Punjab doubles coronavirus testing capacity, scales up 112 helpline

No scarcity of any medical commodity, says govt

Punjab doubles coronavirus testing capacity, scales up 112 helpline

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28

Amid the growing threat of coronavirus (COVID-19), Punjab government has increased the testing capacity in double fold at Government Medical Colleges in Patiala and Amritsar.

DK Tiwari, Principal Secretary, Medical Education and Research, said government is combating with this threat on war footing and Additional Real-Time PCR machines have been installed at GMC Patiala and Amritsar to double the testing capacity.

He said shifts of staff to supplement testing facilities have been increased so that the results of the tests come rapidly and the treatment process initiated immediately. He added that bio-safety equipment have been shifted from IIT Ropar to GMC Patiala to further increases testing capacity.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Police have further scaled up its citizen support systems, including the 112 helpline and supply of essentials, to cope with the emergency situation arising out of the imposition of curfew/lockdown in the state in the light of COVID-19 crisis.

Tiwari added that Medical Education and Research Department is working 24X7 and daily status report is being taken via video conferencing from different parts of the state so that concerted efforts should be focused on concerned areas.

The Principal Secretary said Information and Consultation Desks have been set up at Medical Colleges for guiding public, apart from this round the clock staff facilitation counters have been put up for assisting doctors, nurses, paramedics on duty during odd hours.

He said there is no scarcity of any medical commodity and buffer stock of N95 masks, PPE kits, triple layer masks and other essentials has been provided to staff according to protocols. He divulged that training is being provided to staff daily for updating about the latest guidelines and findings of WHO regarding COVID-19. Daily updates on projections are being calculated by epidemiologists and accordingly supplies are being augmented.

To further improve its response time and cope with the increased pressure on 112 helpline, the Punjab Police today augmented the capacity of the 112 call centre by adding 11 workstations, raising its capacity to 53. A total of 159 personnel are manning the stations, working in three shifts, according to DGP Dinkar Gupta.

The Punjab Government is also in talks with a private BPO firm for hiring a ready/functional 100-operator station to augment/supplement the capacity of 112, said the DGP.

The callers are directed to District Control Rooms or 104/108 for any health related queries, ambulance etc. Those related to provision of medicines, groceries and other essential commodities are provided with the phone number of the District War Rooms set up by Deputy Commissioners, concerned official or local vendors as per requirements.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Police has also taken measures to manage crowds arriving at the Mandis after Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s directed that harvesting and marketing of horticulture products be permitted in a controlled manner.

Besides setting up of barricades and closure of small gaps in compounds walls, separate areas have been designated for sale of tomato, peas and cauliflower, with onion and potato being sold at a different place.

The Mandis have been divided into sectors, with one person assigned one sector. Besides, rehris entering the market will get only one hour to make purchases, as per the systems put in place by the police. While the Mandis will open for sale at 5 am on Sunday and Monday, from Tuesday onwards they will commence sale at 8 am.

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