COVID-19: Pak Doctors Arrested for Demanding PPE; Threaten Boycott

Protesters marched from Civil Hospital in Balochistan to the CM’s Secretariat in Quetta demanding protective gear.

2 min read
Doctors in Pakistan have been arrested after protesting against the lack of protective gear amid the coronavirus outbreak. (Representational image only.)

Doctors in Pakistan’s Balochistan province were arrested on Monday, 6 April, for protesting against the unavailability of protective gear in government hospitals while treating coronavirus patients. Later, the furious medical practitioners threatened to boycott duties over the police’s “high-handedness”.

The young doctors and paramedical staff called for the protest in provincial capital Quetta after 13 doctors, who were treating coronavirus patients, tested positive. The medical practitioners demanded protective gear be made available in the hospitals.

Chief of Quetta Police Abdul Razzaq Cheema confirmed that some doctors and paramedical workers were detained after the protest took a “violent” turn, but stopped short of giving an exact number of detained people.

At a press meet, President of Young Doctors Association, Balochistan, Yasir Achakzai said the protesters marched from the Civil Hospital to the Chief Minister’s Secretariat in Quetta to demand protective gear for medical workers.

“We were baton-charged by the police and dozens have been arrested,” Achakzai said. He announced a boycott of services by the young doctors’ in government hospitals. “We suspend all our services following the high-handedness of the police,” Achakzai said.

Balochistan has so far reported 192 cases of coronavirus. Achakzai said the situation could get much worse quickly if protective equipment was not made available by the government. Punjab and Sindh provinces have reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan. Sindh reported two more deaths on Monday taking the total number of casualties to 17 in the province.

Sindh government Spokesman Murtaza Wahab said 9,589 virus detection tests have been carried out in the province and 932 people had tested positive, of whom 253 people had recovered. He said in the last 24 hours around 130 people had recovered from the virus in Sindh.

In the last week, there has been a marked increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Punjab and Sindh. On Monday, Punjab reported 191 new cases and Sindh 51. In total, there have been 3,520 coronavirus cases in Pakistan, with worst-hit Punjab province reporting 1,684 cases. The disease has claimed 52 lives in the country.

(This article has been published in arrangement with PTI)

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