CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government will set up a plasma bank to facilitate plasma therapy treatment in the state.
The approval for the same was given by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, while chairing a review meeting here via video conferencing, of the COVID-19 situation in the state on Thursday.
He approved the establishment of the plasma bank under the supervision and guidance of Neelam Marwaha, former Head of Blood Bank and Transfusion Medicine.
The plasma bank would serve as a ready inventory source for seriously ill patients or those at risk of severe diseases, and thus will enable a wider range of adults to be treated with convalescent plasma.
Plasma therapy is already being carried out as an ICMR trial project in the state's government hospitals.
Fifteen patients have been selected for the trial, of whom eight were given plasma treatment. Five patients have recovered completely and shall be discharged soon, an official spokesperson said.
A total of 11 donors have donated plasma so far of the 300 recovered patients, the CM was informed in the meeting.
Meanwhile, the chief minister expressed concern over increasing violations of safety norms in the state, many of them by political parties.
He said he will write to the presidents of all registered political parties to seek their cooperation in checking large gatherings amid the pandemic.
Raising the same issue, Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said the police had registered cases against some of the political parties for violation of COVID-19 safety norms, and that his department was also planning to write to the political outfits not to indulge in such acts.
Notably, the Shiromani Akali Dal had on July 7 held a state-wide protest while several dissident Akalis organised a convention at Ludhiana.
With 11 Punjab Civil Services (PCS) and other senior officers, civil surgeon of Sangrur, judges among others, infected by the disease so far, the chief minister stressed on the need to raise the guard further.
Singh asked state Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan to issue standard operating procedures for government officers' meetings and visits to other offices, making it clear that the spread of infection among critical manpower due to casual attitude was not acceptable.
Underlining the need for stricter enforcement of the safety rules, he directed the DGP not go soft on challans against violators.
The chief minister was informed that as many as 4,882 challans were issued on Wednesday alone, mostly for not wearing safety masks.
DGP Gupta informed the meeting that in view of an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state, directions for sample testing in prisons had been issued.
Home Secretary Satish Chandra apprised the CM that the process of cancellation of FIRs registered against migrant workers for lockdown violation, as ruled by the Supreme Court, has begun in the state.
Sharing details of the rapid antigen testing set to start in the state for early detection and management of COVID-19 infections, Advisor (Health, Medical Education and Research) K K Talwar said Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Mohali and Patiala districts have been identified for the pilot.
Principal Secretary D K Tiwari, who also attended the meeting, said the state's mortality rate was currently 2.6 per cent as against the country's 2.8 per cent. He said 70.8 per cent of coronavirus patients in the state were asymptomatic, 14.7 per cent mild, 8.8 per cent moderate and 5.6 per cent severe.