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pakistan
Wednesday Jul 22 2020
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There may be unrecorded COVID-19 victims in Balochistan, admit officials

Balochistan is the only province in Pakistan that also lists down “probable” fatalities from the virus separately in its official daily situation reports. Photo: Geo.tv/File

Confusion persists in Balochistan over the number of overall deaths from coronavirus, as health officials say that the death toll could be much higher than that officially recorded.

According to government figures, as of July 22, 135 people have died in Balochistan after contracting the deadly virus, while 11,469 are infected.

But this number, 135, is mostly gathered from only four hospitals in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, health experts in the province revealed. The hospitals are Sheikh Zayed Hospital, the Bolan Medical Complex Hospital, Civil Hospital, and the Fatima Jinnah Hospital.

“As per our internal tally, 225 people have succumbed to the deadly infection in all 33 districts of the province,” Dr Wasim Baig, the spokesperson for the directorate of director-general health, told Geo.tv. His data also includes 90 “probable deaths” from the disease.

Balochistan is the only province in Pakistan that also lists down “probable” fatalities from the virus separately in its official daily situation reports.

Also read: Top health expert thinks Pakistan rapidly moving towards COVID-19 herd-immunity

Officials told Geo.tv, on the condition of anonymity, that they mostly receive mortality data from only four hospitals in Quetta. Collecting information about deaths at home and at hospitals in areas of the other 32 districts was difficult due to lack of communication and distances in Pakistan’s poorest and most underdeveloped province.

Since July 7, the official death toll from 32 districts of the province has remained stagnant at 94. This could mean, health experts added that the actual number of those killed by the illness could be much higher than the official tally.

“There is no way to gather reliable data about how many people have been infected or how many died from the virus across Balochistan,” a senior doctor told Geo.tv, on the condition of anonymity.