LAHORE - Punjab government has decided that all schools and colleges in public and private sector in Lahore will remain closed for 10 days for completing spray and other arrangements against dengue virus. The educational institutions will undertake spray and necessary measures during this period while monitoring teams will supervise the process. This was stated by Punjab Chief Minister Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif while presiding over a meeting to review measures against dengue virus here on Tuesday. Members National and provincial assemblies, chairmen town committees, secretaries of different departments, commissioner and district coordination officer Lahore and experts were present. Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said that all possible steps are being taken to control dengue virus and besides posting additional staff in hospitals for the benefit of dengue patients, machinery has also been provided. He said that in order to protect the students from dengue virus, all schools in public and private sector in Lahore will remain closed for 10 days. 'All segments of society have been included in the ongoing drive against dengue virus and a vigorous campaign has also been launched for promoting public awareness regarding preventive measures against dengue, he added. Issuing instructions for allocating all administrative offices of hospitals of Lahore for dengue patients, he directed that these instructions be implemented immediately. He further directed that a plan be evolved to drop pamphlets bearing preventive measures against dengue in the worst affected districts by aeroplanes. Shahbaz directed that immediate steps be taken for importing machines from Germany and medicines from India, in accordance with the standard of World Health Organisation and a special team be sent to India for this purpose. He said that in the light of the negotiations between Punjab government and the owners of private hospitals, provision of free medical facilities for dengue patients in these hospitals be ensured and private hospitals should discharge their responsibilities in this regard. Town committees should monitor provision of free medical facilities for dengue patients in private hospitals on regular basis, he added. He said the hospitals of Punjab Employees Social Security Institution should also been included in the campaign against dengue virus. Shahbaz further said that machinery is available in the PESSI hospital in Raiwind, therefore, the hospital should be allocated for providing treatment facilities to dengue patients. Special committee comprising Assembly members should negotiate for providing diagnostic facilities to dengue patients in private laboratories at reasonable charges while stern action be taken against the elements involved in the price-hike of mosquito repellants, he stated. He said that those playing with the lives of innocent people deserve no leniency. Shahbaz said that those playing an active role in controlling dengue virus should be commended while the elements indulging in profiteering or showing negligence be held accountable. He said that setting up of 10 collection centres with the collaboration between Chughtai Lab and Punjab government is a welcome step and will result in the availability of free diagnostic facilities for the patients of dengue virus. He said that the power to conduct spray in the houses against dengue virus has been transferred to town committees and now it is their responsibility to ensure spray in the houses. He said that the helpline set up for the benefit of dengue patients is yielding positive results and 10,000 calls have so far been received at the helpline. He said that 3500 persons were provided guidance through the helpline on Monday. Drive against dengue virus is being promoted as a movement and participation of all segments of the society including boy and girl students in the campaign has been ensured, he said. The CM directed that boy and girl students of medical colleges should also be included in the campaign for helping dengue patients and other people. He said that the team of Sri Lankan experts will reach on Wednesday (today) to provide technical assistance to Punjab government. Issuing instructions for the immediate suspension of Medical Superintendent Benazir Hospital Rawalpindi, he said that doctors and paramedical staff serving the ailing humanity will be commended while those showing negligence in providing proper facilities to patients will not be spared. Earlier, Secretary Health Jehanzeb Khan while giving briefing regarding ongoing campaign against dengue virus informed that 4044 dengue patients have been reported in Punjab so far and most of them belong to Lahore. He said that additional machinery and staff have been provided in hospitals and due to better arrangements, the patients are not facing any problem. Secretary Schools Aslam Kamboh informed that 100 machines have been purchased for spray in schools and necessary arrangements for this purpose have been completed. Commissioner Lahore informed about the arrangements for spray in the provincial metropolis and availability of medical facilities in hospitals. Meanwhile, All Private Schools Association has opposed the Punjab governments decision to close the schools. It may be mentioned here that the universities will remain open as usual. According to a Press release issued by Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) Lahore, the university will remain open and there will be no vacations and the administrative and academic offices of the institution will remain functional as per routine. Agencies add: In Faisalabad, the number of dengue cases has increased up to 163 with 12 new cases. Ten patients were admitted to Allied Hospital and two to the District Headquarters Hospital on Tuesday. According to data, the dengue epidemic is increasing in Faisalabad with an alarming rate despite lofty claims of the health department that it had made elaborate arrangements to save people from the virus. Four cases of the disease were unearthed in Azad Kashmir. Three of which were in Neelum Valley and one in Kotli, the sources said. They said that doctors are providing proper treatment to the patients of dengue. Health Department has taken precautionary measures to prevent spreading of dengue fever. Our staff reporter from Karachi adds: Provincial Dengue Surveillance Cell of Sindh Health Department has declared that during the last 48 hours as many as seven new patients with dengue have been reported in the provincial metropolis. As per Dengue Surveillance Cell report, since January 1 to September 12 as many as 185 patients suspected of having dengue fever had been reported in the city, out of them 151 cases were reported to be hospitalised while 34 reported through OPD. As many as 176 out of 185 were found positive after lab analysis, while one death had also been reported in the city. In other parts of the province, during the aforesaid period only 26 patients suspected of carrying dengue fever were reported. Out of these only one case was reported in OPD while 25 patients were hospitalised in various hospitals of the interior Sindh. However, all 26 cases were found positive in the lab findings. Overall 211 patients suspected of carrying dengue had been reported during the aforesaid period out of which 202 cases found positive.