Sat. Sep 25th, 2021

Sharp rise in number of covid-19 related deaths in Gilgit-Baltistan

GILGIT: The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 have been on the rise in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. On Tuesday, there were at least five deaths reported involving CoVID-19 infected individuals.

The region’s Chief Minister condoled the deaths through a message and assured the masses that the government is taking appropriate measures to facilitate the patients, while urging the public to follow SOPs.

The official statistics shared by the Department of Health mention 125 deaths in GB since the infection was detected in February/March last year. The number of deaths reported in the official “Situation Report” have been steadily increasing over the last two weeks:

Data source: Daily Situation Reports shared by GB Health Department (Compiled by Pamir Times) 

Based on the official statistics, at least 15 deaths have been reported during the last 17 days. The official situation report mentions the number of active positive cases as 752. This is a highly significant rise in number of positive cases, because in March of this year the government had declared Gilgit-Baltistan as a “CoVID-free” area, claiming that there were no active cases.

John Hopkins University, which has been updating COVID-19 related statistics from across the world, is reporting 127 deaths in Gilgit-Baltistan, as of July 28, 2021.

Screengrab of JHU’s map highlighting total positive cases and deaths in GB, Pakistan

It is pertinent to note that 111 deaths were reported in Gilgit-Baltistan during the last 17 months, since March 2020. The number of deaths increased sharply after July 12 and has been increasing steadily.

Opposition leaders and local journalists have been accusing the government of concealing deaths through under-reporting. The government denies these assertions.

Leader of Opposition in GB Assembly, Amjad Advocate has said that he will write a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) to take notice of the health situation in Gilgit-Baltistan. He has sharply criticized the government for failing to take measures against the spread of COVID-19 infection.

Former Chief Minister, Hafiz Hafeezur Rahman also criticized the government for failing to contain the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections. He also accused the government of concealing deaths.

There are some unconfirmed reports of at least 12 people dying on a single day, yesterday, in Gilgit district alone. It wasn’t immediately clear if the deaths were attributable to COVID-19. Photographs of the deceased individuals have been making the rounds on social media, with netizens blaming the deaths on COVID-19.

Instagram did not return a 200.