40,000 COVID-19 tests a day capacity soon: NDMA chief

ISLAMABAD: Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal Monday said that Pakistan would soon attain the capacity to conduct 40,000 tests for the coronavirus per day.
Talking to the media after receiving a consignment of 18 tonnes medical equipment from China arrived here through a special PIA flight, he said in the next few days the country’s laboratories would be able to conduct up to 40,000 COVID-19 tests daily.
He said the National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) has collaborated with the NDMA in procuring the medical equipment valuing $50 million from China. Today’s consignment included 15 x-ray machines, 159 ventilators, 200 thermal guns, 290,000 surgical masks, 15,000 protective gowns, 30,000 gloves 5,000 safety goggles and other personal protective equipment (PPE).
Three to four more flights carrying mostly PPE and ventilators would arrive soon, he added. The NDMA chairman thanked the NDRMF for sponsoring huge consignments of medical equipment.
NDRMF Chief Executive Officer Lt Gen (retired) Nadeem Ahmed said the Fund was procuring the PPE to ensure the safety of doctors and paramedics, who were on the front line in the fight against the coronavirus.
He said the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is funding around $105 million to the NDRMF for procuring more medical equipment, which would be provided to the federation and the provinces through the NDMA. The World Bank would also give $60 million to Pakistan for the purpose.
Nadeem Ahmad said the NDRMF would try to create earning opportunities for the people, whose businesses or employments had been affected due to the lockdown.
He said negotiations are nearing conclusion with the French Development Bank for $40 to 45 million to procure more medical equipment. – TLTP

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