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Filthy, unhygienic, crowded Quarantine Camps in Pakistan raises concern about increase in Coronavirus cases

The Taftan border has been closed since March 16, but thousands of Pakistani Shite pilgrims who were visiting religious sites in Iran have been allowed to return subject to two weeks' quarantine.

Shocking videos have emerged which shows the filthy condition of quarantine camps in Pakistan meant to keep people with suspected exposure to coronavirus in isolation. Thousands of Pakistanis who returned home from Iran are stuck in filthy, unhygienic quarantine camps with no medical care or sanitation facilities.

A series of videos posted by Pakistani citizens who are quarantined at Taftan camp on the border with Iran has gone viral which show filthy, overcrowded camps. The videos have now created a deep concern that the coronavirus which some citizens may have carried could spread across Pakistan.

Videos circulating on social media show people sleeping on floors and in corridors of permanent structures, and packed into tents erected in a dirty courtyard. Moreover, the Pakistan government has made no attempts to separate sick pilgrims from the healthy.

A Pakistani citizen posting the video on Twitter exposed how reckless Pakistan government was in tackling the global epidemic. In the video, it can be seen that pilgrims at a camp are not following guidelines of social distancing at a crowded camp and are relaxing without even comprehending the seriousness of the Coronavirus threat.

In another video, an aggrieved citizen, who has been locked up in the Taftan camp shows how filthy, squalid the conditions are in the quarantine camp. There are no medicines and the patients are not being given sufficient food. The person in the video can be heard talking about the unhygienic conditions of the bathrooms, which are stinking.

The residents of Taftan camp said the facility lacks running water or flushable toilets, with detainees only able to wash every few days. The heavy gust of wind was also visible, which could cause further more damage to the already ravaged camps.

Another old man who is currently locked up in the filthy tents said that there was no breakfast served in the camps and the food which is being served in the camps was not consumable and also insufficient.

Pakistan shares a 960km border with Iran, with the main crossing point at Taftan in Balochistan province. The Taftan border has been closed since March 16, but thousands of Pakistani Shite pilgrims who were visiting religious sites in Iran have been allowed to return subject to two weeks’ quarantine.

Read- Latest updates and important links about COVID-19 coronavirus

Since last month, more than 4,600 people have been held at the quarantine camp. Of those, 1,822 had been released to their home districts after their 14-day isolation period was over, while several hundred people remain at the camp.

The most worrying news is that the government figures show that at least 134 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Pakistan are the people who went on pilgrimages to Iran and stayed in the camps near Taftan border. With patients carrying coronavirus being present in the Taftan camps, coupled with such filthy, unhygienic camps, Pakistan may face one of the worst outbreaks in days to come.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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