Quetta residents resist lockdown amidst COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 outbreak
In Balochistan, according to the Ministry of Health, the emergence of 21 new cases in the past 48 hours has raised the province’s tally to 131. 1159 suspected patients were allowed to return home after they tested negative for the disease, while the results for 165 others are still pending.

To mitigate the spread of the pandemic, the provincial government has decided to tighten restrictions and take protective measures. In addition to a city-wide partial lockdown in Quetta, inter and intra-city transport has also been suspended. Local authorities are moving to seal Hazara Town and Mariabad in Quetta. However, despite these measures, locals continue to flaunt government-imposed restrictions.

While Quetta’s roads seem slightly less crowded than usual, for some professionals and labourers daily life continues at its normal pace. Locals claim that workers for some private institutions and companies have little choice other than to show up for work.

According to district authorities, around 2000 shops, showrooms, and hotels have been sealed and more than 100 persons have been arrested for violating restrictions during the on-going lockdown.

Meanwhile, all transport and travel at the Afghan and Iranian borders have been completely suspended. Currently, 277 suspected patients at the Taftan quarantine zone and 111 at the Quetta quarantine zone are being screened for COVID-19.
The government has restricted movement of people across Balochistan, however, people are not complying with these new restrictions and it has been difficult for the government to impose a complete lockdown in the province.
Report by Asim Ahmed from Quetta & Asra Haque from Lahore