How did coronavirus spread from Taftan? Were pilgrims properly screened, isolated?

For eight to 10 days, the quarantine camp at Taftan was without doctors and coronavirus diagnostic kits

Salman Ashraf

QUETTA: As new cases of the novel coronavirus surface in Pakistan with each passing day, a few questions are on everyone's minds; how did the virus spread from Taftan to other parts of the country? Were the pilgrims properly screened and isolated at the Taftan quarantine camp? Who is responsible for the outbreak of the virus in Pakistan?

Read moreCoronavirus updates, March 17: Latest news on the coronavirus outbreak from Pakistan and around the world

Geo News learned that the pilgrims were not properly isolated at the quarantine camp in Tafan where they were kept initially. The absence of coronavirus diagnostic kits at the camp made it difficult to determine who was infected with the virus or not.

Surprisingly, for eight to 10 days, the camp was not visited by any doctor. The medical staff at the camp — which did not comprise of any doctors — took temperatures of the pilgrims initially but did not take their blood samples due to the absence of the diagnostic kits.

Letters were written to the DG Health who in turn asked the Balochistan government's health secretary to take action against doctors who were sent to the camp but failed to reach there. The diagnostic kits arrived late at the camp and blood samples of the pilgrims were sent to a centre in Quetta for testing.

Adivsor to the chief minister of Sindh on law, Barrister Murtaza Wahab said on Tuesday on Geo Pakistan that the pilgrims were neither properly screened nor tended to at the quarantine camp in Taftan. 

Taftan pilgrims not properly managed by government: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi slammed the government, blaming its mismanagement at the Taftan border for the spread of the virus throughout the country. 

"Sindh government's response compared to other governments was much bette," he said. "According to our information, 500 pilgrims from Taftan were sent to Iran."

He said that the entire country will bear the brunt of the government's mismanagement at the Taftan border. Abbsai said that today, Punjab needed Shehbaz Sharif as Chief Minister Buzdar was incapable of solving the crisis. 

Punjab reports five new coronavirus cases, nation-wide tally reaches 193

The total number of coronavirus cases in the country rose to 193 as Punjab reported five new cases of the novel virus on Tuesday. 

”Five pilgrims who recently returned to DG Khan have tested positive for coronavirus," Provincial Health Minister Yasmin Rashid had said while addressing a press conference. “All those testing positive have been quarantined at a facility.”

“Right now there are 736 pilgrims from Taftan being monitored,” she had said.

She also dismissed reports of the Punjab government hiding reports of the patients.