QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Aliyani on Monday revealed that the government doesn’t have any record of travellers entering into Pakistan through Afghanistan and Iran border before the last week of February.
He shared these views while briefing journalists regarding the initiatives taken by his government to counter the COVID-19 global pandemic. "We are in a state of alert since the coronavirus outbreak surfaced in Iran. In the first phase, we sealed our border with Iran but the Iranian government sent our pilgrims at the Taftan border under an open sky, prompting us to bring them into Pakistan."
The provincial chief executive added that “we declared an emergency as the pilgrims started commencing their return to Pakistan from the Taftan border. With the available resources, we quarantined more than 5000 pilgrims in Balochistan and provided them healthcare.”
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He further said, “keeping in view the sensitivity of the matter, the Balochistan government kicked-off safety arrangements and after hosting thousands of pilgrims, we returned them to their respective provinces once they were provided healthcare and screening facilities at Taftan and Quetta quarantine centres.”
Appreciating feedback and suggestions from senior journalists pertaining to the efforts taken against COVID19, the CM relayed that his government is taking every possible measure to stem the spread of coronavirus in the province with the available resources in order to ensure the provision of quality healthcare for patients infected with it.
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“The provincial government released funds of two billion rupees and measures were being taken to ensure the provision of a relief package for daily wagers who were not able to earn any money due to the lockdown."
Aliyani went on to say that, “a quarantine centre is being established at Chaman along with the Pak-Afghan border where 2000 suspected people would be kept for treatment while utilisation of funds and equipment purchase is being monitored to ensure neutrality.”
The Balochistan CM concluded that, 65 acres of relief and emergency centers are being established in Quetta and Taftan whereas testing kits, masks, gloves, ventilators and other equipment are being purchased which would be handed over to doctors and medical staff working in isolation wards."
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2020.