Punjab to set up five new Covid labs

Meeting reviews pandemic situation, pace of vaccination


Our Correspondent July 16, 2021

LAHORE:

To enhance the coronavirus testing capacity during the fourth wave of the pandemic, the Primary Healthcare Department has proposed to set up new Biosafety Level Three (BSL-3) laboratories in five cities of the province.

The proposal was presented at a meeting chaired by Punjab Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid at the Civil Secretariat on Thursday. Punjab chief secretary, additional chief secretary (Home), secretaries of both the health departments and senior civil and military officials attended the meeting while all the divisional commissioners participated through video link.

The meeting reviewed the corona pandemic situation in the province, pace of vaccination, implementation of SOPs, besides contemplating a proposal to establish new BSL-3 labs at DHQ hospitals in Layyah, Mianwali, Okara and THQ hospitals in Kharian (Gujrat) and Wah (Rawalpindi).

Provincial Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said that the pace of vaccination has increased significantly during the ongoing week for SOPs implementation and vaccination. She said citizens should continue to follow precautionary measures along with vaccination.

She mentioned corona cases are increasing in some districts of South Punjab and the rate of occupancy of ventilators in DG Khan and Rahim Yar Khan is alarming. She directed that special monitoring of the epidemic situation be carried out in these districts.

The Chief Secretary said that it would be appropriate to set up a BSL-3 Lab at Attock instead of THQ Hospital Wah. He directed that there should be at least 10 days of stock of vaccines available after the vaccination has been accelerated.

The chief secretary said that the NCOC had set a target of completing vaccination of 40% of the population of five major cities of Punjab by August including Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Multan and Rawalpindi.

He said the officers should work hard to achieve the vaccination targets. He also issued instructions for further speeding up vaccination in Narowal, Toba Tek Singh, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Jhang and Chiniot.

The secretaries of the department of primary health and specialized healthcare gave a detailed briefing to the meeting.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2021.

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