Tue, 26 May 2020

Gilgit, [PoK] April 7 (ANI): A senior minister in Gilgit Baltistan government has accused Islamabad of not providing monetary aid and the required healthcare equipment to deal with COVID-19 in the occupied region.

Shams Mir, Information Minister of Gilgit Baltistan said in a press conference that the region has not received its share of the USD 200 million in aid received by Pakistan from the World Bank to deal with the pandemic.

"The high-handedness of the federal government is that World Bank extended aid to help Pakistan fight coronavirus, which should be distributed equally to all provinces and regions. However, Gilgit Baltistan has not yet received its share. This is very unfortunate", Shams Mir told media in a recently held press conference.

Gilgit Baltistan has reported 211 COVID-19 positive cases and there are rising fears that its healthcare system is not well equipped to deal with the situation.

Shams said, "There are red zones declared in Gilgit Baltistan and we use to start sampling in those areas. But, the required resources like medical equipment, testing kits and labs are not sufficient. Only one small laboratory is operating in the entire region".

Part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan has been under Pakistani occupation since 1947 and it still lacks basic health infrastructure because of Islamabad's negligence.

Gilgit Baltistan borders China and a large number of Chinese workers, engineers and security guards are working here on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. This also raises concern about the possibility of the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the region.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan has sharply increased to 3,864 with more than 500 fresh infections while the death toll has reached 54.

The Ministry of National Health Services, in an early morning update on its website, reported that four patients had died due to coronavirus infection in the last 24 hours.(ANI)

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