Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) Chairman Abrar ul Haq on Thursday announced a Cash Assistance Package for journalists, paramedics, orphans, widows, special persons, artists and daily wagers affected by coronavirus pandemic across country. Addressing a press conference along with PRCS Secretary General Khalid Bin Majeed here at a local hotel, Abrar ul Haq said that healthcare workers and journalists have been in the forefront of fight against Covid-19 and a number of those have even lost their lives in the line of duty. He said the coronavirus has affected all sectors of the economy and media industry is no exception to it. He said hundreds of journalists have been left unemployed amid this national crisis while scores are facing salary cuts and delays. Abrar ul Haq said keeping in view the challenges in the wake of pandemic, the PRCS has decided to launch a special programme to provide cash assistance and food package to journalists, healthcare workers, orphans, widows, special persons, artists and daily wagers affected by the coronavirus. He said under the programme, cash assistance to each family besides ration packs will be provided to those badly hit by the pandemic. Abrar ul Haq said since the outbreak of coronavirus in Pakistan in February this year, the PRCS has been sparing no effort to augment the government’s endeavors to contain the pandemic. He said a 120-bed Red Crescent Corona Care Hospital was established in Rawalpindi in a record period of 18 days, which is operational since April 2020 and hundreds of patients have been treated there. He said the three-floor hospital, equipped with 15 ventilators, oxygen support for 90 beds and other facilities, has been set up in accordance with the recommendations of the Chinese health experts. He said under the Corona Muhafiz Response Campaign, the Red Crescent Muhafiz Force has been mobilized to connect the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ in the fight against pandemic. During their door-to-door campaign in multiple cities across country, the Muhafiz volunteers made sure that no family is left hungry as they motivated the affluent families to share food with their deserving neighbors. He said this initiative of the PRCS was acknowledged even at the international level. Speaking on the occasion, Secretary General Khalid bin Majeed said in order to boost the testing capacity for Covid-19, the PRCS in collaboration with the Indus Hospital has opened a walk-in sample collection centre in Karachi, where people with symptoms can get themselves tested free of cost. He said the PRCS Virtual Call Center (Helpline 1030) at the NHQ is providing awareness to public on preventive measures against the pandemic. The Covid-19 AAGAHI Call Center established at Karachi PHQ is operational 24/7 and providing guidance to the communities. A PRCS Tele Medicine Center is also operational in the Merged Areas. He said around 165,859 PPEs have been distributed among hospitals and frontline workers in 130 districts of the country so far. He said field assessments have been initiated in different cities across country for identification of vulnerable families who will be provided with a cash assistance. He said the PRCS blood collection labs have collected over 3,100 blood bags for thalassemia patients in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Muzaffarabad. Moreover, the PRCS Muhafiz Force has conducted 1,250 awareness sessions and distributed 9,600 informatory brochures across country to sensitize people about the disease. He said the PRCS plans to reach out to 200,000 vulnerable families in the next six months. He said 100,000 more PPEs will be distributed among frontline healthcare workers and government hospitals. He said the ongoing campaign to raise awareness among people about coronavirus and safety guidelines will continue with full force. He also sought media’s cooperation in achieving the mission of saving lives and serving the destitute. On this occasion, hygiene kits were also distributed among the media personnel.