Increasing death ratio in Balochistan

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Editorial:

The death ratio in Quetta and some districts of Balochistan has increased to a dangerous extent since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Deaths of aged people in Pishin, Killa Abdullah, Jaffarabad, Mastung, Killa Saifullah districts of the province appear to be on a constant rise for last more than a month.

This situation has sent alarm bells among the people of the province battling the deadly virus. Most of the deaths are being reported from Balochistan’s Pishin and Killa Abdullah districts and the provincial capital, Quetta.

“Over 70 people have died within 15 days in two tehsils of district Pishin”, a senior administration official of the district who declined to be named told the daily Quetta Voice. The tehsils include Huramzai and Karezat of district Pishin. Since the people consider the COVID19 as a social stigma, therefore, people refuse to accept deaths caused by the coronavirus, he added. 

Chief Minister Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan had also directed the concerned commissioners and deputy commissioners to compile the data of people who died from October 2019 to May 2020. The government has also decided to ascertain the reasons behind the deaths of people who died during the last three months in the province.

From October 2019 to 20th of May 2020, around  50 percent rise in deaths have been recorded in district Pishin, the officer mentioned. Data shows that most of the people have died of heart attack, kidney failure, traffic accidents, and other diseases, the officer informed.

Yes, we have taken notice of the sudden rise in deaths of aged people”, Liaquat Shahwani, the  Spokesman government of Balochistan told the daily Quetta Voice. Unreported deaths have increased since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Mr. Shahwani said.

The government plans to increase the testing capacity then reasons behind all deaths would be confirmed, the Spokesman said.

The Balochistan Corona Cell has so far confirmed the death of 46 people by the deadly virus. However, independent sources put the number much higher than what is being quoted by the officials.

As per the 2017 census, Pishin and Killa Abdullah’s population is around 1.6 million. However, the underlying reason behind increasing cases of COVID19 in these districts is close and regular contact and interaction of its inhabitants in Quetta and Karachi.

Balochistan health department has conducted over 23,000 tests since the outbreak of the pandemic. The government has also announced to improve the testing capacity in view of rising cases of the novel coronavirus.

It is an admitted fact that most of the people in rural areas of the province do not follow social distancing and stay at home to contain the virus. Rather, they are still skeptical about the coronavirus that whether it is virus or conspiracy. The government needs to conduct a thorough investigation into recent deaths and the circumstances that led to the rise in deaths of people.

To be precise, testing capacity should also be improved to conduct maximum tests of coronavirus. Awareness among the people should also be created that it is pandemic rather than a social stigma. Only then, we can effectively battle the COVID19.

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