On 17th November 2019, China reported first-ever case of COVID-19, in three months it had spread to Iran too. When a country has two of its neighbours widely affected by an incurable disease that spreads exponentially, it becomes inevitable that it will reach here too and you must take all precautions and get ready for the worst-case scenario.
The first case of COVID-19 in Balochistan was reported on 10 March 2020. Until now the government had a maximum of four months to prepare for the fight and minimum of a month when the virus was at the gates of Balochistan. Instead, it was ignored. As a result, the front line warriors, the medical professionals, are now on the streets of capital city Quetta reminding everyone how precious was that month in terms of preparation which was wasted.
At the beginning of this week, when the tally of infected patients crossed 200 which included 15 doctors, the organizations of young Doctors and paramedics staged a sit-in in front of Chief Minister Secretariat for the provision of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), but to their surprise, instead of providing them the facilities and equipment they were handled with brute force. According to YDA (Young Doctors Association), they were beaten and 67 of their members were arrested over meaningless allegations.
A month ago, TBP, in an editorial, had highlighted the issue of the lack of facilities at the hospitals of Balochistan to fight the upcoming crisis of COVID-19 disease. However, lack of PPE and other equipment has become an international concern now. In the United Kingdom, the doctors have already warned to quit their jobs if they are not provided with an adequate amount of PPEs. It is a clear sign of how much doctors have been worked out and strained.
Nevertheless, where the whole world is concerned for the front liners and appreciate their work in form of daily salutes and claps from the balconies of their houses, the government in Balochistan is clearly living in denial. Instead of solving doctors’ problems, CM Balochistan hinted in a tweet that the protests are politically motivated.
There could be a thousand excuses in the delayed supply of PPEs to the doctors, but there is no excuse to use violence against the doctors and call them agitators and politically motivated to disrupt the peace. This approach needs to be changed as soon as possible in order to win the war against the pandemic.