Picture is for illustration.
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
Under the new standards operating procedures (SOPs), Pakistan returning from abroad opting to be quarantined in hotels will pay for all the expenses while those unable to afford will be shifted to any government facility such as the centre set up at Haji camp in Islamabad.
Millions of rupees have been spent by the government on transportation, lodging and provision of food to Pakistanis who came back since the outbreak of the coronavirus and are being kept at quarantine centres in the federal capital.
So far, the hotels where quarantine centres have been set up are providing accommodation and food to the inmates and their bills would be paid by the government.
Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Hamza Shafqaat said that an amount of Rs5,000 per passenger was spent on transportation, food and rent of the hotel. So far, 2,000 Pakistanis stranded abroad have been brought back.
At present, Rs10 million are required per day to bear the expenses of the people retuned from abroad and being kept at quarantine centres.
Earlier, the passengers were kept on observation for two days but as per the new SOPs they are being quarantined for a week, he added.
Shafqaat said 30,000 more passengers were expected to come from different countries and a flight taking 250 people from a Gulf country was scheduled to arrive on April 18.
He said the capital administration arranged transport, hotels and food at subsidised rate for the returning people.
Under the new SOPs, all positive passengers will be retained at quarantine facility for 14 days until the results of their two consecutive tests separated by a gap of 24 hour come out as negative.
The capital administration prepared the SOPs after consultations with health experts for the international passengers which was approved by the National Command and Operation Centre, he stated.
As per the SOPs, the capital administration started screening all international passengers in collaboration with the Central Health Establishment, District Health Department Islamabad and National Instituted of Health.
Officers of the administration, health department and other establishments were deputed to coordinate shifting of all international passengers from the airport to hotels/quarantine centres and up to their home districts.
The administration will nominate an assistant commissioner to supervise the activity and arrange vehicles and hotels on subsidised rates. Passengers will pay travelling charges and room rent during their stay in hotels, including meal.
Law enforcement agencies would be deployed outside the premises of quarantine facilities (hotels/quarantine centres/paid facilities).
The administration will provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to the staff of hotels/quarantine centeres/paid facilities, Rapid Response Teams and other law enforcement agencies.
The airport health department will be responsible for screening all the passengers with thermal guns (thermal screening) and if needed with thermometers. All frontline staff will be equipped with PPE and standard equipment for safe and smooth screening of passengers.
They will also keep record of all passengers and share the same with health authorities and other concerned offices. Any passenger with symptoms of fever, cough or sneezing will be shifted to Pims without his coming into contact with other passengers.
Passengers will be shifted to quarantine centres under the supervision of the nominated assistant commissioner and a vehicle will be provided by the capital administration. All transportation staff will take necessary measures including PPE and maintenance of safe distance during transportation and disinfect the vehicle after transportation.
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