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Coronavirus: Punjab scaling up testing capacity, buying ventilators

PTI | Chandigarh | Updated: 28-03-2020 18:15 IST | Created: 28-03-2020 18:15 IST
Coronavirus: Punjab scaling up testing capacity, buying ventilators

The Punjab government has geared up to strengthen its medical infrastructure by scaling up capacity to test for coronavirus and buying new ventilators, officials said on Saturday. Besides, the state government is working on increasing bed capacity in hospitals.

At present, labs in Patiala and Amritsar have the capacity to conduct 320 tests every day for the deadly disease. "We are procuring two more RT PCR testing machines each for Patiala and Amritsar colleges and we are also procuring two RNA extraction machines each at Patiala and Amritsar," Punjab Medical Education and Research, Principal Secretary, D K Tiwari said.

With the arrival of these machines, the testing capacity will jump to 400 each at Patiala and Amritsar medical colleges every day, he said. The Baba Farid university of Health sciences at Faridkot has also written to the Centre for setting up a testing lab on the campus.

Principal Secretary Health Anurag Aggarwal said the government has set up 5,000 isolation wards in state-run hospitals. "We have also tied up with private hospitals for this and identified 1,600 such wards. We are also exploring possibility of adding more wards for COVID-19 patients," Aggarwal said. He said the state government has placed orders for 100 more ventilators. Currently, the state has 387 ventilators available in government and private facilities.

Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said the state government had made all arrangements to deal with any eventuality arising out of coronavirus. With most of coronavirus cases in the state being linked to NRIs and other who returned from coronavirus-hit countries, the state government has launched a major drive to track and test them.

Punjab has reported 38 coronavirus cases so far..


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