Pak insists Covid-19 outbreak under control; deploys army across country to enforce lockdown

Pakistan’s top health official claimed on Sunday that the situation was under control as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases was still limited to 1,571, even as the army was deployed across the country to enforce strict lockdown to contain the fast-spreading viral infection.

Prime Minister’s Adviser on Health Dr Zafar Mirza told the media at the daily press briefing that due to the effective measures by the government, the virus outbreak was under control in Pakistan.

However, he said that 1,106 suspected cases were added during the last 24 hours, taking the total number of such cases to 13,324.

On Sunday, Pakistan’s coronavirus cases reached 1,571 after 4 more people tested positive in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 3 in Balochistan province while another 4 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

According to the Ministry of National Health Services, there were now 571 cases in Punjab, 502 in Sindh, 192 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 141 in Balochistan, 116 in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), 43 in Islamabad and 6 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

It said that 14 people had died, 28 recovered and 11 in critical condition.

In a statement, the Pakistan Army said on Saturday that it has deployed troops across the country in aid of civil power under article 245.

“Army troops are assisting Federal & Provincial administrations in ensuring enforcement measures for containment of COVID-19 with focus on Public Safety. All points of entries (POE) being manned & monitored, establishment of joint Check Posts and joint patrolling with other Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) being carried out effectively,” it said.

The troops were also deployed in various parts of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir including Kotli, Bhimber, Mirpur, Barnala, Muzafarabbad, Bagh, Kel and Rawalakot.

Meanwhile, Mirza said that 857 COVID-19 patients were the pilgrims who came from virus-hit Iran, while 191 patients came back from other countries and the rest were local transmissions.

Mirza said that 8,066 people were living in quarantine centres and already 4,365 had undergone mandatory test. “Out of them, 869 have been tested positive,” he said.

He said that out of confirmed patients, only 756 were in hospitals and the rest of them were recuperating at home. He said that out of those hospital, overwhelming 745 were stable and recovering, while 11 were critical and some on them on ventilators.

As the confirmed cases remained low, experts fear that the actual infected number might be higher than those so far tested positive.

“I think the actual number should be higher,” said Dr Att ur Rehman, a renowned Pakistan scientist.

Earlier, Mirza said that “there is not a single case [in Pakistan] with a travel history of China. This is remarkable if you think about it.”

“This could happen only because of the coordination between Pakistan and China’s government and as a result of which it was decided not to let Chinese citizens travel before a 14-day period,” he said in a statement.

He said the decision to keep Pakistani students in Wuhan despite domestic pressure proved right.

As the number rose, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the National Core Committee on the coronavirus and decided to reopen all highways in the country to facilitate movement of goods.

Separately, Prime Minister Khan sent messages to British Prince Charles and Prime Minister Boris Jonson wishing them speedy recovery. The two were tested coronavirus positive recently.

“I wish HRH Prince Charles @ClarenceHouse and PM @BorisJohnson speedy recovery, good health and long life. This deadly virus #COVID19 has hit people beyond borders,” he said.

Khan also said that “we need an internationally coordinated response to counter it.”

Radio Pakistan reported that another special plane of China carrying medical supplies arrived in Islamabad this morning.

National Disaster Management Authority Chairman Lt Ge Muhammad Afzal received the supplies from Ambassador of China to Pakistan at the airport.

On Saturday, a special plane from China carrying a team of eight medical experts and relief assistance landed here to help Pakistan to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

A special flight bringing stranded Pakistani from Bangkok was allowed to land in Islamabad. All passengers were taken to an isolation center where they will be tested.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said that the provincial government has increased the pace of testing to identify more coronavirus patients. “So far 13,380 people have been tested for #COVID19 in Punjab,” he tweeted.

The Pakistan government also decided to keep its western borders with Iran and Afghanistan and eastern border with India closed for two more weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Moeed Yusuf on Saturday said the move was taken in the wake of increasing COVID-19 cases in the country.

He also announced that all flights will remain suspended in the country till April 4. However, there will be exceptions if a country makes a special request to repatriate its citizens.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by Clicknow. Source:India Today

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