QUETTA: The provincial apex committee, at a meeting on Wednesday, reviewed preventive measures taken by the Balochistan government to contain coronavirus outbreak and decided to intensify efforts to strictly enforce lockdown.
The apex committee decided to strictly restrict movement of the residents of Hazara Town and Marriabad areas and conduct test for the virus on a massive level in the area as a large number of the area people have recently returned from Iran. They have been allowed to go home after remaining in quarantine for 14 days and testing negative for the virus.
The meeting was jointly presided over by Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan and Commander of Southern Command Lt Gen Waseem Ashraf and attended by provincial Home Minister Mir Ziaullah Langove, the GOC of 41 Division, inspector general of Frontier Constabulary (North), additional chief secretary home, IG police, health secretary and medical experts.
The meeting discussed a long-term strategy to deal with the situation arising out of lockdown.
Chief Secretary of Balochistan Fazeel Asghar briefed the meeting about preventive measures against coronavirus, facilities for pilgrims in Taftan and improvement in the quarantine and isolation centres in Quetta, Chaman and Taftan.
He said that up to 150 tests were being conducted in Taftan through a mobile testing laboratory on daily basis and an agreement had been signed with the Microbiological Association, which would provide the facility to conduct 2,150 tests on daily basis.
A disaster management village was being established on 50 acres of land while isolation wards were being set up in Taftan, Sibi, Chaman and Naseerabad, the official said.
The meeting also discussed issues related to lockdown, daily wagers and inter-provincial traffic.
It resolved that provision of personal protective gear to doctors and paramedical staff, who were at the frontline in the fight against the virus, would be ensured.
It was decided that inmates would be tested for the virus in the prisons across the province.
The meeting decided to establish a food security task force to ensure continued availability of food items across the province with the cooperation of Pasco and grain merchants.
It decided that the provincial government would procure 150,000 bags of wheat and discourage increase in prices of food items.
Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2020