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Center, provinces mull options on further lockdown

-Nation-wide tally jumps to 4,196 with 467 recoveries

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: The confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan on Wednesday reached 4,072, according to the National Command and Control Centre’s latest statistics.
According to the report, as many as 208 new cases of the COVID-19 were reported across the country during last 24 hours. So far 467 patients have recovered from the deadly virus, whereas the death toll has surged to 58.
18 deaths were recorded in Sindh, 16 in Punjab, 18 in KP, three in GB, 2 in Balochistan and one death was reported in the federal capital.
According to the breakup of the cases province-wise Punjab tops the list with 2,108 cases, while Sindh has recorded 1,036 coronavirus cases so far. 527 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 212 in Balochistan, 83 in Islamabad, 211 in Gilgit Baltistan and 19 cases were reported in Azad Kashmir.
As many as 462 patients are under treatment at the quarantine facilities established at the hospitals.
Overall 42 per cent of the cases are said to be of local transmission in the country while rest are of the nationals coming from abroad.
The health authorities have overall conducted 42,159 tests including 3,076 tests during the last 24 hours.
Ministry of Health, Punjab on Wednesday announced that another 78 individuals had tested positive for novel coronavirus in the province. Adding up the latest figures in the previous provincial tally of coronavirus cases, the total number of those diagnosed with the virus currently stands at 2108.
The confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan reached 4,072, according to the National Command and Control Centre’s latest statistics released earlier in the day.
According to the report, as many as 208 new cases of the COVID-19 were reported across the country during last 24 hours. So far 467 patients have recovered from the deadly virus, whereas the death toll has surged to 58. Eighteen deaths were recorded in Sindh, 16 in Punjab, 18 in KP, three in GB, 2 in Balochistan and one death was reported in the federal capital. As many as 462 patients are under treatment at the quarantine facilities established at the hospitals.
Overall 42 per cent of the cases are said to be of local transmission in the country while rest are of the nationals coming from abroad.The health authorities have overall conducted 42,159 tests including 3,076 tests during the last 24 hours.
Meanwhile, Despite appeal of the Sindh government to stay at homes due to coronavirus outbreak, people in large numbers can be seen at various roads of Karachi on Wednesday.
As per details, the Karachiities have neglected the lockdown orders by the provincial government as large number of people along with their vehicles were seen on the roads.
The traffic jam was reported at Shahra-e-Faisal, Garibabad, Drigh Road and other roads of the metropolis. Ambulance drivers also found difficult in reaching hospitals.
Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday, had directed the law enforcement authorities to implement the lockdown in the province. “I want a strict lockdown in place as it happened during the first seven days of the shutdown,” he had said while issuing directives for stricter implementation on closure orders in the province during consultative meeting of provincial cabinet members. Shah had said that the coronavirus figures emerging from the province have raised serious concerns. “I appeal to the people of the province to remain indoors,” he said.
The chief minister lauded the efforts of Rangers and police in ensuring effective implementation of the government directives.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has appealed to healthcare professionals across Pakistan to enlist in a team fighting COVID-19 in the province.“Specialists, general cadre, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists, paramedics, and technicians from across KP and Pakistan can apply to our LOCUM programme to help us fight against the coronavirus on http://locum.kp.gov.pk,” tweeted Health Minister Taimur Jhagra on Wednesday. Locum tenens is a Latin phrase that means to hold the place of or to substitute for. A notification by the KP director-general of health services elaborates the conditions and who can join.
“For a short-term and/or urgent need based assignments the relevant registered medical staff will be engaged strictly for the duration of the need for assignment.”
They will be required to work eight hours per day for maximum 15 days at a time. The staff will be paid daily rates set by the KP government and there is no age limit to apply.
Specialists such as pulmonologists, infectious disease specialists, intensive care specialists, psychiatrists and radiologists can enlist. General cadre doctors include those who have an MBBS or equivalent degree, such as MD, and experience in emergency and intensive care.
Healthcare professionals who are abroad but wish to offer their services can also apply.
President of Pakistan Arif Alvi met Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar and lauded efforts of his government to control spread of coronavirus in the province.
During the meeting, President said that government of Punjab has set a new record by establishing new field hospitals and quarantine centers. On the occasion, CM Buzdar said that he wants the President to visit other districts of the province. Governor Punjab Chaudhry Mohamamd Sarwar also met President Arif Alvi at the Governor’s House and highlighted the anti-coronavirus pandemic services as well as relief efforts carried out for the destitute across the province.
Governor Punjab also briefed the President on the setting-up of ‘Governor Punjab and Chief Minister Telemedicine Helpline’ in different cities of Punjab and how the helplines provided free medical consultation, advice to the callers from home and abroad on coronavirus round the clock.Governor Sarwar informed the President that the telemedicine helplines had so far benefitted more than 100000 people in the province.
President Dr Arif Alvi also visited Corona Crisis Management Cell in Lahore and reviewed the arrangements to control and cope with the effects of pandemic.
The president was given a briefing on the working of the cell which works under the Home Department. Governor Chaudhry Sarwar, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Provincial Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid and Information Minister Fayyaz Chohan accompanied the president during his visit to the Cell. President Alvi emphasized upon the collaboration among the concerned departments for an effective fight against coronavirus and called for keeping the data up-to-date. He also stressed proper publicity of departmental helplines to facilitate the general public.Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said that nation-wide lockdown unlikely to end on April 14.
Addressing a press conference, Sheikh Rashid said that Railways can operate 20 trains if Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan permits.
He also confirmed one coronavirus case in Mughalpura Railways Workshop, which has been closed till April 12. Over 10,000 people work in the workshop.
The minister said that workers over the age of 50 can go on leave after submitting application to their supervisor.
Sheikh Rashid said that coolies can get Rs12,000 by sending a SMS on 8171. He also announced that all employees of the ministry will get salary on time.
He further said that PM Imran Khan did not remove anybody, he just changed portfolios. He also advised Jahangir Tareen to remain associated with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

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