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As of today, Pakistan recorded 301 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with two deaths reported. Sindh is largely hit by the virus pandemic with 208 cases. Punjab, Balochistan, and KP have registered 33, 23, and 19 cases respectively. It is the highest number of confirmed cases in South Asia, compared with 147 in India, 44 in Sri Lanka, and 22 in Afghanistan.
According to analysts and medical experts, an exodus of pilgrims from Taftan border crossing with Iran and Dera Ghazi Khan, are mainly to blame for the extraordinary spike in the number of coronavirus cases in the country, particularly Sindh. According to an Indian newspaper’s report, Pakistan is likely to see a spike in the number of coronavirus positive cases.
According to a spokesperson for Sindh health department, 119 of the cases arrived in Sukkur from Taftan, over 40 are from Karachi while one is from Hyderabad. Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab said the ‘exponential increase is largely due to the recent inflow of people brought in from Taftan after a purported quarantine’.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also reported 19 cases of novel coronavirus as of Wednesday. In Punjab, Dera Ghazi Khan authorities established its first case of the virus on Wednesday, raising the provincial count to two cases. Again, the patient, who was among the 814 persons quarantined at a facility in DG Khan, had arrived from the Taftan border.
People currently in the Taftan camp are reported to have said that they were not being sufficiently screened for the pandemic. They also complained of filthy living conditions at the facility, where hundreds of people are currently staying. “There is no one available here to provide treatment if people have symptoms or any other diseases,” Ali, a 28-year-old man staying at the facility, said. Khanum Jan, who had been in the camp for ten days, said that there were no doctors at the facility, nor any beds or blankets.
Undoubtedly, the number of cases in the country could have been contained if there were better screening facilities at the Taftan border and Dera Ghazi Khan. And for this, one will have to agree to the Sindh chief minister’s claim that no one but the federal government is to blame for what could emerge as an uncontrollable disaster for the country to handle, particularly Sindh.