By Ali Imran
ISLAMABAD: Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Lieutenant General Muhammad Afzal Monday said around 125 tonnes of procured goods comprising medical equipment, safety masks, ventilators, personal protective equipment and other necessary items would reach from China that would increase Pakistan’s capacity to fight coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak.
Addressing a joint media conference here, Chairman NDMA said the Authority had planned a three phase strategy to carry out preventive measures against the COVID-19 outbreak whereas in the first there were three main objectives to mainly ensure proper checking of foreigners and overseas Pakistanis coming to the country, detection of COVID-19 and ensure that they did not transfer virus to others.
The chairman NDMA was flanked by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (SAPM) Dr Zafar Mirza, SAPM on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf and Minister for National Food Security and Research Khusro Bakhtiar.
He said initially 15 days were taken to make sure the above facilities at all the airports of the country and the major issue faced in this endeavour was lack of personal protective equipment for health workers. ‘We planned to provide it to the health workers by April 5 whereas it would be supplied by 30 March.’
General Afzal informed that the Authority was in contact with vendors in China in Pakistan Embassy through video link to procure the testing kits, ventilators and other goods, however, negotiations were underway to get the items.
He thanked the governor State Bank of Pakistan for opening one window despite a holiday to get the amounts paid to the Chinese vendors for getting the medical equipment. ‘At least, four banks are active at the moment to assist NDMA for the transactions to be carried out and before the day ends NDMA will send the money to all the vendors in China.’
In the second phase, he said around 100 ventilators were to be arranged which would be augmented to 1,200 and then 4,000 ventilators across the country in the third phase. China, he said had already given 15 ventilators whereas 14 tonnes of personal protective equipment, some ventilators would be sent on Friday as told by the Chinese Ambassador.