Rehman Malik suggests work plan to tackle coronavirus

Zafar Mirza, Rehman Malik discuss the threat of virus outbreak in the country

ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to the PM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza called on Chairman Senate Standing Com­mittee on Interior Senator Rehman Malik yesterday and discussed the prevailing situation after the coro­navirus outbreak and reviewed the preventive measures taken by the government.

Senator Kalsoom Perveen, Par­liamentary Secretary Health Dr Nusheen Hamid, and Director Na­tional Institute of Health Dr Mo­hammad Salman were also pres­ent at the meeting.

Dr Zafar Mirza briefed the meet­ing in detail about the current sta­tus of the coronavirus in Pakistan. The meeting reviewed the recom­mendations made by the Stand­ing Committee on Interior to deal with the outbreak and its potential spread in the country.

Mirza said that the government was taking all necessary preven­tive measures to stop further spread of the coronavirus. He said that so far the local transmission of coronavirus is not reported and only those are affected who have foreign travel history.

He said that all those entered through the Taftan border are be­ing thoroughly screened for coro­navirus and are being quarantined till their clearance. Mirza said the people who suffer from the com­mon cold should not get them­selves tested for coronavirus.

Senator Malik said that the Sen­ate Standing Committee on Interi­or had called an emergency meet­ing on 27th February just after the confirmation of the first two cases in Pakistan and had proposed the 31 recommendations to the gov­ernment to combat the spread of coronavirus in the country.

He said that those 31 recom­mendations will be helpful for the government to combat the virus if followed in letter and spirit. He called for more testing kits adding that we should not deny if some­one is suspecting that he is suffer­ing from coronavirus.

Senator Kalsoom Perveen who joined the meeting later conveyed that people of Balochistan are pass­ing through great panic as the pre­ventive measures so far taken there are inadequate and unsatisfactory.

She expressed great annoyance over the mismanagement at Taftan border adding that it has caused the massive outbreak of coronavi­rus cases across the country.

She said that throughout Ba­lochistan there is a single mobile laboratory and a single ventilator and there is no testing facility at hospitals. She said that people at the Taftan border are kept in tents lacking even the basic necessities.

The Chairman of the Commit­tee advised Prime Minister Imran Khan to convene a joint meeting of all Chief Ministers and announce a relief grant to all provinces to over­come coronavirus. He said that we all with unity have to defeat the coronavirus by strict adherence to the preventive measures.

He said that every pilgrim from Iran should be properly tested on the Taftan border and be quaran­tined for 14 days. He said that the isolation center should be estab­lished in schools with all facilities of screening and testing for coro­navirus.

He said that the Quarantine cen­tres should be equipped with the pattern of international standards. He urged the government that in wake of further spread of the coro­navirus, the government should export more testing kits and oth­er necessary medical instruments well on time.

He advised the government to allocate additional funds on war footing basis to Benazir Income Support Program for issuance of Mazdoor Cards for needy people.

Malik proposed that the BISP should be given more funds and immediately issue Mazdoor Cards to those whose income is lower than twenty thousand and who do not hold the permanent jobs.

He suggested that this financial support should be paid through BISP till the time the situation is normalized. He expressed that it will be difficult for the government to control the situation and social crisis if hunger is not addressed well on time as it can create anar­chy within the country.

He also advised the establish­ment of the Federal Regulatory Anti-Coronavirus Programme un­der BISP to regulate and monitor the listing and disbursement of funds among the needy.

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