Representative image
Representative image

Gilgit-Baltistan facing COVID-19 outbreak threat, CPEC project hit

ANI | Updated: Mar 20, 2020 22:18 IST

Gilgit [PoK], Mar 20 (ANI): Gilgit-Baltistan, a Pakistan-occupied region bordering China, is facing a threat of the coronavirus outbreak as a large number of Chinese workers and Army personnel are present here because of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
The region has already reported 21 positive cases of coronavirus, including a 14-year-old, who is under detention at an isolation centre in Skardu.
In Pakistan, a total of 456 confirmed coronavirus cases have been reported.
China's One Belt One Road initiative is almost dead due to COVID-19 as nations, where Chinese labour was based, are suffering the most, like Italy and Iran.
On social media, people in Gilgit-Baltistan have shown concern as the region lacks basic health infrastructure and the outbreak of the disease will make it most affected.
In a recent tweet, @Skardu_GB said, "Coronavirus can spread from China to Gilgit-Baltistan if the border is opened. Gilgit-Baltistan's government lacks basic health facilities. The border administration is not equipped to screen. The federal government must collaborate with GB govt. to take necessary steps before opening Khunjarab border."
The multi-billion-dollar CPEC project, which connects China's Xinjiang to Pakistan's Gwadar port in Balochistan passes through Gilgit-Baltistan, a part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
A large number of Chinese workers and Army personnel are engaged in the project. The CPEC project in Pakistan was already facing a tough time due to the Pakistan government's lack of interest.
In a recent interview to the Voice Of America, chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, Hafeez-Ur-Rehman, expressed his concerns on slow progress in the CPEC projects, saying, "It was considered as a game-changer. However, the government's lack of interest is the main reason for slow progress in the CPEC."
The outbreak of coronavirus will have a serious impact on the CPEC project, which was considered a game-changer in Pakistan. (ANI)