As the new coronavirus — COVID-19 — continues to spread in Punjab, Young Doctors’ Association (YDA) has accused the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government of providing free test kits to Shaukat Khanum Hospital but not public sector hospitals.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore, YDA office demanded safety kits for the entire staff of hospitals dealing with suspected coronavirus patients, including doctors, nurses and paramedics, and termed the arrangements made by the government as insufficient.

They said that the safety kits provided to the doctors in hospitals were not according to the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) and they were working under highly vulnerable circumstances. “The N95 masks are not available in the hospitals despite the fact that the staff treating [COVID-19] patients used the same mask in all hospitals worldwide,” the doctors said.


President of YDA Punjab Dr Salman Haseeb Chaudhry said that the isolation wards should be established outside the hospitals according to the guidelines of the WHO. “The isolation wards inside the hospitals are high risk,” he said, adding that there was an urgent need of 4,500 ventilators in hospitals to deal with the pandemic but unfortunately Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid had “failed miserably to deal with it”.

He also accused the government of providing free test kits to Shaukat Khanum Hospital.


“But public sector hospitals are unable to get the same by the government.”

According to Dr Salman, all doctors, nurses and paramedics were working in very vulnerable circumstances without proper safety kits and Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan would be responsible if any unfortunate incident took place.

Meanwhile, The Express Tribune quoted an official of Shaukat Khanum Hospital as saying that around two dozen citizens approached the hospital for free coronavirus test, of whom the hospital management has conducted tests of eight or nine individuals who had recent travel history, while the remaining citizens were sent back after prescribing medicines.

He said that the hospital had a limited number of coronavirus test kits that cannot be used for every citizen who has doubt of the infection. Responding to a question, he indicated that the government has notified coronavirus test rate of Rs7,900 but it is being conducted free of cost.

A representative of a laboratory disclosed that it also has a coronavirus test facility against payment of Rs7,900 as notified by the government. However, several citizens complained that some private hospitals were charging over Rs9,000 for the same test.

It is pertinent to note that that government has notified 14 laboratories for coronavirus tests, one of which is Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital, Lahore.