Punjab okays Rs 380 crore for Covid third wave preparation

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The Punjab government on Friday approved a sum of Rs 380 crore that will be used to set up more oxygen plants and other necessary health infrastructure to deal with an anticipated third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The amount approved by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh shall be spent on PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) oxygen plants, cryogenic liquid medical oxygen tanks, ambulances, amongst others.

The chief minister approved Rs 380 crore to be spent by the Health and Medical Education departments in preparing for a possible third wave of the Covid pandemic, an official release said.

The CM said funds have never been allowed to become a constraint in the state government’s response to Covid and they will continue to be made available even in the future, according to requirement.

The state is ready for the third wave, with preparations being made for 25 per cent more patients than in the second wave, he added.

At a virtual COVID-19 review meeting, the CM also gave a go ahead for filling of posts of medical specialists, nurses along with 330 faculty posts in Patiala and Amritsar medical colleges.

He also asked the departments to bring the proposal for any additional posts needed to the Cabinet to ensure that all vacant posts are filled at the earliest.

The chief minister directed the departments to ensure testing at minimum 40,000 a day, with smart testing to ensure timely information on any upsurge.

Appreciating the detailed surveillance strategy prepared by the health and medical education departments, in consultation with experts, for prevention and containment of the third wave, the chief minister said GIS-based surveillance and prevention tools will be used with an auto trigger mechanism for localised restrictions in the first instance.

Regional or state-wide restrictions will be unveiled in the second instance, if the need so arises, he said, adding that districts will be classified based on risk levels into three categories, enabling districts to implement restrictions for containment on a scientific basis.

The CM directed the officials that data cells in each district be activated for collection and analysis of data.

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