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health
Wednesday Mar 25 2020
By
Web Desk

Sindh CM approves purchase of new coronavirus testing machines, PPE

By
Web Desk
A gas mask and hazmat suit is seen in a warehouse in Austin, Texas, US, March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Nathan Frandino

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday approved the purchase of new medical equipment, including coronavirus testing machines and portable X-ray systems, according to a press release from the provincial government.

The decision was made during a meeting of the provincial task force on coronavirus.

The new medical equipment ordered includes 290 ventilators, 3.2 million Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), 100,000 testing kits, 100 Rapid Kit Antigen Test Machines (RKATM), 50 RT Lamp Testing Machines and 10,000 RT Lamp Kits, and 29 portable X-ray machines. With the addition of these tools, Sindh's testing capacity will be improved.

At the time of this report, there were only 484 ventilators, of which 353 were operational, 52 out of order, 43 yet to be installed, and 21 were in the purchasing process, the provincial health department noted. 

CM Shah said while at least 5,000 more ventilators were required to meet any emergency, the purchase of an additional 290 was approved in the first phase.

The chief minister was informed that the RKATM, which was manufactured by Chinese scientists, was able to test samples through an easier system, effectively carrying out 10 tests an hour.

120,960 kits needed

He, therefore, approved buying 100 machines and 100,000 antigen testing kits and directed the health department to immediately place the order. "I want their delivery as soon as possible,” he said.

Shah issued directives to ensure the RT Lamp Testing Machines and 10,000 RT Lamp Kits were delivered properly.

Health officials informed the chief minister that seven medical facilities — including Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi, Chest Clinic Lyari, taluka hospital Hala, and the district headquarters (DHQ) hospitals in Sanghar, Ghotki, Naushahro Feroze, and Kashmore — had been provided testing machines and were able to conduct 1,344 tests in six batches a day.

Therefore, these health facilities are in of need 120,960 kits over the next 90 days.

Local transmission cases rise to 94

Sindh health department conducted 3,718 tests, of which 413 tested positive, 3,304 were diagnosed negative, and the results of 485 were pending.

Of the 413 positive cases, 145 were from Karachi, 265 from Sukkur, two of Hyderabad, and one in Dadu, whereas 265 were pilgrims. There were 94 local transmission cases in the province, while 10 individuals were in self-isolation.

Of Karachi's total cases, 54 were international.

Some 100 pilgrims were in quarantine in Malir; of these, 68 have tested negative while results for the rest were yet to be released. Shah then directed that the 68 COVID-19 negative people be released from the isolation centre but advised that their data be retained in the records.

Suspected cases, new staff

Sindh's public sector hospitals have reported 1,874 suspected cases, of which 93 have been tested. Private hospitals, on the other hand, reported 702 cases, of which 27 have undergone testing.

On the chief minister's instructions, some 2,366 nurses have been issued a job offer order, whereas the recruitment process of 1,000 doctors and 500 lab technicians was underway.