Quetta is the epicentre of coronavirus epidemic in the province
The coronavirus-positive cases have exceeded 150 in Balochistan. Nearly 10 percent of them have no foreign travel history. This indicates the escalation of the crisis in Balochistan. The government claims to have set up 1,753 isolation rooms for confirmed patients and to have space for 8,054 patients in quarantine. However, some of the policy decisions to deal with this crisis remain unimplemented.
Quetta is the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic in the province. It is host to a majority of the patients, as well as those who may have contracted the virus and are in quarantine. The government has not been able to provide basic protective kits to doctors working in the isolation wards. The Young Doctors’ Association (YDA) has protested against the unsafe environment due to a lack of protective kits. Government officials maintain that they have procured protective kits from China and now are waiting for their arrival.
The crisis has been around for more than a month and yet, the provincial government has not been able to increase its testing capability. Currently, there are two PCR-testing machines that can test samples in Fatima Jinnah Hospital in Quetta. On March 24, no new case of coronavirus was reported in the province. Later it was revealed by Health Department officials that the two machines were given rest that day and no tests were conducted. There are no testing machines outside Quetta and people from all over the province need to be brought there for testing.
The government of Balochistan ordered the police to present a guard of honour to doctors and paramedical staff and so, a guard of honour was presented on March 28. Later the same evening, it was reported that paramedical staff returning home were thrashed by the Eagle Squad of the police near Gahi Khan Chowk in Quetta.
The Balochistan government has constituted five Covid-19 cells. These cells are not only duplicating work but are also spreading confusion about the intensity of the pandemic in the province. According to an official of the Health Department, the haphazard manner in which these cells are operating has resulted in leaking of personal data of some of the coronavirus patients on social media.