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LAHORE, Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid has said here on Sunday that positivity ratio in Punjab has declined to less than 2 percent as a result of stricter lockdowns around Eidul-Fitr.

While addressing a press conference here at the 90 Shahrai-i-Fatima Jinnah, the Health Minister said that people must not be misled by rumours about vaccines on Social Media. She said only in Khanewal and Vehari and Multan, the ratio was on higher side whereas it was had reported down major dip in the province including Lahore. The Minister Health said in the last 24 hours, 403 positive cases were reported and 49 people had lost their lives. So far 3, 42,192 cases have been reported in Punjab and about 10,000 people have lost their lives in Punjab. In the last 24 hours, 21,813 tests were conducted and so far 52, 53,775 tests have been done. In the DHQs and THQ of Punjab, patients are under treatment at 331 hospitals out of 2901 reserved beds. In the DHQs and THQs, only 8 ventilators are occupied out of 112 reserved for Corona.

The Health Minister said that all commercial activities remain closed after 8 pm in the province with the exception of essential items. Corona Pandemic has not gone anywhere and we must not be complacent. We have witnessed decline in cases due to strict compliance with SOPs Eidul-Fitr. We can stop the spread of COVID-19 by enforcement of SOPs. Only by keeping the positivity ratio down, can we bring life back to normal. Indoor marriages are under complete restriction. Subject to compliance with SOPs, parks have been opened. Shrines have been opened on the condition of compliance with SOPs and the objective is larger public good. We are trying to create awareness through media in public. I appeal to people not to believe in any rumours or false news at social media these days. The government is working with full responsibility. All statistics are shared with people on COVID-19 on daily basis. In the entire world, vaccine is being administered to people on large scale. If there was a harm of vaccine, nobody would have got themselves vaccinated.

She further said, "I have seen ridiculous news on Social Media like Chip installation, infertility or mortality within 2 years. These are all rumours, false, pointless and baseless. Everyone in our team has got vaccinated including myself. Vaccine is not harmful, instead it is very useful. A large number of world over have got themselves vaccinated. By the end of the current year, we have to achieve the target of vaccination of 70 million people. In the last 24 hours, we have vaccinated more than 180,000 people. So far we have vaccinated 4.8 million people albeit this number is still less. Things will get better after vaccination of 50 % population of the province from a population of 110 million. The graph of COVID-19 cases has gone down considerably in countries reporting higher vacation ratio. The vaccination of journalists gives a clear message to people. All teachers are being vaccinated. There is no shortage of vaccine and we have 1.8 million doses available. Pakistan is also manufacturing its own vaccine and within the next few days, we will be receiving another 3 million fresh doses. Sinopharm has been distributed to all districts after delivery from the Federal Government. The Health Minister said that in every district, there is adequate number of vaccines available. More than 300 Rural Health Centres and 700 vaccination centres of SH&ME Department shall be functional from tomorrow. In the 27 Teaching Hospitals, we are providing vaccination services 24 hours. Now we can vaccinate more than 650,000 people per day. Punjab has 175 mobile vaccination campuses. Large shopping malls and centres have started vaccination of their staff. All Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners and CEOs have been the target of maximum vaccination. Under the administration of the SH&ME department, around 30 beds from reserved capacity have been occupied by Corona patients. By the Grace of God, we have adequate resources available for Corona patients. Treatment is being provided to free of cost to Corona patients. Punjab was also going to procure vaccine worth Rs. 1.5 billion. People of 18 years and above were being registered for Corona vaccine. The bigger the number of vaccinated people, the safer we are from the Pandemic."

Responding to queries of journalists, the health Minister said that directions for strict compliance have come from Prime Minister Imran Khan himself. She urged people not to get careless about the Pandemic. She said we must learn from the situation in neighbouring country as there has been large scale mortality in the neighbouring country. People must be conscious about their own health. All are approved by the World Health Organization. She said COVEX has given Pakistan Astra Zenica as per their commitment and Pfizer vaccine will only be given to people reporting other diseases. She added that all PPRA rules were being followed for the procurement of vaccine. Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar was personally monitoring the vaccine procurement himself and transparency was being ensured at all levels. She said a large number of people were turning up for second dose and all Medial and Teaching institutions will be administering vaccine. She said the Astra Zenica second dose is administered after more than 8 weeks. The government is providing free vaccine to people and despite difficult situation; all efforts are being made to vaccinate more and more people. She added all Deputy Commissioners have been asked to take on board all influential including religious scholars. Gilgit Baltistan has stopped entry to their areas without vaccination cards.

The Health Minister said that treatment has been provided to all including Opposition leaders. Responding to another question, she said former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was given best quality treatment which helped improve his platelets and treatment is available for all. On a question about the departure of the former prime minister, she said despite ruling the province for 10 years, they could not develop a hospital well enough for their own treatment. She said she herself and govt servants get treatment inside Pakistan. To another question, she responded that said Nawaz Sharif must come back to Pakistan as he has recovered for the last one and a half years.

To a question about Opposition leader Maryam Nawaz illness, she said treatment facilities were available for everyone including as and when they required. "I was asked by Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar for best quality treatment to Nawaz Sharif,: she added. To another question about issues related to media, she said complaints can be submitted directly to her and in case of any information on registration, people may contact 1033.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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