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By Umar Bacha

A major chunk of people from Malakand and Hazara, with symptoms similar to coronavirus, has been avoiding visiting hospitals for COVID-19 testing out of fear, despite there being a rise in cases of the deadly virus in the region.

Since after Ramazan COVID-19 cases have seen to be rapidly increasing as Shangla, Swat, Battagram, and Mansehra recorded their highest spikes during this week.

Medical Superintended at the DHQ Hospital, Dr. Shafi-ul-Mulk, Alpuri, told Voicepk.net that before the Covid-19 pandemic they had over 1000 patients daily at the facility’s out-patient department (OPD) but now suddenly only between 50 to 100 patients visit for check-ups.

“The majority of people having Covid-19 symptoms are reluctant to visit hospitals and afraid that their test will result positive,” he said. “Such people are causing the spread of this virus and are infecting other people because they do not adopt precautionary measures.”

A local journalist from Battagram district who had contracted Covid-19 said that on one hand the locals were making light of the deadly virus even considering it a conspiracy. On the other hand, more were falling sick.

He said he had realized during the isolation period that he would not have fallen sick with Covid-19 if he too had adopted precautionary measures.

“It was a terrible time for me as even being inside my home I was unable to meet my children and other family members,” he said.

He suggested that symptomatic people should instantly visit hospitals for tests for the sake of everyone’s lives around them.