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‘Relaxed curbs will mean 1.1m cases by July’

QUETTA: The Director General Health of Balochistan Dr Saleem Abro said, without implementing a strict lockdown, the total positive cases in Balochistan would reach 300,000 by the first week of July but if the situation isn’t controlled then the number would climb up to 1.1 million by the second week of July in Balochistan, urging the masses to avoid unnecessary traveling and movement in the cities during the prevailing pandemic.

He shared these views on Thursday while addressing a news conference with the President of Quetta Press Club, Raza ur Rehman in Quetta.

“Being a medical expert I am warning that if we continue our non-serious attitude against Covid-19 and keep violating lockdown guidelines then by December more than 9.5 million people in Balochistan would become active cases of Coronavirus,” Dr Abro said, adding that we can’t predict how many people would die or turn critical.

He further said, our doctors, nurses and young doctors have been performing their duties in Fatima Jinnah and Sheikh Zahed Hospitals.

“I am in contact with Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan since the outbreak and the health department received immediate funds in order to curb the contagious virus,” DG Health said, claiming all facilities including PPE kits, gloves, masks and hand sanitizers are available in all hospitals treating active patients.

Replying to a query regarding complaints of slow testing Dr Abro said, we have two PCR machines testing 700 to 800 samples on regular basis but NDMA pledged to impart five additional machines that would gear up rapid testing in Balochistan.

“Health department has established a 460-bed isolation ward in new established flats inside BMC Hospital. People here opting to quarantine themselves in their homes but they should do more in order to save their family members from being infected,” the DG Health said, adding that they have suggested for a 15 to 20 days curfew in Balochistan in order to control the speedy spread of the deadly virus.

Citing the critical condition of senior doctor Dr. Munaaf Tareen, the DG Health said, our doctors’ community have been fighting with coronavirus but now the general public should understand the sensitivity of this crisis by now.

He further urged religious and tribal elders to use their influence in persuading to implement the lockdown because the virus is more-dangerous for people above the age of 60 and people having other diseases.

“Balochistan has 1659 active Covid-19 cases while 23 deaths have occurred. Fortunately 10 infected doctors have recovered from it,” Dr Abro concluded.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2020


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