Pakistan on Monday recorded its biggest single-day spike in coronavirus infections, taking the tally to 184, amid reports of ineffective quarantine procedures many of those are reported to be among those who had been held at a quarantine camp at the country’s Taftan border crossing with Iran.
Dera Ghazi Khan authorities confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus on Monday, raising the provincial count to two cases. The patient, who was among the 814 persons quarantined at a facility in DG Khan, had arrived from the Taftan border. DG Khan Health CEO said that the patient, a resident of Layyah, had been shifted to Indus Hospital Muzaffargarh.
DG Khan Commissioner Naseem Sadiq said that another five patients, suspected of having contracted the virus, had also been shifted to Indus Hospital Muzaffargarh
With an addition of 47 new cases, the tally of coronavirus cases in Sindh reached 150. According to a spokesperson for the Sindh health department, 119 of the cases arrived in Sukkur from Taftan, 30 are from Karachi while one is from Hyderabad. Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab said that the “exponential increase is largely due to the recent inflow of people brought in from Taftan after a purported quarantine”.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah directed the provincial police chief to carry out raids on stores and pharmacies that are selling overpriced tissue papers, hand sanitisers and anti-septics.
The Sindh government is also contemplating closing restaurants and tea shops by 9 pm, as the number of coronavirus cases in the province continues to rise. “I am now adopting a zero-tolerance policy,” Chief Minister Shah was quoted as saying in a statement by his media consultant. “If our people stay out and visit eateries until late at night, I will shut down restaurants and hotels,” Shah added.
However, as per the government data, no deaths due to the coronavirus have been recorded.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also chaired a meeting of the country’s national coordination committee on COVID-19. No major announcements were made following the meeting.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) also reported its first cases of coronavirus, confirming 15 positive cases. KP Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra tweeted that 15 out of 19 individuals who arrived in the province from Taftan have tested positive for the virus.
“They are being well looked after in quarantine in an isolated facility in Dera Ismail Khan,” he wrote.
With the coronavirus scare intensifying due to the sudden spike in the number of infections in Pakistan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said that the government has extended its emergency measures, including travel restrictions and a ban on public gatherings to the entire country to tackle the coronavirus.
Addressing a press conference, Dr Mirza said that there was no immediate need to lockdown cities in the country as the situation is “still under control”.
He assured the public that the current preventive measures adopted by the health ministry are sufficient to control the spread of the novel coronavirus in Pakistan, adding, that measures would be tightened up if the situation turns more serious.