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QUETTA, 7 March 2020, TON: Provincial Police resort to baton charge to disperse the protesters in provincial capital Quetta on Monday. The protest was launched by Pakistani doctors and medical staff against a lack of protective gears to guard against Coronavirus. The Government of Balochistan had given an undertaking of to provide masks and gloves but so far nothing has been supplied at the hospitals.Despite efforts, TON could not approach representatives of National Disaster Management Authority for their comments.
On Tuesday, doctors across the province went on strike in non-critical care wards to protest against the Monday arrests and lack of equipment. However, those on emergency and Corona wards did not participate in the protest. Spokesman of Young Doctors Association (YDA) confirmed that over 50 doctors were arrested on Monday, 6 April 2020. They highlighted that so far, at least 18 doctors have been infected with the Coronavirus in Balochistan due to lack of provision of safety gears. They demanded that military doctors and paramedics must also join them in fight against Coronavirus.
Doctor Nasir, one of the protester disclosed that the incident took place due to non provision of safety gear by the Government, putting lives of doctors and paramedics at risk. He said that a number of doctors and paramedics had been injured in the baton charge by Police.
A statement issued by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Tuesday said, “Emergency supplies of medical equipment including PPEs being dispatched to Quetta on orders of COAS to help medical staff fight Covid-19 effectively in Balochistan.
As per the details after government failed to deliver the promised supplies, hundreds of doctors and paramedics chanted slogans demanding safeguards items. Polices used force to disperse the protesters in which some of the doctors and paramedic staff were dragged off by the police equipped with rifles and batons.
Police authorities said, they arrested 30 protesters who were defying a ban on public gatherings imposed during a lockdown in connection with efforts to check spread of Coronavirus. Doctors threatened to stop working unless the detained protesters were released.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Zaireen who visited Iran from Pakistan or were residing there from some years were expelled by the Iranian Government and forced to crossover to Pakistan through FIA Gate Taftan, Mand and Rabat area. Pakistan has reported a total of 3,352 cases of the Coronavirus and majority of the cases as well as initial spread was from the Iranian border.
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