Govt stands by medical staff, provide them full protection in fight against coronavirus: PM –Says rate of rise in coronavirus cases may be gauged in one week –Lauds China for lending medical assistance to help curb pandemic

April 1, 2020

RAWALPINDI  : Prime Minister Imran Khan has assured that the government stands by the medical staff including doctors and nurses and will provide them full protection in the fight against coronavirus.

He was speaking after inaugurating the upgradation project of Cantonment General Hospital Rawalpindi on Wednesday. The Prime Minister said doctors, nurses and other medical staff are in the frontline of battle against coronavirus and they will be provided with the necessary protective equipment to ensure their safety and health.  “Doctors, nurses and other medical staff are in the frontline of a battle against coronavirus. Your protection is our number one priority,” he said, indirectly addressing the medical staff tending to coronavirus patients. The Prime Minister said discussions are being held on daily basis as to how the health workers can be further supported and incentives can be given to them.

“Since January 15, when we first got to know about the pandemic in China, we have been working to facilitate and equip our doctors,” he said. Unfortunately, things deteriorated as a shortage of equipment ensued across the globe. Imran Khan said the trend of the pandemic in Pakistan will become clear in a period of one week. “The rate of rise in the cases may be gauged in one week time,” he said. However, he expressed satisfaction that Pakistan has not witnessed the sort of escalation of cases as has been seen in the western countries. He said our fatality rate is also low when compared with the world. He said that the worldwide demand for healthcare staff and material had shot up in the wake of the pandemic.

“I read today that the US had opened visas for health workers to assist them in handling the situation,” said the prime minister, noting that it was quite difficult to acquire a US visa in the past. Alluding to the increasing demand of protective equipment and ventilators in the world after the breakout of the pandemic, the Prime Minister said Pakistan is fortunate that China is giving us preference in provision of the equipment after controlling the virus in its own land. He lauded China for lending medical assistance and supplies to Pakistan to help curb the disease. The Prime Minister regretted that the health sector was not given preference over the last seven decades. He said the standards of our hospitals were better up till 60s and 70s but then allocations for both the education and the health sectors were brought down. The premier said that things were still under control in Pakistan as compared to other countries as the number of fatalities here are fewer than abroad. Amidst everything, our first priority is the facilitation of our health workers, he reiterated. Upgradation and renovation of the hospital is an important step of incumbent government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in order to provide better healthcare services to the residents of Rawalpindi and adjacent areas. Earlier, the Prime Minister visited different sections of the hospital and reviewed the facilities there.  On the occasion, he was briefed about the hospital’s upgradation. Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid was also present on the occasion.