10,000 additional ventilators by April: NDMA

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ISLAMABAD: National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal told media on Tuesday that the government has planned to acquire 10,000 additional ventilators by April in order to cope with any health crisis, such as coronavirus pandemic.

While addressing media at a news briefing alongside Prime Minister Imran Khan, he revealed that Pakistan’s current capacity for ventilators is 2,200, which in an emergency situation, will fail to accommodate even 50 per cent of the affected people. “Unfortunately, nothing is available anywhere except in China,” he said. “Chinese authorities have now issued instructions to their factories to provide the medical supplies Pakistan is asking for [as a] preferred buyer,” he said. “Acquiring protective gear for doctors and health staff is the first priority and a small number will arrive on Wednesday while another batch will arrive on Thursday. The protective equipment includes around a million masks, out of which 50,000 are N-95 type,” he said, adding that material to prepare protective gear will also arrive and will be manufactured at a factory in Lahore.

“Furthermore, 50,000 testing kits will arrive on Thursday. By the end of this week, a significant number of protective gear and other equipment will arrive via air as well as by road,” he said, revealing that border will be opened for a day so that the equipment can be transported into the country.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza expressed the hope that the government’s strict measures will help controlling the further spread of coronavirus in the country. He said the objective behind stern steps of provinces and involvement of Pakistan Army under Article 245 is to curtail the virus at the existing stage. “All provinces are making sincere efforts to successfully combat the disease. Plans are made in accordance with the changing situation, which will hopefully improve with the passage of time,” he added.

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