Pakistan starts local production of ventilators

Prime Minister Imran Khan, center, inaugurates Pakistan's first facility to produce ventilators at the National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) in Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on July 6, 2020. (PID)
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Updated 07 July 2020

Pakistan starts local production of ventilators

  • First batch of SafeVent SP 100 ventilators delivered to National Disaster Management Authority
  • NRTC can manufacture between 250 and 300 units per month

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated Pakistan's first facility to produce ventilators in Haripur district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday.
The ventilators — SafeVent SP 100 — will be produced at the National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC), which according to a statement by the prime minister's office has a production capacity to manufacture between 250 and 300 units per month.

Calling it "a landmark achievement for Pakistan," the premier congratulated the entire team.
He said that amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the government is now focused on reforming the health sector.
"Our approach in response to the pandemic and adopting smart lockdowns while keeping the economy afloat has been widely acknowledged. Our focus will now remain on comprehensive health reforms," he added.
NRTC has already produced 15 units of SafeVent SP 100. 

The company is specialized in producing communications and electro-medical equipment.

The initiative to locally produce ventilators was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Science Minister Fawad Chaudhry confirmed in a Twitter post that the first batch of domestically produced ventilators has been handed over to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Ventilators can be lifesaving for critically ill COVID-19 patients who require artificial respiration.


Pakistan Medical Association, doctors fear coronavirus surge as lockdowns lifted nationwide

Updated 07 August 2020

Pakistan Medical Association, doctors fear coronavirus surge as lockdowns lifted nationwide

  • Islamabad’s PIMS hospital had less than 10 coronavirus patients before Eid Al-Adha but new patients coming in since
  • Pakistan announced on Thursday it was opening virtually all sectors closed down in March to stem the spread of COVID-19

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and infectious disease experts on Thursday warned of a possible surge in coronavirus cases due to a premature lifting of restrictions, as the government announced a day earlier that it was opening virtually all sectors closed down in March to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Pakistan shut schools and land borders nearly five months ago, decided to limit domestic and international flights and discouraged large gatherings to try to halt the spread of the coronavirus. But with infections and deaths down nearly 80 percent since their peak as per government records, the government decided on Thursday to lift the lockdowns to help the country return to normalcy.
Pakistan celebrated the Eid Al-Adha religious holiday last week. After the last major Islamic festival, of Eid Al-Fitr, in May, infections rose to their peak in Pakistan.
Dr. Nasim Akhtar, head of infectious diseases at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad, told Arab News the coronavirus ward at her hospital only had five to six patients before Eid, but new patients had once again started coming in.
“Cases registered a sharp increase after Eid Al-Fitr, and this can happen now again with the lifting of the lockdowns,” she said, adding that the government should have waited at least two more weeks to reopen restaurants and other public places.
“This is a bit early, and may worsen the situation again,” Akhtar said.
The World Health Organization has said “extreme vigilance” was needed as countries begin to exit from lockdowns, amid global concerns about a second wave of infections.
Germany earlier reported an acceleration in new coronavirus infections after it took early steps to ease its lockdown. South Korea, another country that had succeeded in limiting virus infections, saw a new outbreak.
“The next week is crucial to see if the infections soar as just one week has passed now since the Eid holidays,” Dr. Qaiser Sajjad, secretary-general of the Pakistan Medical Association, told Arab News.
Cases could also surge during the Islamic month of Muharram, which begins in late August, he said, and due to independence day celebrations on August 14. Huge crowds come out all over the world, including in Muslim-majority Pakistan, to commemorate the slaying of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).
“We think that the opening of all these things in a hurry ... probably this will create problems for us,” Sajjad said.
He said infections had risen sharply in the United States and Brazil after the nations lifted restrictions when cases initially declined. Spain reported 1,772 new coronavirus infections on Aug 6, marking the biggest jump since a national lockdown was lifted in June.
University of Health Sciences vice chancellor Javed Akram, however, called the reopening of public places a “wise decision.”
“The government cannot keep the cities and businesses under lockdown forever,” he said. “People should follow health guidelines to fight the virus.”