–Abbottabad man linked with Tableeghi Jamaat dies, area under lockdown
–Sindh reports two more deaths, 789 pilgrims allowed to go home after 14-day quarantine
–68-year-old woman, who returned from Saudi Arabia, dies in Rahim Yar Khan
–Punjab announces six-month jail, Rs50,000 fine in case of corona rules violation
–Dr Mirza says 29pc cases are locally transmitted, not a single case imported from China
ISLAMABAD/LAHORE/KARACHI: As coronavirus cases continued to surface across the country on Sunday, four more patients succumbed to the disease in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, taking the national death toll to 16.
Pakistan’s coronavirus cases currently stand at 1,556 after the confirmation of new cases in Punjab, Islamabad and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). 28 people have so far recovered from the disease.
ABBOTABAD MAN DIES:
According to health officials, the 78-year-old man, who passed away in Abbottabad, purportedly contracted the virus through some Tableeghi Jamaat members who were in the area. The whole area has subsequently been put under lockdown now and contact tracing in underway.
According to the District Health Officer (DHO) Abbottabad Dr Faisal Khanzada, the patient was under treatment at Combined Military Hospital Abbottabad. The five deaths in KP have been reported from Hangu, Mardan, Parachinar, Lower Dir, and Abbottabad, the DHO said.
TWO DEAD IN SINDH:
Sindh Health and Population Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, while talking about the deceased patients, said, “We received the lab reports of both the patients after they had passed away. We found out that the cause of death in both cases was pneumonia along with COVID-19.”
“One of the patients was 83 years old while the other was 70 years old,” she added.
Separately, 789 pilgrims, who were suspected to be affected and placed in isolation in Sukkur, completed the mandatory 14-day isolation period and were declared virus-free. These pilgrims, who had come from Iran via Taftan border crossing, would now be allowed to go home.
A 68-year-old woman who returned from Saudi Arabia and was under treatment in Rahim Yar Khan passed away on Sunday.
WOMAN DIES IN PUNJAB:
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar announced on Sunday night that a 68-year-old woman who had returned from Saudi Arabia and was under treatment in Rahim Yar Khan passed away due to coronavirus.
He said that so far six people have lost their lives in Punjab whereas 593 confirmed coronavirus patients are under treatment. He added that the government’s teams are constantly tracking and testing the contacts of patients.
‘NO VIRUS CASE IMPORTED FROM CHINA’:
Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said that out of 1,500 total cases in the country, not even a single patient had a travel history of China.
“This is remarkable if you think about it,” he said while briefing the team of Chinese doctors at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad. “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 added.
Recalling the government’s earlier decision of not repatriating Pakistani students from Wuhan, Dr Mirza said, “It was a very tough decision but we worked very closely with the Chinese government and followed their recommendations and policies.”
“They were very nice since they allowed countries to expatriate even against their recommendation,” he added.
“Today, when the disease is spreading in Pakistan, the students are thanking the government of Pakistan for not bringing them back,” he said, adding that they are asking the government to take care of their families like China took care of them.
Mirza also noted that “China has written a new chapter in public health by putting close to 60 million people in quarantine”. “Not just that but also rigorous implementation; the world has learnt from that,” he added.
Mirza said that total 8,066 people were living in different quarantine in provinces out of which PCR test of 4,365 people had been conducted, with corona positive ratio of 20 percent as 869 people had tested positive.
He added in total 1,527 confirmed corona patients, 857 patients (58%) had travel history of Iran, 191 patients (13%) had travel history of other countries and 420 patients (29%) had received virus in local transmission.
PUNJAB PASSES ORDINANCE TO CONTAIN VIRUS:
The Punjab government promulgated the Punjab Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Ordinance, 2020, enabling it to take precautionary measures to protect the public from the coronavirus outbreak and or any such epidemic in the future.
The law will enable the government to reinforce safety measures to contain the spread of the virus. Failure to comply with the law will result in imprisonment for at least six months and a fine of Rs50,000. Private entities, who will violate the law, will be fined Rs200,000.
SECOND SHIPMENT OF MEDICAL AID ARRIVES FROM CHINA:
Earlier in the day, a cargo airplane of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), laden with medical equipment from China, landed at the Islamabad International Airport.
Reportedly, the consignment comprises ventilators, N-95 respirator masks and protective medical gear for doctors performing field duty.
It has also emerged that the air transport fleet of PAF has been assigned with the responsibility to airlift relief cargo from China.
China is extending full support to Pakistan in its efforts to contain the coronavirus. China’s assistance to Pakistan so far includes 12,000 test kits, 300,000 masks, 10,000 protective suits, and support to build an isolation hospital.
Following the arrival of the donation, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lieutenant General Muhammad Afzal said that the Chinese government is supporting Pakistan in difficult times, adding that around 6 tonnes of goods have arrived on a special flight from Wuhan.
Meanwhile, commenting on the development, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said that resources “should be used to share information amongst people regarding coronavirus testing and quarantine”.
Aurangzeb claimed that there “still is not a comprehensive policy to combat coronavirus misinformation”.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal said that the government has decided to open container hospitals and relief and emergency centres as it ramps up efforts to contain the virus.
These container hospitals will be equipped with all medical facilities such as operation theatres, isolation wards and residences for doctors and paramedical staff. The temporary hospitals will also have a separate room for pre-burial procedures for deceased patients.
According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), initially, 1,500 container hospitals will be prepared and will be sent to remote areas of the province.
FOREIGN PREACHERS PUT UNDER ISOLATION:
Sindh government, which is striving hard to prevent the unconfined spread of the virus, put some 44 more foreigners under quarantine at a Tableeghi Jamaat centre in Sukkur, pushing the total number of foreigners quarantined there to 68.
According to officials, the foreigners had been travelling through the province for preaching and hailed from Indonesia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Afghanistan and other countries.
The samples of all the people present inside the quarantine centre will be sent to Karachi for testing.
KP ISSUES QUARANTINE GUIDELINES:
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Health Department also issued guidelines for quarantining and isolation of suspected coronavirus patients.
According to the notification, a person who has come into contact with a confirmed patient should be quarantined but sampling should be avoided. If the person shows symptoms, they should be isolated, the notification added.