Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu has written to Union Health Minister Dr Harshavardhan about the coronavirus situation in the state, expressing concern over the fact that over 90,000 NRIs had come to the state in the past month itself.
The COVID-19 novel coronavirus has infected 519 people across India and has claimed 10 lives so far. Last night PM Modi announced a nation-wide lockdown in India over the coronavirus pandemic. The state of Punjab has a huge base of Non-Resident Indians. However, Punjab became the first state to impose curfew as the coronavirus positive cases reached 23 in the state.
The health minister of Punjab Balbir Singh Sidhu alerted Dr Harshavardhan and informed that many of the NRIs do have the symptoms of COVID-19. Sidhu also demanded immediate assistance of Rs 150 crores from the central government.
Sidhu wrote in his letter to Union Minister, “To meet the urgent demands and rise to the occasion to defeat the disease, Punjab requires additional funds of minimum Rs 150 crore from the government of India. This is of utmost importance and as promised by the government of India, this amount is released at the earliest to strengthen the state medicals services.”
The state of Punjab also noted the first casualty recently when an elderly man who had recently returned from Germany through Italy, succumbed to the disease, leaving a trail of 15 other cases.
Sidhu has said in his letter, “We are setting up ICUs (intensive care units), isolation wards, etc. We require more extra manpower, specialists, intensivists, anaesthetists, pulmonologists, doctors and nurses. We also require medicines, logistics, ventilators, and many other items.”