Balochistan govt decides against ‘unnecessary’ virus tests

Samples of only patients displaying severe symptoms should be taken: CM Jam Kamal Khan

Mohammad Zafar May 19, 2020

QUETTA: The Balochistan government on Monday directed the provincial health department to avoid unnecessary testing in order to preserve testing kits for patients that are displaying severe Covid-19 symptoms.

A cabinet meeting presided by Chief Minister Jam Kamal, in order to review the coronavirus situation and availability of safety equipment announced that, “4 additional PCR machines and 60,000 testing kits will arrive after Eid.”

Balochistan Command and Operation Center In-Charge Imran Gichki briefed the meeting, adding that 94% active cases in Balochistan are locally transmitted while 6% have travel history.

“A total of 37 people have died due to the contagious virus but 454 have recovered and tested negative,” said Gichki. “20 people are admitted in Sheikh Zayed Hospital’s isolation ward, 18 in Fatima Jinnah while 2,163 people have confined themselves inside their homes.”

Following a surge in positive cases, CM Kamal emphasised that samples of only patients displaying severe Covid-19 symptoms should be taken. The meeting unanimously agreed on the aforementioned decision to preserve testing kits for more critical patients.

The provincial health officials informed the chief minister that they have 25 ventilators and ICU beds in three government hospitals whereas 75 more are being procured. “Microbiologists are being hired on a contract basis in order to enhance Balochistan’s testing capacity.”

On the other hand, CM Kamal expressed reservations over restoring road and rail transport in Balochistan without Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) being practiced, prompting fear of a rise in positive coronavirus cases.

“People of Quetta should not travel outside Quetta and outsiders should avoid coming to Quetta because the provincial capital is severely gripped by Covid-19,” said Jam Kamal, urging the masses to avoid unnecessary travel.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2020.