Spike takes virus tally over 20,000

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-Overall nearly 5,150 recovered as Punjab reports record single-day cases
-Asad Umar says COVID-19 in Pakistan not as fatal as in other parts of the world
-Hints at strategy review and new plan before 9th
-Sindh worried over rising local virus cases despite encouraging recovery ratio

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: The coronavirus count reached 20,077 in Pakistan as more cases were reported during the past 24 hours in the country, according to the latest statistics released by National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday.
The nationwide tally of Covid-19 patients stands at 20,130 with 7,494 cases in Punjab, 7,465 in Sindh, 3,129 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 1,218 in Balochistan, 364 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 393 in Islamabad and 67 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The virus has claimed at least 459 lives while at least 5,114 coronavirus patients have recovered. 13,846 patients are still under treatment in hospitals and quarantine facilities across the country. The country has conducted overall 203025 coronavirus tests including 8,716, in the last 24 hours. Prime Minister Imran on Saturday launched a web portal supporting individuals rendered jobless due to the pandemic.
Speaking at a ceremony, he said that the program would benefit those who have lost their jobs because of coronavirus pandemic.
“All those who have lost jobs because of Covid-19 pandemic, they should go to the website and register themselves. Every individual will be provided Rs12000 through Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program,” he added.
The prime minister said that Rs80 billion have been disbursed under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program to 6.8 million poor and deserving families over a period of three weeks. “It is the first time in the country’s history that such a hefty amount has been disbursed in a short span of time”.
He thanked everyone who had donated to the Corona Relief Fund, saying all the money will be audited and the nation would be provided details. “Coronavirus Relief Fund is being monitored by myself. I want to assure people that the funds would be utilized in a transparent manner,” said PM Imran. He once again appealed to the people to demonstrate discipline and follow precautionary measures to support the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. As many as 683 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have emerged in Punjab, taking the provincial tally to 7,494, the Primary and Healthcare Department said on Sunday. The health department said six more people died from the deadly virus during the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 121. 2,591 of the total patients have recovered thus far, it added. 22 Covid-19 patients are in critical condition, whereas 92,622 tests have been conducted to date.
Earlier today, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said the provincial government has worked out standard operating procedures (SOPs) to allow businesses to operate in phases amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking to a delegation of traders and industrialists who called on him in the provincial capital, he assured them of resolving their issues. He maintained a common man will be able to eke out a living once businesses open. The chief minister said it is the commoners who bore the brunt of the coronavirus lockdowns. “Our objective is to compensate for hardships facing the common man,” he said. Local transmissions of the novel coronavirus are “still on the rise” said Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said Sunday noting, however, that the recovery ratio of coronavirus patients “seems to be encouraging”.
Over the past 24 hours, 214 patients recovered while another 363 tested positive. In a statement issued Sunday from the Chief Minister House here in the metropolis, Shah said: “For the first time, the recovery ratio seems to be encouraging, but local spread cases are still on the rise.” He noted that 363 (11.9%) of the 3,032 new tests carried out over the past 24 hours were diagnosed as positive. To date, the Sindh health department has tested 64,052 patients, of which 7,465 (11.7%) were positive, he said. Shah explained that eight patients succumbed to the novel coronavirus, taking the death toll to 130 (1.7%) of the total patients. Given the lower ratio of those who passed away, he said: “This shows that our recovery ratio is comparatively better.” Of the 5,780 patients under treatment, 4,638 were in self-isolation, 615 at isolation centres, and 527 at various hospitals across Sindh. The chief minister added that 17 of the 76 patients in critical condition were on ventilators.
He underlined that Larkana and Ghotki “have produced more cases of local transmission”, with 30 cases in the former and 21 in the latter. Hyderabad had 13 cases, Shaheed Benazirabad had 13, Khairpur had 10, Jacobabad had nine, Sukkur had eight, Matiari had two, and Dadu had one. Of the 231 cases in Karachi, Shah said 67 cases were in East District, 55 in South, 45 in Central, 28 in West, 21 in Korangi, and 15 in Malir.
The chief minister said the local spread was quite worrisome. “We have tried to contain it but people do not care and violate the SOPs [standard operating procedures] and ignore social distancing,” he stressed. The epidemic can only be defeated when “everyone of us takes the responsibility” of securing themselves and their family. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Sunday said that 363 new cases of coronavirus were reported over the past 24 hours in the province, pushing the tally to 7,465.
“We conducted 3,032 tests yesterday and 363 of them found positive,” chief minister of Sindh said in a statement. Eight more patients of the virus died today and the overall death toll of the disease in the province has reached 130, Murad Ali Shah said. Murad Ali Shah said that Sindh has overall conducted 61020 tests of novel coronavirus disease with 7465 positive cases. From fresh 363 positive cases diagnosed in the province, 231 were reported in Karachi, he said. CM Murad said 214 patients were cured of the deadly disease over the previous 24 hours, taking the number of patients recovered to 1,555. He said that 76 patients are in critical condition, of them 15 are on ventilators.
Murad Ali Shah appealed the people to follow the principles of healthcare, “as we could defeat the pandemic with mutual cooperation.” The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) health minister Taimur Khan Jhagra confirmed on Sunday that 222 new cases and eight deaths due to coronavirus were reported during the last 24 hours which took the dealth toll to 180 in the province, newsmen reported.
The health minister, Taimur Khan Jhagra, said that eight more people lost their lives due to coronavirus, taking the tally to 180 in KP. He said that the total count of coronavirus cases in KP reached 3,129. 811 patients have recovered from the virus including the 83 people declared clear of the infection today. The deputy commissioner of Khyber, Mehmood Aslam, told media that 11 nationals have been sent to their homes after they tested negative for coronaviurs.
The patients had returned from Afghanistan. He added that the repatriation process for Pakistanis trapped in Afghanistan is continued and all returnees will be tested for COVID-19 upon their arrival in Pakistan.
A 53-year-old patient from North Waziristan died of coronavirus who had been taken to a quarantine facility in Bannu. The deputy commissioner of Bannu said that the death toll reached three.
Minister for Planning and Development, Asad Umar has assured to take all the decisions regarding relaxation in lockdown after 9th of this month in consensus with all the provinces. Briefing the media persons here on Sunday, he said the National Coordination Committee on Coronavirus will take the decision about the future course of action. Asad Umar said the decisions will be taken in such a manner that they do not paralyze our healthcare system. He said the restrictions will be eased gradually in order to provide livelihoods to the people.
He said we have significantly enhanced the capacity of our healthcare system. We currently have 1,400 ventilators for Coronavirus patients and 900 more will be added in two months. He said at present there are 35 Coronavirus patients on ventilators. He said the country has now the capacity to develop medical equipment and soon the domestic production of ventilators will start. The Minister said the country has fifty five functional labs and we have the capacity to carry out over 14000 corona tests on daily basis. The Minister for Planning said the testing, tracking and quarantine system has been made functional and one saw its manifestation recently in two sectors of the federal capital. Asad Umar expressed satisfaction that the coronavirus has not proved to be as contagious for Pakistan when compared with Europe and the United States. He said the fatality rate in Pakistan is far less compared to the United States, the UK and Spain. He, however stressed that we have to adopt the precautionary measures in order to avoid it getting contagious.
Asad Umar said that the economic impact of the lockdown on Pakistan is serious than the western countries.Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Saturday said that the coronavirus had “not been as fatal in Pakistan” as it has been on other countries, especially in the West.