A patient at a government run hospital in Quetta

QV Analysis : 

Cases of novel coronavirus continue to increase in Balochistan, despite continued lockdown and an ongoing campaign for social-distancing. The province has seen a sharp rise in the number of cases during the last two days since the global outbreak of novel coronavirus. Within two days more than 50 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Quetta and Jaffarabad.

Increasing cases prompted the chief minister Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan to request the people to stay at home and adopt social-distancing to halt the spread of novel coronavirus through his Twitter account. However, practically, such requests almost fall on dear ears. Bitter fact, most of the people in Balochistan do not realize the sensitivity of this pandemic and consider it a disease of specific countries and areas.

In Quetta, the authorities have confirmed 106 cases recently. Cases were locally transmitted. Patients have been tested positive in almost all areas of Quetta city. From posh areas to marginalized and poor neighborhoods of the city. This is dangerous. Social-distancing and creating awareness among the people can help in coping with the situation.

Up till now, 291 cases of novel coronavirus have been confirmed in the province. The cases continue to increase with every passing day. According to official statistics, so far around 4000  tests of patients have been conducted. The daily average of tests is recorded around 180. If the testings kits are provided and laboratories installed in Zhob, Turbat, Khuzdar as decided by the Balochistan government, the number can increase to a dangerous level. Then, it would be difficult for government to provide health facilities to all the patients infected with coronavirus, if the number goes, heaven-forbid, in thousands.

The government has extended the lockdown till April 30th in an attempt to contain the virus. However, people are still on roads ignoring the calls and requests of authorities to stay at home. The situation is worst in rural Balochistan when it comes to social distancing. Crowds of people playing sports and sitting in one place can be seen in villages of the province. Fortunately, up till now, no case has been reported from the villages of Balochistan. If the virus penetrated in villages, then, it would be very difficult to control the situation. Chief Minister, Jam Kamal led government needs to take all stakeholders including political, religious leaders and members of civil society and tribal on board regarding social-distancing and creating awareness among the people. Government alone can not do anything rather masses support in this regard is crucial and political and religious forces can play an important role. No cure, no vaccine, across the globe regarding coronavirus so far. Taking precautionary measures are the only solution to battle the virus.

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About the Author

Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.