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PESHAWAR: Provincial Task Force (PTF) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Covid-19 Tuesday expressed concern on the increasing number of positive cases of Corona, stressed the need for strict implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and other precautionary measures. The task force also took some crucial decisions for containing further spread of the pandemic.

The meeting of the task force held here with Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mahmood Khan in the chair reviewed in detail the latest situation of the 3rd wave of Corona pandemic with special focus on the administrative measures to contain the pandemic including the implementation of SOPs and enforcement of smart lockdowns etc.

Besides, provincial cabinet members Shahram Tarakai, Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Shaukat Yousafzai, Kamran Bangash, Corps Commander Peshawar Lt. Gen. Nauman Mahmood, Chief Secretary Dr. Kazim Niaz and Inspector General Police Dr. Sanaullah Abbasi, the meeting was attended by concerned administrative secretaries and other relevant high ups.

Briefing media about the decisions taken by the forum, Special Assistant to CM on Information, Kamran Bangash said that positivity ratio of Corona cases was at very high in 16 districts of the province where schools had already been closed for educational activities adding that schools will be closed in other districts as well where positive ration is 5.0 percent or above.

He informed that holding of marriage ceremonies both indoor and outdoor in the highly effected 16 districts would be completely banned with immediate effect whereas visitors would also be banned in government offices especially in civil Secretariat.

Kamran Bangash told that government offices would operate with 50% staff. However, the provincial ministers may run their offices with less than 50% staff depending upon the situation. He further told that before the holy month of Ramazan, inter provincial public transport will also be closed on weekly two safe days already announced for the closure of markets adding that a ministerial committee would take the transporters in to confidence in this regard and engage them to ensure the implementation of SOPs in public transport.

The Special Assistant said that despite enforcement of smart lockdowns and strict implementation of SOPs, the ongoing anti polio campaign would not get effect and a workable mechanism would be put in place to continue the anti polio campaign under strict SOPs.

Addressing the press conference, Minister Health Taimoor Saleem Jhagra said that the provincial government was constantly working to enhance the working capacity of healthcare system adding that efforts were underway to ensure that 200 additional beds are added to the existing strength of beds allocated for COVID-19 patients in the major hospitals of the most effective districts within the next two weeks.

He said that newly established surgical blocks of Leady Reading Hospital Peshawar may also be allocated for COVID-19 patients if needed. Minister told that the central districts of the province including Peshawar, Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Swat, Shangla, Malakand, Bajaur, Charsadda, Bunir, Mardan, Swabi, Khyber, Nowshera, Abbottabad, Haripur and Kohat were largely affected by the recent wave of pandemic. He said that the government was taking pragmatic steps to ensure protection of people lives. He said that government yet not intended to impose complete lockdown.

The cabinet members also urged upon the people to strictly follow SOPs against COVID-19 and to cooperate with the district administration to this effect. The meeting was given a detail briefing about the overall situation of COVID-19, testing capacity of the provincial government and vaccination process in the province.

It was told that first dose of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered so far to 64000 individuals including 37000 healthcare workers and around 27000 senior citizens whereas it was informed that vaccination of about 20000 individuals has been completed so far.

It was also informed that strength of high dependency units and ICU beds in the tertiary care hospitals of the province was being increased.

The participants were also informed that during the last week Peshawar and Lower Dir have been the most effected districts of the province with the positivity rate of 24 and 34 percent respectively whereas average positivity rate in other districts was recorded as 6% in district Haripur, 13% in Mardan, 23% in Nowshera, 20% in Swabi, 7% in Abbottabad, 34% in Lower Dir, 8% in Upper Dir, 9% in Kohat, 18% in Bunir and 13% in Bajaur.

Talking on the occasion, the chief minister appealed the people to ensure implementation of corona SOPs adding that keeping in view the current situation of pandemic, the government has to take some serious steps to control the large scale outbreak of the pandemic and hoped that the people will also play their respective role to efficiently deal with the recent wave of corona virus.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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