PESHAWAR: In a major step to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to set up an emergency hospital for COVID-19 patients.

According to an official statement, the 500-bed proposed hospital will be established with the support of the federal government in Dauranpur, Peshawar, for which the required 79 kanal land is available with the provincial Health Department.

As proposed, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will provide land and purchase medical equipment for the hospital, whereas the federal government will construct the hospital building through the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mehmood Khan has signed a summary of the Health Department moved to this effect.

In a statement, the chief minister termed the establishment of the hospital as a dire need in the prevailing situation and said that the hospital would reduce burden of patients on the existing hospitals. He said the new hospital will cater for the needs of any such emergencies in the future as well.

Major public sector hospitals in KP are already providing treatment to coronavirus patients and Police Services Hospital in Peshawar is completely dedicated for coronavirus cases. The Police Services Hospital is providing full facility of testing and treatment for coronavirus patients and so far many patients have recovered there. The establishment of separate health facility for coronavirus patients was inevitable as it will make sure that only coronavirus patients come to it. In other public sector hospitals, although separate wards have been established for coronavirus patients, but other departments had to be closed over the fear of spread of the infection.

Many hospitals in KP have closed their out-patient departments (OPDs) over the fears of spread of coronavirus. That situation has caused problems for patients of other diseases visiting these hospitals.

Coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Pakistan particularly in KP which has reported highest deaths in the country. And in KP, Peshawar is the most affected district which has reported over two-thirds of the total deaths in the province. That is why the need of setting up a separate health facility for coronavirus patients in the metropolis was felt.