Under the smart lockdown strategy by Imran Khan, Punjab, KPK, Sindh and Baluchistan are observing partial lockdown. However, smart lockdown strategy requires increased testing and Punjab has been leading in increasing its testing capacities. Last week CM Punjab Usman Buzdar proclaimed that Punjab’s testing capacity will rise to 20,000 tests per day by end of April. In an announcement today, Health department Punjab announced that Punjab is starting random testing by ‘smart sampling’ in general population to analyze prevalence of Covid-19 in the province.
Testing reduced in Punjab due to technical issues
The opening of several industries under the provincial government SOPs has led to increased population on roads which has raised the risk of local transfer of covid-19 virus among masses. Punjab with largest population has been conducting maximum number of tests since the beginning. However, since past few days due to technical issues and considerably large number of detected and recovered pilgrims in province, the tests conducted in Punjab were lower. This raised several concerns among opposition as well as media regarding inefficiency of Punjab government.
However, Punjab government clarified the issue today by initiating a province wide large scale testing. The government has been continuously opening new testing facilities across the province as testing capacity has increased.
As religious pilgrims recover, Punjab focuses on ‘Smart sampling’
CM Usman Buzdar in a press conference stated that focus of local government has been in resolving cases from religious pilgrims of Iran and Jamaat. Most of the testing done in Punjab was of pilgrims and now as majority have recovered and back to homes, government is all set to curb the local transfer of Covid-19.
The Punjab Health department has been given around Rs. 14 billion to deal with the pandemic. The CM also emphasized that now health department of Punjab has reduced burden of larger positive groups and thus, random testing of Punjab residents will start from tomorrow.
Already a drive-thru testing facility has been initiated in DHA Lahore under private setup of Chughtai Lab. Similar mobile testing labs will be started across the province to conduct tests and analyze local transmission of covid-19.