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0.4m lose jobs in Balochistan as poverty rises to 68%

QUETTA: Talking about the impact of coronavirus on the provincial economy during the lockdown, Balochistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani on Thursday said that the poverty rate in the province has increased from 40 to 68 per cent whereas 400,000 workers also lost their jobs.

While speaking to the media in Quetta, he said the number of corona cases in Balochistan is steadily increasing.

“The average number of corona cases per week is 1,600 to 1,700. At present, more than 1,200 corona tests are being conducted daily in five laboratories across the province,” Shahwani said. “All the tests are being done at the official level. The imported cases are 2% and the local transmission rate is 98%. People from all walks of life have been affected by corona. So far, 287 doctors have been infected with corona and five have been martyred. Two hundred government officials, 111 police officers and officials, parliamentarians and people from the judiciary have also been affected.

”The GoB spokesperson added that the first case of coronavirus in the province was reported 100 days ago and so far 8,794 people have been affected by it. He informed that the Regional Blood Center has initiated process of plasma therapy in Quetta.”

More kits are being called for capacity building of plasma therapy,” Shahwani said. “145 ventilators have been demanded from NDMA and so far 20 ventilators have been provided but there is also a shortage of trained staff.

”He went on to say that the demand for oxygen has also increased. “There are some problems in this regard and it is likely that they will be resolved soon.”

Responding to a query regarding repatriation of Pakistanis stranded abroad, he said, “our people in the Gulf states are worried as there are no flights to Quetta.”

Replying to a question pertaining to provincial development schemes, Shahwani said that equal development schemes have been set up in the budget for all constituencies of Balochistan. “Our priority is the people and their interests.”

The provincial spokesperson concluded that out of Rs650 billion for the provinces, Rs 85 billion has been allocated to Balochistan which amounts to 13 per cent. “The prime minister has assured not to drop any schemes. In the past, priority was not given to CPEC and issues of Balochistan but things will change now.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2020


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