GILGIT: CoVID-19 cases have been rising in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan for the last couple of weeks. From being declared a COVID-19 free area in March 2021, the positivity ratio in Gilgit-Baltistan has jumped to 12.84%, as of Friday, July 8, 2021.
The total number of active cases stand at around 490.
The worst affected district is Gilgit, having a staggering 305 active cases out of the 490. Skardu and Hunza, are the second and third worst affected districts, with 54 and 44 active cases, respectively.
Critics, however, believe that the government is not providing the correct data and that the actual numbers are way higher. Testing is also being done to a limited scale. The whole GB region has three labs with a collective capacity of conducting 400 tests everyday, said the region’s Information Minister Fateh Ullah Khan, addressing a press conference yesterday, which is a very miniscule portion of the region’s indigenous and tourist population.
Flanked by the region’s Health Minister Haji Gulbar Khan, Fateh Ullah further said that while the number of cases have soared, the number of critical cases have significantly gone down in the region. He said that there was no COVID-19 patient on ventilator in the whole GB region.
Vaccination campaigns are underway, but there are no accurate numbers available about how many people have vaccinated in the region, comprising of 10 districts, and an estimate population of 1.5million people. The Information Minister, however, said that the GB government’s target is to vaccinate 10,000 people a day. He didn’t mention the actual vaccination rates, however.
Fearing a “fourth wave” of vaccination, the region’s government has imposed bans on gatherings, and also closed down schools, but journalists from across the region are reporting complete disregard for the safety measures. Tourism spots are filled, and hotels and markets are teeming with people traveling from across Pakistan to enjoy the region’s short summers.