Balochistan not to allow public transport resumption

Updated 19 May 2020

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Meeting fears passengers travelling without observing SOPs may transmit disease to villages. — AFP/File
Meeting fears passengers travelling without observing SOPs may transmit disease to villages. — AFP/File

QUETTA: The Balochistan government has decided to not allow the resumption of public transport in the province and discouraged people from travelling in trains to halt the fast transmission of coronavirus.

A high-level meeting presided over by Chief Minister Jam Khan Alyani on Monday expressed its serious reservations over the opening of road transport and rail service, saying, “resuming transport without SOPs would cause the spread of Covid-19 in villages and remote parts of the province” and the government had therefore decided to not resume inter-city and inter-provincial public transport.

CM Alyani appealed to people to refrain from travelling, saying that the “people of Quetta should not go out of Quetta and people from other areas should also not come to the provincial capital as the number of infected persons are far more in Quetta who could then infect other people coming outside of Quetta.”

The Pakistan Railways will resume only one train Jaffar Express from Quetta to Rawalpindi from Wednesday onwards. Quetta Express and Bolan Mail will remain suspended till further orders, according to a railways official based in Quetta.

Meeting fears passengers travelling without observing SOPs may transmit disease to villages

The meeting discussed measures for further improvement in health facilities to deal with the outbreak in the province. Incharge Balochistan Command and Operation Centre Imran Gichki briefed the meeting on the overall situation say that 94 per cent cases in Balochistan that had been reported were through local transmission, while only six per cent cases were people who had travelled abroad.

He also said that 37 deaths had so far occurred in Balochistan, 454 had recovered, 20 were under treatment at Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zaid Hospital Quetta, 18 at Fatima Jinnah Chest and General Hospital and 2,163 were in self-isolation.

Moreover, 149 doctors and 47 paramedics had been infected by Covid-19.

It was also decided at the meeting that health authorities would not conduct unnecessary tests for Covid-19.

The meeting participants were also told that four testing machines and 60,000 personal protection equipment kits would be available in Balochistan after Eidul Fitr.

“Twenty ventilators along with ICU beds are available at three hospitals of Quetta city while 75 more ventilators will be purchased soon than quantity of ventilators become 100,” the meeting was informed.

The CM also appealed to people to celebrate Eid as simple as possible keeping safety in mind Directorate General Public Relations Balochistan said it would launch an awareness campaign in three languages about avoiding travelling.

Parliamentary Secretary on Health Dr Rabab Buledi, Additional Chief Secretary Home Hafiz Abdul Basit, Secretary Health Mir Dostain Khan Jamaldani, Secretary Food, Director General Health Dr Muhammad Saleem Abro and other officials also attended the meeting.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2020