Lt. Gen. Muhammad Afzal says that apart from N-95 masks, authorities are sourcing all required PPE locally
There is no shortage of personal protection equipment for healthcare workers in Pakistan, said National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lt. Gen. Muhammad Afzal on Monday, claiming local sourcing was sufficient to fulfill the country’s requirements.
Addressing the media after a formal ceremony in Islamabad during which he received 15 testing machines and 15,000 testing kits for COVID-19 from World Health Organization Representative Dr. Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala, the NDMA chief said Pakistan was presently only importing N-95 masks, and was sourcing all remaining PPE requirements locally.
“We have provided the required equipment to all frontline doctors, nurses, and other officials working in 502 hospitals across the country,” said Lt. Gen. Afzal, adding that the NDMA now had the capacity to supply 100,000 PPEs per week to all hospitals in the country.
The NDMA chairman said provincial governments should ramp up testing by aggressively targeting areas where there was a high incidence of confirmed cases. The NDMA would provide the required capability to ensure this succeeds, he added.
According to Lt. Gen. Afzal, there are 39 testing laboratories currently functioning in the country, while the government is working to add 27 more. He said there are over 100 mobile laboratories, equipped with required machinery, which can be deployed to affected localities for screening and testing. He also said there are plans for the country to posses over 2,500 ventilators by the end of this month.
WHO Representative Dr. Mahipala, meanwhile, told journalists that the global health body had provided testing kits and machines to Pakistan to support its efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. He also lauded Prime Minister Imran Khan’s efforts to control the outbreak.
Pakistan currently has more than 5,300 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 93 deaths and 1,095 recoveries. The highest number of cases has been reported from Punjab province—2,594—while Sindh is in second place with 1,411 cases.