Fearing a surge in coronavirus cases after the arrival of a large number of NRIs from abroad, the Punjab government on Tuesday sought an assistance of Rs 150 crore from the Centre to combat the outbreak of the infection.
As the virus is being mainly transmitted by people returning from abroad, Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu pointed out in his letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan that the state has the maximum number of non-resident Indians (NRIs) and 90,000 of them have already arrived.
"Many of them have symptoms of COVID-19 and are further spreading the disease through their contact/transmission," Sidhu wrote, stressing that the number of patients is "going to increase alarmingly".
Punjab has so far seen 23 coronavirus cases.
"To contain this dreadful disease, Punjab has made stringent plans up to the grassroots level. We are setting up ICUs, isolation wards etc. We require extra manpower, specialists, intensivists, anesthetists, pulmonologists, doctors and nurses. We also require medicines, logistics, ventilators and many other items," the minister wrote.
"To meet these urgent demands and rise to the occasion to defeat this disease, Punjab state requires additional funds of minimum Rs 150 crore from the Government of India. This is of utmost importance and as promised by the GOI, this amount be released at the earliest to strengthen the state medical services, Sidhu said.