Lijian wishes Pakistan to win COVID-19 combat

BEIJING: The spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Lijian Zhao, on Sunday expressed hopes that Pakistan will defeat coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as soon as possible.
Lijian Zhao said in his Twitter message that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa have appreciated China as a responsible and determined nation fighting COVID-19.
He praised PM Khan and COAS Bajwa for asking Pakistanis to follow Chinese experience to contain the spread of the virus. The spokesperson added, “Thanks to PM Khan & Gen Bajwa! I wish Pakistan could defeat #COVID19 ASAP.”
Zhao has also wished Islamabad ‘a happy #PakistanDay’ in his tweet.
The total number of novel coronavirus cases in Pakistan rose to 644 after new COVID-19 cases were reported from all provinces on Sunday.
Punjab Chief Minister UsmanBuzdar on late Saturday night confirmed 15 new Covid-19 cases in Punjab, taking the provincial total to 152. Out of the total, 120 cases were detected in pilgrims from Iran, 21 in Lahore, one each in Multan and Rawalpindi, three Gujrat, two Jhelum and four in Gujranwala.
The Sindh government has imposed a province-wide lockdown for 15 days in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. Lockdown in Sindh will be imposed from midnight, announced Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has also addressed the countrymen on government strategy and current development with regards to the global coronavirus pandemic.
PM Imran Khan said that a lockdown is not being considered as 25% population of Pakistan is below the poverty line who cannot survive if a 14-day closure of the country occurs.
Detailing the lockdown, curfew situation, the premier said that the situation requires armed forces and other security personnel patrolling streets, roadways and alleyways and forceful isolation of the masses which he does not want.
: China on Sunday reported 46 new cases of coronavirus, the fourth straight day with an increase, with all but one of those imported from overseas, and further stepped up measures to intercept cases from abroad as the outbreak worsens globally.
While China says it has drastically reduced the number of domestically transmitted cases – the one reported on Sunday was the first in four days – it is seeing a steady rise in imported cases, mostly from Chinese people returning from overseas.
In a sign of how seriously China is taking the threat of imported cases, all international flights due to arrive in Beijing starting Monday will first land at another airport, where passengers will undergo virus screening, government agencies said on Sunday, in an expansion of existing measures.
International flights that were scheduled to arrive in the capital will land instead at one of 12 airports. Passengers who clear screening will then be permitted to reboard the plane, which will then fly to Beijing, the regulator said.
Separately, Shanghai and Guangzhou both announced that all arriving international passengers will undergo an RNA test to screen for coronavirus, expanding a program that previously only applied to those coming from heavily-hit countries.
Among the new cases from abroad reported on Sunday, a record 14 were in the financial hub of Shanghai and 13 were in Beijing, a decline from 21 the previous day. The new locally transmitted case was in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou and was also the first known case where the infection of a local person was linked to the arrival of someone from overseas, according to Guangdong province.
Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Global Times newspaper, called for all cities in China to implement 14-day quarantines for people arriving from abroad.
He also called for quarantine policies to apply to people from Hong Kong and Macau as well, he said on his Weibo account on Sunday.
“I am worried that there are similar cases to the Guangzhou one existing in other parts of the country. There were reports previously that people coming back from abroad returned to their homes in Shanghai without any obstacles,” Hu said.
“It matters to the overall situation of China’s next prevention and control efforts if we can plug the leaks.”
The Global Times is a tabloid published by the Ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily.
The latest figures from China’s National Health Commission bring total reported coronavirus cases in the country to 81,054, with 3,261 deaths, including six on Saturday. On Saturday, China reported 41 new coronavirus cases for the previous day, all of them imported.
Of all 97 imported cases as of end-Saturday, 92 of them are Chinese nationals and 51 are Chinese students returning from studying abroad, said GaoXiaojun, spokesman for the Beijing Municipal Health Commission during a press conference on Sunday.
The Beijing health commission announced separately on its website it had two more imported cases on Sunday, bringing the city’s total number of imported cases to 99 as of Sunday noon.
China is trying to revive an economy that is widely expected to contract deeply in the current quarter, with life slowly returning to normal in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, albeit with everyone wearing masks in public.
Still, numerous shops and restaurants remain shut – many have gone out of business – and factories and other workplaces are still not operating at full capacity.
On Sunday, a central bank official called for stepped-up global policy coordination to manage the economic impact of the pandemic. He said China’s recent policy measures were gaining traction, and it has capacity for further action.
Chen Yulu, a deputy governor at the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), also said he expects significant improvement in the Chinese economy in the second quarter. And while the virus will continue putting upward pressure on near-term consumer prices, there is no basis for long-term inflation or deflation, he told a news briefing.
Globally, roughly 275,000 people have been infected with the virus, and more than 11,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally, with the number of deaths in Italy recently surpassing those in China.
“Now I think the epidemic has been controlled. But this definitely doesn’t mean that it’s over,” said a 25-year-old woman surnamed He who works in the internet sector and was visiting the vast Summer Palace complex in Beijing on Saturday. “I’m willing to come out today but of course I am still afraid,” she told Reuters. The central province of Hubei, where the outbreak first emerged late last year in its capital Wuhan, reported its fourth straight day of no new cases.
China has used draconian measures to contain the spread of the virus, including locking down Hubei province.