Balochistan needs comprehensive strategy to tackle coronavirus


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The cases of novel coronavirus continue to rise in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan. Up till now, Covid-19 cases have been reported from 17 districts of the province. However, Quetta, Pishin, Killa Abdullah, and Jaffarabad have been hit hard by the virus that penetrates the population.

Cases have been reported from almost all parts of Quetta city with most of the patients aging between 20 to 49 years as per the health department’s statistics. This data shows, the youngsters violating the social-distancing and failing to adopt precautionary measures to battle the coronavirus.

Increasing cases of coronavirus prompted Chief Minister Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan to make an appeal to the young segment of society to stay at home and adopt social distancing. Though, crowds of youth at hotels, footpaths prove that such appeals falling on deaf ears.

The Balochistan health department has conducted around 14,000 tests of Covid-19 up till now. Out of them, around 2,000 have been declared positive by the laboratory. The mortality rate appears to be much higher than 1.5 percent of what is being quoted by the Balochistan government as various parts of the province have seen sharp rise in the number of aged people recently.

Covid-19: Sharp rise in deaths of aged people in Balochistan

With meager resources and existing flaws in the system, the health department government of Balochistan has not been able to conduct proper testings in the province. The government had announced to conduct 50,000 tests in the province to make sure that every individual is tested and screened. Moreover, the testing is yet to get any momentum hitherto.

Despite requests and appeals by the health professionals, the Balochistan government has decided to ease the lockdown keeping in view the problems of masses, daily wage workers, and traders community. The health professionals warned of dire consequences in the aftermath of what the government calls a smart lockdown, the terminology used by the federal government.

The Director-General Balochistan Health Department, Dr. Saleem Abro the other day warned that the number of patients would be in millions if strict lockdown was not imposed. There has been no contradiction of the DG’s press conference that sent alarm bells across the province by any official.

Testing service needs to be improved and all-out efforts should be made to conduct maximum tests in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan. The government had announced to establish four laboratories at Khuzdar, Zhob, Turbat to check maximum patients. The Balochistan government must translate its announcement into action since coronavirus appears to stay here for a long time.

Despite commitment of all institutions and instruments, the poliovirus cannot be eradicated for the last more than three decades. So this coronavirus likely to stay here for a long time. The government needs to pump maximum resources and expedite the recruitment of around 1400 doctors to improve health facilities and tackle the situation developed in the aftermath of Covid-19 in the province. The federal government needs to be approached and requested to support the provincial government in its battle against the coronavirus.

Testing at the laboratory needs to be improved. People should not be compelled to wait for weeks and days to get their results rather laboratory system needs to be streamlined to make sure the provision of timely reports of tests to the patients so that they could not psychologically suffer.

To be precise, there should be a long-term, short term and mid-term strategies to tackle the pandemic.





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