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Thursday May 07 2020

Ease in lockdown has spiked spread of COVID-19: Balochistan government spox

Photo: File

The ease in lockdown has led to a surge in the spread of COVID-19 in Balochistan, says the spokesperson of the Balochistan government.

The federal government announced the lifting of restrictions, and opened up several industrial sectors, across the country on April 15, after a three-week lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, there has been an exponential spike in locally transmitted cases in Balochistan, Liaquat Shahwani, the spokesperson of the provincial government told

“Of the tests we carry out daily, at least 15 to 21% test positive on average,” Shahwani said, over the phone.

To date, Balochistan has recorded 1,495 cases of the deadly virus and has conducted 11,500 tests. Of which, adds the spokesperson, a troubling 13% have been positive.

In order to increase it testing from the current capacity of only 800 tests per day, the provincial government will be installing a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines to test the novel virus at the Fatima Jinnah Hospital in Quetta and the Bolan Medical Hospital in the coming days. Furthermore, it is planning to set up four new laboratories for coronavirus testing at the divisional headquarters of the province.

Shahwani explains that while the province has no shortage of test kits or personal protection equipment (PPEs), they do require more ventilators. At that moment there are only 60 ventilators in the province of over 12 million.

“We have enough capacity in the hospital to deal with new cases, but we do require more ventilators for our ICUs. We just don’t have enough right now.”