On March 11, after 118,000 confirmed cases and more than 4,291 death from of the coronavirus over 110 countries and territories worldwide and the growing risk of further global spread, The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic at a press conference in Geneva.
COVID-19-coronavirus appeared outbreak at the very first time in Wuhan-the first and hardest hit city of China, which has piqued the people wrenching the contentment and opulence of all citizens nationwide and brought the rest of the world concerned. From its origins in Wuhan in China, the deadly coronavirus has swept through at least 114 countries, afflicting around 1.2 lakh people and causing some 4,000 fatalities so far.
However, according to country’s Civil Protection Agency, the hardest European virus hit country is Italy where the total number of cases rose to 15,113 from a previous 12,462, an increase of 21.7 percent and the death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has jumped in the last 24 hours by 189 to 1,016, a rise of 23 percent, but the situation in countries like Iran and South Korea is no less worrying where concern is also growing about cases in South Korea is approximately 7,755 and 60 deaths have been reported. On the other hand, Iran has reported 8,042 cases with 291 deaths, with several government officials infected, and some dying, from the disease.
The world in the waves of trepidation and fright seems being dismayed and offended on the recent declare of World Health Organization (WHO) calling COVID-19 a pandemic.
It has now become a burning question for Pakistan if she faces an outbreak of the virus as Italy, Iran and China did. It undoubtedly damages the economy growth of the country which is already encountered inefficient. According to the report that Asian Development Bank (ADB) published said that in case of experiencing an outbreak, COVID-19 could cost the country’s economy in the range of $16.387 million to $4.95 billion, or 0.01% to 1.57% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The total number of cases rose to 15,113 from a previous 12,462, an increase of 21.7 percent and the death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has jumped in the last 24 hours by 189 to 1,016, a rise of 23 percent
With the population of around 200 million, Pakistan taking the tally to 184 has recorded its biggest single-day spike in COVID-19 infection. The patients who have tested positive are rest from Karachi and placed in quarantined in hospitals in the city and being treated.
The government of Pakistan has contributed much to combat the outbreak of the virus by closing borders and air links with neighboring country Iran, one of the worst hit by the virus across the glob and China known as the epicenter of the virus, where the first case was detected before the infection in other nations, in December. Unfortunately, there seems nothing completely helpful by suspending flights and blocking border links only. It needs a critical observation all around the country.
What’s worse is that Balochistan confirmed it’s first case in a 12-year child who has been shifted to Fatima Jinah Hospital in Quetta, including 10 fresh more.
The province is already suffering from the great crisis of a good health care and medical equipment. Combating the outbreak of COVID-19 in the province with this attention which is extremely poor in investment, could cause the province to be the most susceptible and vulnerable territory of the world.
Making announcement of closure on educational institutions and suggesting people to keep washing their hands could never be sufficient in the fight against the outbreak of the virus. Government should make all hospitals in the province functional with full of medical facilities including trained doctors. And, should ask for better trained experts to help in combating the outbreak of the virus because Balochistan is the only region in the country where rest of the majority remains to be uneducated and off from the social sites. Updates and awareness in this regard, are limited in media and social networks which the rest of Balochistan has no access. People belonging to the rural areas happen to be unaware about the virus and could be the quick and prime reason of outbreak of the virus in the province.
What’s more, the capital (Quetta) of Balochistan which is hosting hundreds of returned pilgrims from Iran, has none left test kits. The border every after few days get reopened to let the pilgrims enter the territory of Balochistan. Even though, the pilgrims returning from Iran, belong to all parts of the country including Punjab province and KPK. But, government of Balochistan has ordered to place the pilgrims in quarantined in
Taftan Border where many of them had been reported disappeared and gone to the their own locations after experiencing a short period of quarantine. The high spread of virus in the country is undoubtedly due to the release of few pilgrims who were quarantined at Taftan Border before completion of 14 days which The World Health Organization called mandatory.
According to Liaqat Shahwani, more than 4,600 people have been placed at the camp at Taftan. Of those, 1,822 had been left to home districts on Friday. Sadly, Sindh’s 119 recorded cases were reported among the 1,822 quarantined people held at the camp. This shows the weak and paralyzed image of officials in Balochistan.
Balochistan is the only region in the country where rest of the majority remains to be uneducated and off from the social sites. Updates and awareness in this regard, are limited in media and social networks which the rest of Balochistan has no access
Balochistan’s poor health sector could never afford to share medical emergencies in case of outbreak of coronavirus. Additionally, Balochistan possess teenier population as compared to Punjab and Sindh. The virus is worldwide reported transformed human to human where social distancing according to studies, efforts to decrease the number of patients. The province owns its rest population in rural areas where in case of growing spread in the region such as Mand, Pasni, Jiwani and many more, lock down helps to combat the outbreak countrywide.
Not only the precautions and lock down seem enough for a country to keep her huge population off from this global pandemic. Remedies and equipments that world uses to fight against COVID-19 to make a survival circumstance of the virus-hit patients are no more available in the province.
The government should start investing on medication and pharmaceuticals and make availability of kits, masks, gloves and other medical equipments possible to assure safety for the doctors and other local citizens as soon as possible.
Sher jan P. Shohaz is a freelance columnist and a poet from Balochistan, Pakistan and currently teaching at School of Intensive Teaching. He tweets at @SheraanRind.