Virus spikes in Sindh as tally jumps to 13,328

-CM Sindh says SOPs for public transport under consideration
-Zafar says local virus spread ratio raises to 80%
-NCOC reviews implementation of Ramazan guidelines

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: The nationwide tally of Covid-19 patients stands at 13,328 with 5,446 cases in Punjab, 4,615 in Sindh, 1,864 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 781 in Balochistan, 318 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 245 in Islamabad and 59 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The virus has claimed at least 277 lives while at least 2,866 coronavirus patients have recovered.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the 383 new coronavirus cases reported in the province during the past 24 hours, was the highest number since February 26, when the first case emerged in Pakistan.
In a video message, the chief minister said: “This is the highest figure ever reported during the 61 days of the Covid-19 emergency.
“This illustrates that the situation is going from bad to worse and that we will have to take extraordinary measures to get it under control.”
He added that 3,028 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, which was the highest number of tests carried out in a single day.
Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah on Sunday said that among overall 383 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, 273 have been reported from Karachi, media reported. In a video statement Sindh chief minister said that 99 fresh cases of coronavirus reported from Karachi’s District Central, 80 cases in District South, 66 in District East, 20 cases from District West, 26 cases in Korangi and 10 cases from District Malir.
Moreover, 17 cases reported in Sukkur, 07 in Hyderabad and four cases at Naushehro Feroz, Syed Murad Ali Shah said. Two cases each reported from Khairpur Mirs, Thatta, Badin and Matyari, while one each from Sanghar, Jamshoro, Dadu and Larkana, the chief minister said. Murad Ali Shah said that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Sindh has reached to 4615, which are 11.2 percent of the total 41,216 tests conducted in the province. In past 24 hours 3,028 tests conducted in Sindh, the CM said.
Three more coronavirus-related deaths were recorded in 24 hours, taking the death toll to 81 in the province.
Moreover, 3662 patients of coronavirus have been under treatment including 2432 have been isolated at homes, the chief minister said. At isolation centres 767 patients have been admitted and 463 under treatment at hospitals, he said.
Earlier, government spokesman Murtaza Wahab said that 70 people have recuperated in the province from the infection, raising the number of people who have recovered thus far to 872. Chief Minister Shah said, “We have granted permission for on line business. People should observe social distancing and wearing masks as new norm of the routine life,” he advised.
Sindh Transport Minister Syed Awais Shah called on Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah here on Sunday to discuss matters related to transporters amid the coronavirus lockdown, news media reported. During the meeting, Awais Shah apprised CM Murad about the reservations of the transporters and problems being faced by them during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Murad Ali Shah directed the Sindh transport minister to formulate the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the resumption of public transport. “Government will resolve all reservations of transporters on a priority basis,” Murad assured transporters. Awais Shah said that transporters fully cooperated with the government during the lockdown in the province due to coronavirus. He further said that SOPs will be formulated with the consultation of transporters for the resumption of public transport. It may be noted that President Karachi Transport Ittehad Irshad Bukhari had given the ultimatum to the Sindh government to relax the rules for them in the lockdown within three days.
“We will wait for three days for Sindh government’s decision, after then will park the vehicles on the roads”, Irshad Bukhari was quoted as saying. On March 23, Sindh Transport Minister Awais Shah had ordered a ban on intra-city as well as inter-city public transport across the province. Buses, taxis, rickshaws and online cab services were also suspended across the province. As the provincial minister had asked people to stay at home, the only means of transport left for citizens was private vehicles. Even then, only two people are allowed to travel in a vehicle together, or three in case of a medical emergency. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Affairs Dr Zafar Mirza said on Sunday that Pakistan Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) was providing medical supplies directly to the hospitals to deal with coronavirus pandemic, media reported.
“Details of all the supplies from the PDMA are uploaded on its website’s supply section,” he said. The special assistant said that they have provided the provincial authorities with over thousand addresses over suspicions that people living in there might have contracted the virus. “The provincial authorities will conduct tests of these people,” he said.
Zafar Mirza said that overall 144,365 virus tests have been performed across the country with 6,218 performed during the last 24 hours. He said that the number of coronavirus patients soared to 12, 723 after a raise of 783 patients in last 24 hours. “Overall 269 people succumbed to the virus while 2886 people have recovered from it,” he said. Giving a province wise break-down of the cases, Zafar Mirza said that 5378 people tested positive for the virus in Punjab, followed by 4232 in Sindh, 1793 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 722 in Balochistan, 235 in Islamabad, 308 in Gilgit Baltistan and 55 cases in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
He said that 80 percent of the cases in Pakistan were from local transmission.
Earlier in the day, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) reviewed the implementation of Ramazan guidelines, SME package, health situation and data integration. The meeting, held in Islamabad, was chaired by Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar. Asad Umar said the provinces may be asked to give feedback on compliance by people on Ramazan guidelines tomorrow. The forum dilated upon health situation and future course of action vis-a-vis coronavirus.
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Sunday reviewed the implementation of Ramazan guidelines, SME package, health situation and data integration. The meeting, held in Islamabad, was chaired by Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar. Asad Umar said the provinces may be asked to give feedback on compliance by people on Ramazan guidelines tomorrow. Minister for Interior Ijaz Shah said population in urban areas needs to be continuously educated to follow the guidelines and not operate business as usual during Ramazan. He said population in villages is observing guidelines which is encouraging.
He urged the political leadership particularly at the district and union council level to play role in educating masses for public safety and well-being. It must be noted that the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Pakistan has jumped to 12,723 after the emergence of new infections with 269 deaths reported so far, according to National Command and Operation Center’s statistics.
Of the total confirmed cases, Punjab has reported 5,378 cases, followed by Sindh where the tally of such cases stands at 4,232. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has recorded 1,793 cases, Balochistan 722, Islamabad 235, Gilgit Baltistan 308, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir 55.
The death toll has risen to 269, including 15 fatalities reported across the country over the past 24 hours.
Police authorities in Punjab on Sunday said that 21 of its officials and personnel have contracted coronavirus, media reported.
According to Additional Inspector General of Police (AIG) operations, overall 60 police personnel were tested for the virus and of them 21 have thus far tested positive.
One of the police personnel deployed in Central Police Office also contracted the virus, he said. He said that they await the results of other personnel to confirm the virus presence. It is pertinent to mention here that the cops dealing with masses are at a greater risk to contract coronavirus and incidents of them contracting the infection have been reported from various parts of the country.
On April 03, personal protective equipment (PPE), masks and hand sanitizers were distributed among the police personnel in Lahore as the city witnessed most cases of coronavirus in Punjab province. Superintendent of Police (SP) Headquarters Jameel Zafar said that 40,000 masks were distributed among the policemen in the city while 5000 PPE were also arranged on the directions of CCPO Lahore for personnel performing special duties and involved in snap-checking during lockdown.
“We have also provided the police force with 15000 bottles of sanitizers,” he said adding that 50,000 hand gloves and 500 glasses were also arranged for personnel deployed at sensitive locations in the city.