50% of virus cases due to local spread, says Mirza

-Says 255 new virus cases added to overall tally of 5,232 in last 24 hours
-1,028 sent homes after recoveries

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said on Sunday half of the coronavirus cases detected in Pakistan are of local transmission.
He told a press conference that half of the 5,000 Covid-19 patients contracted the infection locally.
Dr Zafar Mirza said a total of 255 new cases were reported over the past 24 hours with 14 deaths from the contagion in the country. He warned that the figure may increase in the days to come, if social distancing and other preventive measures are not adopted by the people.
He said 1,028 people have recovered completely, while 1,414 are hospitalised with 37 in critical condition.
The special assistant took exception to misuse of N95 masks saying not everyone needs these masks and that only frontline health workers are eligible to use them.
He said the National Command and Control Centre is preparing a video message on awareness with regard to preventive measures, which would be released soon, asking people to desist from peddling misinformation. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan will unveil the government’s future strategy to stem the virus after a meeting of National Coordination Committee tomorrow. He added the premier also chaired a high-level meeting in Islamabad today to discuss the coronavirus crisis.
Confirmed Coronavirus cases on Sunday reached 5,232 in the country as 91 people have died from the infection till to date, according to the national dashboard.
According to the available statistics, overall 5,232 cases have been reported in the country, with 3,926 active cases. Punjab has the highest number of infections up to 2,464, 1,411 in Sindh, 697 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 228 in Balochistan, 216 in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), 119 in Islamabad and 35 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The country has conducted 61,801 COVID-19 tests including 2,805 today, whereas, the death toll jumped to 88. At least 1,026 patients have recovered from the disease while 37 still in critical condition. Overall 1,783,047 were infected from the virus globally as death toll from the pandemic has reached 109,482. The total recoveries from the virus worldwide stood at 408,021.
Earlier, the United States surpassed Italy on Saturday as the country with the highest reported coronavirus death toll, recording more than 20,000 deaths since the outbreak began.
The United States had seen its highest death tolls to date in the epidemic with roughly 2,000 deaths a day reported for the last four days in a row, the largest number in and around New York City. Even that is viewed as understated, as New York is still figuring out how best to include a surge in deaths at home in its official statistics.
Italy currently has the second most deaths from the virus, 19468, out of its total reported 152,271 cases. China from where the virus originated reported only 46 new cases in last 24 hours as its tally stood at 81,953. Three deaths were also reported from the country during the past hours as 3,339 people lost battle against the virus.
Six policemen have been infected with the contagion in the port city on Sunday.
Sources relayed the driver of a senior police officer and a personal staff officer (PSO) have been affected by the deadly virus with a number of other police officers from the East and West zones of the metropolis contracting the disease.
It has been decided to get cops suspected to have caught the contagion tested.
The sources said spread of the disease among the policemen would make matters worse. They said the police personnel are in direct contact with the public all time as they have been discharging their duties on the roads dealing with crowds during the lockdown.
They said special measures would have to be taken to protect the police personnel from the deadly virus.
Twelve doctors and six nurses have tested positive for coronavirus at Nishtar Medical Hospital, a senior official at Multan’s biggest health facility said on Sunday. Vice-Chancellor Nishtar Medical University Dr Mustafa Kamal Pasha said the paramedics were exposed to the virus while treating a patient. “The staff had been treating a patient who had a lung disease. After the patient died his test came back positive for the virus. We conducted tests of everyone in the ward after the patient passed away,” he added.
While the government says it is making all efforts to ensure the availability of personal protective equipment (PPEs) for the paramedics treating the coronavirus patients, doctors across the country have complained of the shortage of protective gear as the number of cases rise above 5,000.
Dr Qaiser Sajjad, secretary-general of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) told Geo News that the government needed to ensure proper protective gear was given to those dealing with coronavirus patients.