QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) – The Pakistani military promised on Tuesday that dozens of doctors were jailed briefly for taking to the streets in southwestern Baluchistan province to protest the lack of protective equipment to deal with the increasing number of corona virus cases that would get the equipment they need. .
47 doctors protested in Quetta, the provincial capital, on Monday, when they were detained. They were released later the same day, according to provincial spokesman Liaquat Shahwani.
A military statement on Tuesday said “emergency supplies of medical equipment, including PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) are being sent to Quetta.”
However, some doctors said they were persecuted by the police and that some of their colleagues were beaten. The doctors refused to give their names, afraid of reprisals.
Two doctors have died after contracting a new virus in Pakistan, which has recorded 4,004 cases and 54 deaths. Many cases have been traced to pilgrims returning from neighboring Iran. Pakistani authorities have imposed lockdowns throughout the country until April 14.
In Iran, authorities struggling to fight the virus announced on Tuesday that they would expand testing to asymptomatic people, but did not say how many test kits they had or provided other details.
Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki said that with active screening of such cases, there is hope that the virus and COVID-19, the disease it causes, can be controlled by mid-May.
“With this step, we will pursue people without symptoms,” Namaki said, adding this would require a large number of tests. He did not elaborate. The health ministry said the search for asymptomatic cases would be combined with restrictions on cities and intercity and inter-city travel.
Iran faces the worst outbreak in the region. Iranian state TV said Tuesday a new coronavirus had killed 133 people, pushing the country’s death rate to 3,872 amid 62,589 confirmed cases.
A ministry of health spokesman, Kianoush Jahanpour, said 27,039 people had recovered so far while 3,987 were still in critical condition.
Associated Press writers, Nasser Karimi and Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.
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