Corona cases cross 2,600, death toll at 40
Statesman Report
KARACHI/LAHORE: The number of coronavirus infections in the country crossed 2,600 on Friday, with the federal and provincial governments struggling to prevent people from going to mosques to attend the Friday prayers.
As of Friday night, Punjab led the tally of COVID-19 cases with over 1,069 cases, followed up by Sindh with 789 infections. Balochistan detected 169 cases whereas Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s tally stood at 343. Islamabad and Kashmir/Gilgit-Baltistan have reported 199 and 68 cases, respectively.
A total of 40 people have lost their lives since the outbreak, whereas over 100 patients have recovered.
Despite appeals by the government and religious figures, prayers-goers paid no heed and thronged the mosques across the country.
Ahead of Friday congregations, Sindh went on a complete lockdown to discourage the public gatherings, with police deployed outside mosques and public intersections.
“Governments have to make difficult and painful decisions for the greater good of the public,” said Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Sindh’s minister for local bodies and information. In the greater interest of saving lives, a decision to restrict the prayer congregations at mosques has been taken following a meeting of clerics from all schools of thought.
However, people who wanted to offer Friday prayer didn’t pay heed to what the government was saying, which led to some ugly scenes.
In Karachi’s Liaquatabad region, police and prayer-goers clashed outside a mosque when people forced that they would offer the prayer in the basement of the Ghousia Masjid.
When the police intercepted them, a brawl resulted. Two policemen on duty were beaten up by the people. A bigger contingent of police took control of the situation and also registered a case against the prayer leader.