New Delhi: Pakistan saw a sharp rise in coronavirus cases after travellers returned from Iran via Baluchistan province. The number of positive cases currently stands at 237. The head of Sindh province Saeed Ghani has claimed that lives have been lost that could have been saved.

Student nurses of Sheikh Zayed Nursing College in Lahore, Pakistan, have refused to perform their duties and launched a protest against the administration for forcing them to work in the hospital without protective gear amid the coronavirus outbreak.

More than 60 students joined in protests at the hostel of the medical college, alleging they were mistreated by Deputy Medical Superintendent Ilyas Ahmed and forced to work in the hospital despite the administration issuing orders to vacate the hostel, reported media outlet Dawn.

The hospital said that due to an acute shortage of nurses, student nurses were asked to perform duties in the hospital to tackle the rising number of coronavirus cases.

The Pakistan government has faced criticism from opposition parties for inadequate quarantine and testing of pilgrims, who had returned from Iran after crossing the western province of Baluchistan.

“It was not a quarantine, it was a joke, its trickle-down effect is coming down on the entire country. People were not kept there in the right manner,” Murtaza Wahaba, a spokesman for the Sindh provincial government told a local television station.

Pakistan’s Ministry of National Health Services confirmed the first coronavirus death on 17 March. Cases have since soared to 237 with 172 patients in Sindh province alone.