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Fear of large-scale coronavirus spread looms Pak; 484 cases reported

ANI  |  Asia 

Pakistan has reported 484 cases of the novel coronavirus, including 252 in Sindh alone, prompting fears of an exponential surge in the country lacking access to essential health services.

The fear of large scale spread is prevalent in Pakistan's eastern province of Punjab, as an estimated 800 Taftan camp pilgrims have been kept in quarantine at the provincial city of Dera Ghazi Khan.

Reports of the lack of adequate screening procedures and squalid living conditions at the quarantine camps at the Taftan border crossing with Iran have further raised concerns of the surge in the number of infections. Already, of the 484 cases tested positive, more than 140 are those who were quarantined at the Taftan camps.

President of the Muslim Conference has warned the PoK government to avoid shifting coronavirus victims to quarantine camps in Mirpur and New City from other districts given the lack of proper arrangements for screening and quarantine.

A lack of necessary medical equipment such as masks, test kits, and ventilators, is limiting the scope of prevention, testing and treatment of the disease in Pakistan.

A second case of the novel coronavirus was reported in Pakistan occupied Kashmir on Friday, involving a person who worked with Chinese workers at the Azad Patan project.

Similarly, hundreds of PoK people belonging to Sudhnoti and Rawalakot, working alongside the Chinese workers face a difficult situation given the lack of screening procedures. People are demanding that all employees working with the Chinese workers be screened.

While the Pok government has banned the entry of tourists in the region until March 31, hundreds of non-residents are entering the Bhimber area illegal by bribing agriculture department officials, causing concerns among locals.

Pakistan has reported 484 cases of the novel coronavirus, including 252 in Sindh, 96 in Punjab, 81 in Balochistan, 23 in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and 10 in capital Islamabad. Worldwide, the virus has infected 209,000 people and killed 8778, as per the latest data available at the Health Organisation website.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 20 2020. 23:32 IST