Balochistan decides to only test Covid-19 patients showing symptoms due to meagre testing capacity.


Byline: Ghalib Nihad

The Balochistan health department on Tuesday decided to only test those citizens who are showing Covid-19 symptoms due to a lack of testing capacity.

According to a statement released by the provincial health department, the Fatima Jinnah Laboratory has been closed for the public - the lab was the only facility where residents could get themselves tested for the respiratory illness.

"Those suspected of having contracted the virus will only be tested after they have completed a mandatory 14-day quarantine period at home," the statement said.

It added that the decision has been taken due to a lack of testing capacity at the laboratory; the results of more than 2,000 tests have already been delayed.

The statement, however, contradicted claims made by Balochistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani who - while speaking at a press conference in Quetta earlier in the day - had said that the province will no longer "face a dearth of testing kits and equipment".

Shahwani said: "We had asked the federal government to provide us with 50,000 PCR kits. But, we did not receive the entire shipment."

However, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has now given us testing kits, he said, adding that the federal government had also given 14,000 testing kits. "Our labs and machinery are increasing," he said.

Shahwani maintained that a reshuffle within the health department staff had caused the delay in test results for the past two days, adding that the staff has been working tirelessly.

He added that the government was in the process of setting up another laboratory at Bolan Medical College which will ramp up the province's testing...

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