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Balochistan government warns of complete lockdown if COVID-19 cases continue to surge

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Geo News/Screengrab via The News/Files

Balochistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani said Thursday a complete will be imposed across the province if the number of coronavirus cases continue to surge.

“Eight hundred and eighty locally transmitted cases have been reported [in the province],” Shahwani said, adding that if the government decides to impose a complete lockdown across the province, then that would result in a curfew.

He said that the government has decided to open the Pak-Afghan border at Chaman for only two days a week, Saturday and Sunday. “Pakistanis stranded in Afghanistan will be able allowed to return home on those two days,” Shahwani.

On Monday, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal had warned that the number of locally-transmitted cases in the province were increasing slowly but that lockdown restrictions could only be eased if people cooperated with the government.

While speaking to the media in Quetta, CM Kamal had noted that the government could only know about the number of cases in the province through testing. A mechanism to carry out testing to check the local transmission has been developed, he had said.

It was through random testing that the Balochistan health department learned that the locally transmitted cases had increased, he had further revealed, adding that 35 new cases via local transmission were reported in Quetta on Monday.

“Our testing capacity is improving so we’re conducting more tests,” Kamal had added, stating that a lot needed to be done to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

KP extends lockdown

On the other hand, Adviser to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister on Information Ajmal Wazir announced that the provincial government has decided to extend the lockdown till May 15.

Wazir clarified that tandoors and milk shops will continue to remain open throughout the province after 4 pm.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan currently stands at 16,276.

Out of the total, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has reported 2,313 cases and Balochistan has, so far, 978 confirmed patients in its care.

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