Balochistan officials admit possibility of unrecorded coronavirus deaths in province

July 22, 2020

Balochistan is the only province in Pakistan that also lists down 'probable' fatalities from coronavirus separately in daily situation reports

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Government figures indicate 135 people have died in Balochistan after contracting coronavirus, while another 11,469 are infected, as of July 22. AFP/Aamir Qureshi/Files

In Balochistan, confusion persists over the number of overall deaths from the novel coronavirus as health officials say the toll could be much higher than that officially recorded.

According to government figures, 135 people have died in Balochistan after contracting the deadly virus, while another 11,469 are infected, as of July 22.

However, this number is mostly gathered from only four hospitals in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, health experts in the province revealed. The hospitals are Sheikh Zayed Hospital, the Bolan Medical Complex Hospital, Civil Hospital, and the Fatima Jinnah Hospital.

"As per our internal tally, 225 people have succumbed to the deadly infection in all 33 districts of the province," Dr Wasim Baig, the spokesperson for the directorate of director-general health, told Geo.tv. His data also includes 90 "probable deaths" from the disease.

Balochistan is the only province in Pakistan that also lists down "probable" fatalities from the coronavirus separately in its official daily situation reports.

Officials told Geo.tv on the condition of anonymity that they mostly receive mortality data from only four hospitals in Quetta.

Collecting information about coronavirus deaths at home and hospitals in areas of the other 32 districts was challenging due to a lack of communication and distances in Pakistan’s poorest and most underdeveloped province.

Since July 7, the official death toll from 32 districts of the province has remained stagnant at 94. This could mean, health experts added, that the actual number of those killed by the illness could be much higher than the official tally.

"There is no way to gather reliable data about how many people have been infected or how many died from the virus across Balochistan," a senior doctor told Geo.tv, on the condition of anonymity.



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