The first case appearing in Wuhan city of China, the disease caused by COVID-19 virus from the family of viruses known as Corona has spread across half of the world, killing 2700 and infecting around 80 thousand only in mainland China.
However, the spread of the virus looks borderless; it has now penetrated in more than 30 countries in the world. According to recent reports, among virus affected countries in the Middle-East, Iran has suffered the most with 24 deaths and more than a hundred infected including the Deputy Prime minister Masoumeh Ebtekar and Deputy Health Minister of Iran Mr. Iraj Harirchi.
Observing the conditions in Iran, it is feared that the virus can reach Balochistan through its 954 kilometers long porous borders. As a precaution, Balochistan government has closed the transport across the borders and shut down crossing points in 5 districts of Balochistan which include Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgoor, Washuk, and Chaghi.
However, concerns are intact if Balochistan can handle any worst-case scenario, being the most underdeveloped and under-facilitated region. According to WHO’s (World Health Organization) report, 60 percent of BHUs (Basic Health Units) in Balochistan do not have access to electricity, 40 percent lack running water and 90 percent do not have toilets. And 12 million population of Balochistan has only 7747 beds available in all hospitals combined.
It is clear from the statistics that Balochistan cannot afford neither can handle such a situation, according to the experts only feasibly way, for now, is to raise awareness among the masses, and smother the misinformation and fake news regarding the diseases which can spread panic. Panic has its own complications and causes food shortage as people will start hoarding.
Medical experts suggest that in the case of Covid-19 virus, the common precautions are part of our daily life, hands must be washed with a sanitizer or with soap regularly, unnecessary social interactions should be reduced and food should be cooked properly. In case of the confirmation of the virus spread in the area, masks should be worn, preferably of N95 type.
Until the last reports, two cases have appeared in Karachi city and both affected persons had traveled from Iran to Pakistan by air and have been kept in isolation now. Mr. Liaqat Shahwani, the spokesperson for Balochistan government, posted a tweet late at night and confirmed that there are no cases reported in Balochistan, however, as a precaution, the Education department has closed all schools and college in Balochistan till 15th of March.