Coronavirus reaches Punjab, overall cases jump to 53
Sindh’s tally doubles to 35
Statesman Report
LAHORE/KARACHI: In the biggest single-day jump since the coronavirus was first reported in the country, 19 cases were confirmed on Sunday, taking the total number to 53.
Lahore Health Secretary Captain (r) Mohammad Usman on Sunday confirmed that a 54-year-old patient, who had returned to the country from the United Kingdom (UK) on March 10, has tested positive for the virus. The patient had been admitted to the Mayo Hospital on Saturday night after developing symptoms of the virus. The health secretary added that all the contacts of the patients have tested negative for the virus.
Meanwhile, spokesperson for the Sindh government, Barrister Murtaza Wahab, said that 13 people from Sukkur who had recently arrived from Taftan tested positive for the virus on Sunday. Following the confirmation of these cases, the total number of cases went up to 34. Wahab added that these people were purportedly kept in quarantine at the border.
Earlier, four new cases of coronavirus were detected in Karachi, said Meeran Yousuf, the media coordinator to the Sindh health minister. Three of the patients had recently returned from Saudi Arabia, while one has no recent travel history, Yousuf said.
The federal capital’s first secondary transmission case also emerged on Sunday morning. The latest case was of a husband of a woman who recently tested positive for coronavirus at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) after returning from the United States. There are now four COVID-19 patients at the isolation ward in PIMS, according to the health facility’s spokesperson Dr Waseem Khawaja.
On Friday, the federal government had decided to adopt a number of precautionary measures to contain the spread of novel coronavirus, including sealing the country’s western border with Iran and Afghanistan and cancelling the Pakistan Day parade scheduled for March 23.
The National Security Committee (NSC) meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, was attended by the provincial chief ministers and the civilian and military leadership.
The huddle had decided that all educational institutions in the country will be closed till April 5, while Pakistan’s border entry points with Afghanistan and Iran will be closed for two weeks.
According to an order issued by the NSC, the border closure would come into effect on Mar 16 “in the best interest of all three brotherly countries”. It was decided during the meeting that only three airports in the country — Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore — will be allowed to operate international flights in limited numbers, while other airports will only allow domestic flights.