Jam Kamal seeks urgent medical supplies from Centre

Tells NCC province needs ventilators, testing kits; other essential medical gear

​ Our Correspondent March 28, 2020

QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal has told the newly formed National Coordination Committee (NCC) on coronavirus that the provincial government is committed to ensuring provision of all facilities to people, mostly pilgrims from Iran, who are quarantined across the province.

“It is the government’s top priority to facilitate the pilgrims. The quarantine centres have the capacity to house 2,000 people. So far, corona tests of 1,350 pilgrims coming from Iran have been done, out of which 133 have come positive and 26 of them will be re-tested,” the CM said on Thursday.

Jam Kamal was speaking through video link during a meeting of the NCC, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan. Kamal was briefing the participants about the provincial government’s measures to ensure food security in Balochistan while preventing the contagious disease.

He said people, who have tested negative for the virus, are allowed to go home, but they are being monitored effectively. He said he has visited the quarantine centres at Quetta, Naseerabad and Sibi.

The chief minister told the NCC that at a meeting of the provincial apex committee, several initiatives had been approved to curb the spread of coronavirus in Balochistan.

“These initiatives will ensure efficient procurement of wheat; availability of food items; closure of entry points at Taftan and Chaman borders; increase in testing at quarantine facilities and supply of protective kits to doctors and medical staff,” he added.

He said the provincial government needs the federal government’s support for ventilators and testing kits as well as other essential medical equipment.

“Due to the lack of production of food items in Balochistan, the province relies on the arrival of these commodities from Sindh and Punjab. Therefore an effective mechanism is needed to maintain the food chain and transportation of petrol,” he said.

“After closure of Iran border in Makran and Rakhshan divisions, there is a need to continue supply of oil and other commodities in these areas,” the chief minister said.

He said special medical measures are needed in view of the outbreak of malaria and other diseases due to the arrival of summer. “We also need to end load shedding during the lockdown and during the month of Ramazan,” he said.

The prime minister agreed with the chief minister’s proposal and assured him that the federal government would cooperate in this regard.

Governor meets Kamal

Balochistan Governor Amanullah Khan Yasinzai called on Jam Kamal on Friday as both of them vowed to continue collective efforts for the containment of novel coronavirus.

They discussed different issues pertaining to prevention of the outbreak. The CM briefed the governor about the safety measures taken so far by the government.

Expressing satisfaction over these measures, Yasinzai emphasized the need of self-quarantine and social distancing. “By limiting social activities, the masses could save their families and society.” He said the role of doctors and paramedical staff is remarkable. “Their hectic efforts could not go in vain.”

The governor also paid a visit to the control room established at the Chief Minister Secretariat in order to monitor issues linked with preventing the outbreak.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2020.