QUETTA: Balochistan government extended the lockdown imposed across the province in the wake of coronavirus outbreak till May 5.
“If the public doesn’t cooperate with the administration, the relaxation given in the lockdown will be withdrawn,” said provincial government Spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani while addressing a press conference on Tuesday.
The provincial home department issued a notification late on Monday announcing the extension. “The decision was taken in view of increasing number of local transmission cases of coronavirus in the province,” read the notification.
It further stated the disease may cause “devastating consequences, including illness and death”, if timely measures were not taken to curb the spread of virus.
The home department maintained there were sufficient grounds to proceed under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 — which had been imposed in the province since March 20 and had been extended — as an immediate preventive and speedy remedy to ensure public safety, conserve lives and maintain peace and tranquility in Balochistan.
Under the lockdown, all public gatherings, inter-city and inter-provincial transport and religious gatherings would remain banned across the province while strict action would be taken against the violators.
So far, the provincial government has reported 495 cases of the deadly pandemic with tally of six deaths from the virus.
The virus cases were continually increasing in the province as 30 new cases were reported on Tuesday while seven patients recovered from the illness the same day.
A 70-year-old male patient, who was diabetic and suffering from hypertension, was the sixth victim of Covid-19. He died on Monday in Quetta.
The provincial health department confirmed 347 local transmission cases of the virus which are 70% of the total confirmed cases in the province while 167 patients have so far recovered.
Quetta was the hardest hit district from the locally transmitted coronavirus cases with 278 patients. Jaffarabad came in second with 19 cases, Chagai third with 11 cases, Mastung fourth with 10 cases, Pishin fifth with nine cases, Loralai sixth with six cases, Qilla Abdullah and Sibi each seventh with five cases, Kharan eighth with two cases and Khuzdar and Harnai each ninth with one case of the virus.
So far tests of 5,801 suspected patients have been conducted out of 7,031 cases. 495 suspected cases tested positive for the virus while 5,306 tests turned out negative.
Besides, the provincial health department was waiting for results of 400 tests.
Moreover, 556 people were in various quarantine centres across the province, including 269 in Taftan, 122 in Pishin, 51 in Zhob, 25 in Harnai, nine in Khuzdar, 29 in PCSIR and two in Kachi.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2020.