Capt Amarinder Singh gives go-ahead for plasma bank, asks chief secy to issue SOPs for govt meetings

During a presentation on the Covid situation through video-conferencing, the chief minister approved the establishment of the plasma bank under the supervision and guidance of Dr Neelam Marwaha, former head of Blood Bank and Transfusion Medicine.




APPREHENDING A spike in cases in the coming days, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Thursday gave the go-ahead for setting up of a plasma bank to provide plasma therapy treatment for Covid-19 patients.

Plasma therapy is already being carried out as an ICMR trial project in state government hospitals.

During a presentation on the Covid situation through video-conferencing, the chief minister approved the establishment of the plasma bank under the supervision and guidance of Dr Neelam Marwaha, former head of Blood Bank and Transfusion Medicine, who is already involved in, and guiding, the plasma therapy trials. The plasma bank will serve as a ready inventory source for seriously ill patients or those at risk of severe disease, and thus will enable a wider range of adults to be treated with convalescent plasma.

Fifteen patients have been recruited for the trial, of which eight were given plasma and the remaining seven were placed in control arm as per randomisation by ICMR. Five patients have recovered completely and will be discharged soon. Eleven of 300 recovered patients have donated plasma so far, those who attended the meeting were told.

SOPs for govt meetings

With 11 PCS and other senior officers, including CMO Sangrur, judges etc, having been infected, the chief minister stressed on the need to raise the guard even further. Office staff, in particular, need to be very careful, he stressed. He asked Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan to issue SOPs for government officers’ meetings, visits to other offices etc, making it clear that spread of infection among critical manpower due to casual attitude was not acceptable.

Underlining the need for stricter enforcement of safety rules, the chief minister directed DGP Dinkar Gupta not to go soft on challans against violators. As many as 4,882 challans were issued on Wednesday alone, mostly for not wearing masks. Amarinder said his government had decided, under Mission Fateh, to distribute 15 lakh masks among the poor, of which 1 lakh were currently being given out while orders had been placed for the remaining. The DGP said that in view of the increase in number of cases, directions for sample testing in prisons had been issued.

Gupta further said that the e-registration process that started from midnight on Monday for in-bound travelers had already seen 31,959 registrations, of which 4,277 were from the hotspots (mainly Delhi).

Home Secretary Satish Chandra told the CM that the process of cancellation of FIRs registered against migrant workers for lockdown violation, as ruled by the Supreme Court, had begun in the state. The DCs and SSPs had been directed accordingly, he said.

Rapid antigen testing to start in 4 districts

Earlier, sharing details of the Rapid Antigen Testing set to start in the state for early detection and management of Covid-19, Advisor (Health, Medical Education & Research) Dr K K Talwar said Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Mohali and Patiala districts had been identified for the pilot. The test has a quick turnaround time of 30 minutes for results. On finalisation of rates for private hospitals, he said two rounds of meetings had already been held with the hospitals and another was scheduled for Monday, after which the rates can be fixed.

He further noted that even though the numbers and mortality figures for the state were lower than the national average and of many other states, the spread was worrying, with community spread also being noted in certain areas of containment/micro-containment. Pointing to increased testing in the state, Dr Talwar said “15 Truenat machines are operational at district hospitals (Barnala, Bathinda, Fazilka, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Pathankot, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Mansa, Moga, Sangrur, Muktsar, SBS Nagar, Ludhiana and Rupnagar). Order has been placed for another 15 such machines, which have a testing time of only 60 minutes.”

Principal Secretary D K Tiwari in his presentation said the state’s mortality rate was currently 2.6 per cent as against India’s 2.8 per cent, and that 70.8 per cent of the Covid patients were asymptomatic, 14.7 per cent had mild, 8.8 per cent had moderate and 5.6 per cent had severe infections.

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