The Punjab government is in the process of identifying and earmarking big institutions, many of these in the education sector, both in public and private sectors to cater to a possible emergency situation amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
A top Punjab government functionary told The Indian Express on Tuesday that it was mulling roping in “big educational institutes like Lovely Professional University, Chandigarh University, Amritsar College of Engineering, Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology and others” if there is a massive rush of coronavirus patients in the state.
The government on Tuesday issued an order directing “all departments of the Government of Punjab or any other body or authority in the state, whether public or private, or person in charge of any relevant human resources or personnel to make available the resources and personnel to the department of medical education & research, and the department of health and family welfare as directed by them (the two departments) for the purpose of emergency response to COVID-19 epidemic.”
The order was issued by Punjab Chief Secretary-cum-State Disaster Management Authority, Punjab, Chairman Karan Avtar Singh.
The government functionary told that the idea was to use big facilities to cater to any likely rush as such facilities are already equipped with thousands of rooms and beds, apart from basic amenities like bathrooms and others.
“In case there is huge rush of coronavirus positive patients, the health facilities and their staff would not suffice as they would be busy catering to patients in their facilities. Under these circumstances, the institutions being identified finalised would be mandated to provide their staff to cater to patients’ needs like providing them food and making other arrangements for them,” said the functionary.
The order by the Chief Secretary on Tuesday while pointing out the “emergent nature and potential magnitude of the COVID-19”, also read that there was “an urgent need to ensure that all the state government hospitals, COVID-19 care centres and medical colleges to be well-equipped in terms of personnel i.e. doctors, para-medical staff, technicians etc”.
The order, The Indian Express has learnt, directed Punjab’s Department of Medical Education & Research and the Department of Health and Family Welfare to “ensure availability of adequate personnel in their hospitals and colleges” and further authorised these departments to “issue directions to any department of the government or any other authority or body in the State, whether public or private, for deputing and placing their staff as required at the disposal of these two departments”.
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