare staff at the Cantonment General Hospital (CGH) in Rawalpindi, Imran said that protective gear would be provided to those working at the intensive care units (ICUs) and dealing patients with contagious diseases on a priority basis.
“We will fully support you – our doctors, nurses and paramedic staff, and the nation acknowledges your efforts,” he said, after inaugurating the upgradation of the 500-bed hospital. He added the decision was taken by the Command and Control Centre to ensure provision of shielding material to the medical staff.
Imran told doctors that the trend of the pandemic in Pakistan would become clearer in a week. “A continuous monitoring and data analysis is under way to determine the accurate rate of spread of infection,” the prime minister added.
Prime Minister Imran expressed satisfaction that Pakistan had not witnessed the “sort of escalation” in Covid-19 cases as had been seen in the Western countries. “Our fatality rate is also low, when compared with the [rest of the] world.”
Referring to the increasing demand of protective equipment and ventilators in the world after the breakout of the pandemic, Imran said “Pakistan is fortunate that China is giving us preference in provision of the equipment” after controlling the virus in its own land.
“The government started taking preventive measures in the country since the first coronavirus case surfaced in China this January,” he said besides working on the mechanism on how to deal with the looming challenge.
He regretted that healthcare sector had never been a priority in last 70 years but added that his government would take every step to bring improvement to this neglected area.
The prime minister along with Railways minister Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed, member of National Assembly Amir Mehmood Kiani and the CGH officials visited different sections of the hospital, including the Operation theatres, CT (computerised tomography) Scan area and the Corona ICU.
He was briefed that the hospital had constituted a corona response team with a specific plan in place to deal with emergency. A separate ICU and isolation ward has been established besides setting up of seven dispensaries in slum areas to detect persons with symptoms of the infectious disease.
The prime minister was also apprised that operation theatres had the facility of live telecast of surgeries, usually for the purpose of distant advisory opinion from physicians and as educational activity for medical students.
Appeal for donations
Prime Minister Imran, in a series of tweets on Wednesday appealed the people to donate generously towards his Covid-19 Pandemic Relief Fund-2020 and join the Corona Tiger Force as a “Jihad” to help those facing the virus.
“I want everyone to donate towards this fund which will be used to take care of all those who have been made destitute by the lockdown,” he wrote in a tweet. He asked the people to “send tax deductible donation to Account No 4162 786 786 National Bank of Pakistan Main Branch Karachi”.
Prime Minister Imran also advised the masses to visit the URL, https://www.nbp.com.pk/COVIDFUND/index.aspx, to get complete account information and transfer instructions.
In another tweet, he urged the citizens, particularly the youth, to get themselves registered for the Corona Tiger Force via the Citizen Portal App – an integrated citizens grievance redressal system connecting all government organisations both at federal and provincial levels.
“I want youth to play their role in helping our fight against the COVID 19 by joining our Corona Tiger Force, which will be organised to do Jihad against the suffering caused by this pandemic,” the prime minister wrote.
Imran on Monday announced the relief fund to raise money for people who will directly bear brunt of the financial impact of coronavirus. He also announced the establishment of Corona Relief Tiger Force, which will help the government and the army to assist the people amid the pandemic.
[With input from APP]