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Punjab govt gives Rs11bn to health dept

Punjab govt gives Rs11bn to health dept

LAHORE: The total number of coronavirus patients in Punjab is 265: 176 patients are quarantined in DG Khan, 59 in Lahore, 12 in Gujrat, seven in Gujranwala, three in Jhelum, two each in Rawalpindi and Multan and one each in Faisalabad and Mandi Bahauddin.

Chief Minister Usman Buzdar told a video link media briefing after the cabinet meeting that paid tributes to Dr Usama Riaz of Gilgit-Baltistan who laid down his life while treating coronavirus patients. “We also appreciate the role being played by medical teams in the treatment of patients in Punjab,” he added.

The meeting was also briefed on coronavirus situation and the chief minister and his cabinet members announced that they would donate their one-month salaries to chief minister’s fund for the disease control, he said.

Meanwhile, he said the Punjab government released Rs11 billion to the health department and the approval had been given in the cabinet meeting. Out of it, Rs2 billion had been given to the PDMA besides providing Rs600 million to districts and Rs1 billion to the Balochistan government, he said.

Cabinet offers one-month salaries to CM’s fund to fight coronavirus

The meeting decided to start distribution of Zakat one month earlier and recommendations were being forwarded to the federal government while the Baitul Maal funds were being released for their early distribution, he said.

The chief minister told the officials that a committee had been constituted to review cut in fees of private schools during holidays and early summer holidays in schools. The committee would submit its recommendations in seven days to take further steps, he said.

Similarly, another committee had been formed under law minister Raja Basharat to contact parliamentary parties of opposition so that joint work could be done in this difficult hour. The cabinet also gave approval to the draft of The Punjab Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control Ordinance, 2020. Three testing laboratories would be upgraded to level-3 in Lahore and approval had been given to establish new level-3 labs in Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, DG Khan, Faisalabad and Bahawalpur and Rs620 million approved for it, he added.

The chief minister said the cabinet permitted to arrange the services of 10,000 doctors, health professionals, paramedical staff and services of retired doctors would also be sought. Approval had been given to provide Rs800,000 as financial aid to the heirs of those who lose their lives to coronavirus. He said the cabinet approved the amendment to the local bodies act and agreed to delay elections for nine months keeping in view the prevailing situation. For this, an ordinance was being issued since May 5 is the final date for holding local election. The chief secretary presented a contingency plan which was approved by the cabinet.

Earlier, Mr Buzdar presided over the 28th cabinet meeting and gave ex-post facto approval to requisition of army officials under Article 245 along with the approval to the amendment to the Punjab Local Government Act, 2019. Approval to amendment to the Punjab Village, Panchayat and Neighbourhood Council Act, 2019 was also given.

Minutes of the 27th meeting of the Punjab cabinet and decisions made in the 27th and 28th meetings of cabinet standing committee for finance and development were also approved.

Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2020

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