Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday ordered an increase in number of Covid tests to at least 60,000 per day.

His statement comes amid projections that cases will double in about 64 days at the current growth rate.

At present, the Covid tests are in the range of 45,000 to 49,000 per day.

Reviewing the state’s preparation for an imminent third wave, Singh directed the health department to undertake priority sentinel testing for patients at government and private hospitals, travellers at entry points, government offices, industries and labour colonies etc.

Based on this, districts should formulate strategies for micro-containment zones, he said in a statement.

Also, the CM virtually inaugurated a Children’s Covid ward as well as PSA (Pressure swing adsorption) oxygen plants in Ludhiana and Faridkot.

The Covid paediatric ward at Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, has five Paediatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs) and eight multisystem inflammatory syndromes in Children (MISC) beds.

He announced that the government would be augmenting the PICU and level 2 paediatric beds capacity in all 23 districts and four government medical colleges and hospitals to 1,104 paediatric beds.

He said a total of 76 PSA are being installed in the state, with 48,832 litres per minute oxygen generation capacity.

With installation of these plants, the state’s dependency on oxygen supply from outside Punjab will substantially reduce, he said, adding that preparations were on to augment the oxygen capacity to 560 metric tonne.

This includes 50 MT oxygen for non-COVID emergency situations, he added.

At the peak of the second wave, Punjab was utilising 308 MT oxygen.

The CM also asked the concerned departments to speed up augmentation of the health infrastructure and medical supplies to deal with the third wave of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the CM also asked the health department to gear up for full utilisation of the additional vaccine supply, of which he had been personally assured by the Union Health Minister.

The state had been assured of 25 per cent increase in vaccine supplies.

He said more than half of the eligible population of the state had already received one dose of vaccine, with the entire available stock being used without any wastage.

Incidentally, the first dose of Covid vaccine has been administered to around 82 lakh people (40 per cent of state’s eligible population) and second dose to nearly 24 lakh people (11 per cent of eligible beneficiaries), which, said the CM, has the capacity to vaccinate eight lakh people per day.

As per a study to monitor COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness, conducted by Dr. Rajesh Kumar, former head of School of Public Health, PGI, it has been found that vaccine has been effective in reducing positivity by 95 per cent, hospitalisation by 96 per cent and deaths by 98 per cent, the meeting was informed.


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