ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was informed on Saturday that PCR laboratory testing capacity has been enhanced from 24,446 per day to 31,400 tests per day through 103 laboratories across the country.

The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSRC), the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), all the provinces and the Gilgit-Baltistan, on Saturday filed reports as a five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed would resume hearing of suo moto on coronavirus pandemic from tomorrow (Monday). Health Ministry report submitted that the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on Covid-19 met on June 1, 2020 under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The chief ministers of all the provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan participated and took several decisions.

The federal government has made use of facemasks at all public places mandatory.

The meeting decided that all overseas incoming passengers to be tested for the Covid-19 on arrival.

However, they will not be detained and sent home with health instructions.

The report said that work is in progress to develop an App that would guide patients towards right hospitals to get clinical care in case of the Covid-19 infection.

The same shall also be made available to Rescue 1122 and other rescue ambulance services.

The Ministry of Health has also developed a robust surveillance system – Integrated Data Information Management System (IDIMS).

Sanitary workers

The Sindh government said that a special grant of Rs140 million had been sanctioned for payment of salaries and provision of PPEs to the sanitary workers of the WASA.

The sanitary staff for March and April 2020 wer5e paid, while Local Government Department has moved another summary on payment of salaries and clearance of pension dues from September 2019 to February 2020, and May 2020 seeking Rs239.9 million.

The majority of the local councils lift garbage within their respective areas through their own staff except a few urban councils, which have awarded contracts for the purpose.

The Punjab stated that seven waste management companies under Local Government Department were busy in cleaning of various regions of the province.

The companies have entered into a contract for hiring of unskilled/sanitary workers.

COVID-19

The Sindh provincial government has taken measures to effectively combat the rising number of Covid-19 affected patients (from 13,343 to 32,910 between 13th May to 3rd June, 2020).

The number of Covid-19 infections is rising, but a significant improvement is being observed with effective management as the percentage of recovery has increased from 21.25 percent to 49 percent. Fatality rate remains at 1.6 percent.

The bedding capacity of field isolation centers/hospital based wards increased to 11,680 while per day testing capacity has been increased from 6,550 to 8,650. The Sindh Home Department in pursuance of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting dated June 1, 2020, issued an order for opening of certain economic activities.

The Punjab report said that in consonance with the federal government's advice in pursuance of the NCC meeting dated 01-06-2020 all businesses, factories, facilities, premises, retail outlets, shopping malls and plazas have been allowed to operate from 9am to 7pm (Monday to Friday).

However, all education and training institutions, marriage halls, business centers, expo halls, restaurants (except takeaway and home delivery), beauty parlors, cinemas, and theaters will remain close.

Locust

Pakistan has 300,000 square kilometers areas (37.68 percent of the total area) prone to desert locust. 60 percent of the area is in Balochistan, 25 percent in Sindh, and 15 percent in the Punjab.

Department of Plant Protection (DPP), Karachi, under the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Islamabad is the lead agency for monitoring and control of desert locust in desert areas of Pakistan in coordination with the FAO and provincial departments.

A survey in desert started on 04-07-19, locust appeared on 21-07-19 while treatment started on 22-07-19.

The Cholistan Development Authority (CDA) and the Department of Plant Protection (Karachi) and other departments worked jointly to contain the locust in desert. Sprayers from the DPP and pesticides from the Punjab Agriculture Department are being employed for locust elimination.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020