With the main opposition AAP announcing statewide protests against the decision to sell ‘donated’ plasma to private hospitals, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday said it would be provided free of cost to all the Covid patients who need it.
An official statement quoting Singh said he has directed authorities to strictly ensure Covid patients are not charged for plasma therapy and that nobody is allowed to buy or sell plasma.
The Chief Minister also appealed to the recovered patients to come forward to save the lives of others.
He urged the Deputy Commissioners and health department officials, during a Covid management virtual review meeting, to motivate such patients to donate plasma.
Currently, there are around 10,000 recovered virus patients in the state, he said, adding that his government’s priority was to save each and every life in Punjab.
Contrary to the Chief Minister, state AAP president Bhagwant Mann said the party would not allow the government to sell the donated’ plasma to private hospitals for Rs 20,000 per unit.
“We strongly oppose the open loot’ by the government allowing the sale of donated plasma at a price. We will hold peaceful and symbolic protests against this decision on Friday all across Punjab, strictly observing the essential safety corona stipulations,” Mann said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister asked the Health Department to expedite setting up of two new plasma banks at Amritsar and Faridkot towns to supplement the one already operational in Patiala.
He was informed by Minister O.P. Soni that the approvals for the new banks had already been received and tenders were being floated for procurement of equipment.
Expressing concern over the increasing number of cases in the state, Amarinder Singh also asked Health Minister Balbir Sidhu to send a viable proposal for earmarking 10 beds in all district hospitals for treatment and care of mild or minor cases of infection.