By Muhammad Luqman
With unabated increase in the number of coronavirus positive patients, Pakistan has turned exhibition centres in Karachi and Lahore into field hospitals to treat the people infected by the contagion.
These make-shift hospitals and field isolation centres will help ease the pressure on the healthcare infrastructure that is currently too weak to cater to the requirements of the 220 million people in the face of deadly COVID-19 that has spread to around 200 countries around the world.
The Sindh chief minister had recently announced that the Medical Corps of the Pakistan Army had come forward to help the provincial government in the establishment of a field hospital of 10,000 beds at the Expo Centre to isolate and treat coronavirus patients.
“The Sindh government would bear all the expenses for the establishment of the facility,” Syed Murad Ali Shah said, adding that initially, the Medical Corps battalion would establish a 500-bed isolation and treatment facility in one of the halls of the centre. It will ultimately turn into a 10,000-bed isolation centre.
Visited the 1000 bedded Field Hospital established in Expo Center Lahore. The whole administration deserves appreciation for making this possible in just 9 days.
— Usman Buzdar (@UsmanAKBuzdar) April 1, 2020
Lahore’s expo centre has also been turned into a 1000-bed hospital due to the emerging cases of coronavirus patients in the second largest city of Pakistan and the ajoining areas.
At the field hospital, emergency arrangements have been made for COVID-19 patients. “The Rescue 1122 will make administrative arrangements at the Triage Center. Prof. Asad Aslam Khan will supervise the overall arrangements of Quarantine, Treatment, and the Triage Center,” Punjab Chief Minister Usman Ahmad Khan Buzdar said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has has extended the lockdown till April 14 as the coronavirus cases continued to surge in the country with the national tally crossing 2,000 on Wednesday.
As of Wednesday evening, Sindh and Punjab have reported 709 and 748 cases each. Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reported 158 and 253 cases, respectively. Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan region have detected 190 cases, whereas Islamabad has 54 cases.
During this lockdown period, “Goods transport will continue as all members present in the meeting had agreed on cooperating in this regard,” Federal Minister Asad Umar told a press conference in the capital, Islamabad.
“The industries manufacturing basic necessities — food, medicine, and power etc. — will operate as they are crucial at this time,” he said, adding: “These restrictions will bear fruit only if basic necessities are being provided to the people […] The federal and provincial governments are on the same page in this regard.”
“On April 4, the first flight will come in the country via Pakistan International Airlines. Passengers will be tested and they will be kept in quarantine facility till the results are received,” he said, referring to the government’s aim to resume flight operations.
If they test negative, then we will ask them to self-quarantine and take necessary precautionary measures, the minister said.
“On April 5, we will review this measure of bringing people in from abroad, if it is successful then the flights will be started in different airports of the country […] While the domestic flights will remain suspended,” Asad Umar explained.