Virus count hits 1,595 with 16 deaths

-Tally keeps increasing as test results arrive
-Federal, provincial governments working hard to enhance testing capacity

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday reported three new deaths from the novel coronavirus in the country, taking the tally to 1595.
According to Commissioner Hazara Syed Zaheerul Islam, the patient was admitted to a local hospital two days ago with symptoms associated with Covid-19.
“The patient was with a preaching mission a week ago,” the commissioner said, adding that 10 others who were part of the gathering had been quarantined at a local hotel.
The other two deaths were reported from Sindh, in Karachi.
Minister of Health and Population Welfare Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said the two Karachi deaths occurred late on March 28.
“We received the lab reports of both patients after they had passed away and we found out that the cause of death in both cases was pneumonia along with COVID-19,” she said.
The patients were 83 and 70 years old, the provincial health minister added.
Pakistan also reported more cases of infections in the country, taking the nationwide tally to 1,542.
Sindh reported 33 new cases on Sunday taking the provincial tally to 502, while Punjab reported 13 new cases to take the provincial tally to 570.
Islamabad recorded four new cases to take the number of confirmed cases to 43 in the federal capital while Gilgit-Baltistan reported five more cases to take the region’s tally to 116.
Azad Jammu and Kashmir also reported four new cases in the region taking the number of confirmed cases to six.
Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases in Balochistan stands at 138.
In the wake of alarming situation emerged after coronavirus outspread across the country, the Balochistan government has decided to open container hospitals and relief and emergency centres to limit the spread of the COVID-19 in the province.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan took the said decision keeping in view the prevailing situation.
According to details, these container hospitals will be equipped with all medical facilities such operation theatres, isolation wards and even residences for doctors and paramedical staff.
They will also have a separate room for pre-burial procedures for deceased patients. These containers will be sent to remote areas of the province in the wake of the pandemic, authorities said.
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said that initially 1,500 container hospitals will be prepared. Paramedics and doctors will also be hired for them.
In the wake of financial crises and strict economic problems for countrymen emerged after coronavirus outspread, the Punjab government has decided to waive off taxes amounting to 18 billion rupees besides distribution of 4000 rupees among 2.5 million families across the province.
Addressing a news conference in Lahore on Sunday, the Chief Minister Usman Ahmad Buzdar said ten billion rupees have been allocated for poor people affected by lockdown in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
He said employment of a large number of people has been affected from coronavirus especially daily wagers.
CM Usman Buzdar also announced that, keeping in view the pandemic, the government has decided to remit 90-day imprisonment of the prisoners in Punjab prisons.
The Pakistani pilgrims who have arrived from Iran and Thailand on Sunday have been sent to quarantine centers after proper screening at airports.
According to details, 63 people who returned from Iran have been shifted to Faisalabad quarantine center amid tight security. Heavy contingents of Pakistan Army and police have been deployed in the area.
On the other hand, the Pakistanis who were stranded in Bangkok from March 21 have also arrived in the country.
The passengers have been taken to the quarantine after screening at Islamabad airport. On the other hand, Pakistan has reported 13 deaths from novel coronavirus while the total number of cases have surged to 1526 as 481 patients have been tested positive for the epidemic in Sindh, 138 in Balochistan, 558 in Punjab, 188 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 116 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 43 in Islamabad and two in Azad Kashmir. The total number of patients who have recovered is 28.