COVID-19: Pakistan reports 4,489 coronavirus cases; takes 63 lives
LAHORE: The confirmed coronavirus infected people in Pakistan on Thursday reached 4,489, whereas the death toll has surged to 63 from the deadly virus, according to the national dashboard on COVID-19 cases latest statistics.
According to details, 2,241 patients have been tested positive for the epidemic in Punjab, 1,128 in Sindh, 560 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 213 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 213 in Balochistan, 102 in Islamabad and 33 in Azad Kashmir.
So far, 572 patients have recovered in the country while 25 are in critical condition. Meanwhile, a total of 63 deaths have been reported due to coronavirus.
Easing of lockdown
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that decision about easing the countrywide lockdown will be taken after seeking inputs from all the provinces on April 14.
The Prime Minister said that government to benefit from the Chinese expertise to control further spread of coronavirus in Pakistan.
Bara Kahu de-sealed
The local authorities on Thursday have completely de-sealed the Islamabad’s Bara Kahu area that was closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
According to details, all the streets and mosques in the area have been opened after decrease in coronavirus cases. The residents have also been permitted to go to their houses.
In the second phase, the authorities have decided to de-seal Shahzad Town.
No decision for reopening schools
The government has warned for the severe consequences of further spread of coronavirus pandemic, saying that neither any life nor any employment will be left if the country face spike in the number of COVID-19 infections.
The private school owners have no right to question anyone for his disease or details of unemployment.
All private schools have been bound to give 20 per cent concession in fee amid coronaivurs. Schools have been bound not to charge more than 80 per cent of the fees from the parents.
The schools cannot charge 20 percent fees in any other form neither can charge in installments.
Blood plasma treatment
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) on Thursday allowed clinical trials of blood plasma therapy to treat coronavirus patients in the country.
Plasma, the fluid in blood teeming with antibodies post-illness, has already proven effective in small studies to treat infectious diseases including Ebola and SARS.
Local manufacturing of Chloroquine
Prime Minister Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza has informed that the DRAP has allowed local production of the raw material of Chloroquine to tackle the coronavirus.
The SAPM Dr Zafar Mirza said that the DRAP has also permitted clinical trials of plasma therapy for the treatment of coronaviurs.
He informed that the DRAP has given several permissions related to the treatment of the coronavirus which also included the clinical trials of the country made ventilators.
Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) has manufactured the ventilators which are being tested before its use.
Dr Zafar Mirza also informed that the health ministry has also permitted more than 50 companies to manufacture hand sanitizers for a period of three months for the prevention of the coronavirus.
He added that the companies having licenses from the ministry will manufacture hand sanitizers under the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Rs14 bln Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme
Prime Minister Imran Khan said that a total of Rs12,000 will be distributed among 12 million families at 17,000 different point from April 9. He assured that distribution of funds to the deserving families will be totally merit-based, transparent and non-political what may come.
The prime minister maintained that, Rs144 billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, was free of any political influence as the data was collected digitally.
Imran Khan went on to say that the Corona Tigers Relief Force has two main purposes: to identify people who are needy and to identify people who need to be put under quarantine.
“The force volunteers will try to locate people who are unable to register through SMS for the cash disbursement programme,” he said.
Warm weather won’t slow COVID-19
State Minister for Health Dr Zafar Mirza clarified that warmer weather will not affect the spread of coronavirus.
Talking to media outside Supreme Court, Dr Zafar Mirza rejected the theory that warmer weather slow or stop the spread of coronavirus and said that government is trying to stop the spread of the pandemic.
He also said that deaths and infections of coronavirus in Pakistan are lower than projected numbers.
China reassured that its huge support to Pakistan will continue and there will be no shortage of medical equipment to combat COVID-19, reports Gwadar Pro App on Thursday.
Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing said that “it is Pakistan that China has launched most aids to control the deadly vitrus.” Likewise, the National Disaster Management Authority informed that China made a huge contribution in medical relief assistance to Pakistan amid the pandemic outbreak and China made 80% of the total aid Pakistan has received so far.
Since the outbreak of the epidemic, all sectors of China have been continuously supporting Pakistan. On Mar 31st, Beijing Lianxin Charity Foundation donated a batch of medical supplies to the Pakistani embassy in Beijing. Those supplies were purchased with funds which were voluntarily donated by Chinese citizens. The youngest donors are only 13 years old.
Amidst those supplies, the TCM oral liquid which belongs to traditional Chinese medicine with the effect of eliminating phlegm and relieving cough, attracted ambassador’s attention.
Hair Group (Pakistan) donated 50,000 medical masks to local government. Prime Minister Imran Khan received them. Haier Pakistan also comes to help Pakistan to prevent the loss of precious human lives.
It is reported that the company is urgently arranging procurement and transport of the second batch of supplies within the next few days to distribute to frontline hospitals and medical workers.
Basha project launched by Zhong Mei Engineering Group donated a batch of medical supplies to Chilas city and Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA). The aids including 14,000 medical masks, 240 N95 masks, 300 pairs of medical gloves, as well as anti-epidemic medical devices such as protective clothing, medical infrared thermometers, mercury thermometers and alcohol pads.
Meanwhile, Guizhou University (GZU) donated a batch of supplies such as medical masks, gloves, infrared thermometers and medicines.
PIA relief flights
The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has increased its relief flights bringing in and taking out essential medical equipment and passengers to and from the across the globe, according to sources.
The Pakistan International Airlines spokesperson said that a PIA aircraft will bring in Pakistanis stranded in Denmark, Malaysia, Singapore, Azerbaijan, France, Japan, and Thailand back home at earliest within this week.
According to details, the national carrier will continue its flight operation from April 10 to 13 to bring back the stranded Pakistanis from abroad.
IMF financial support
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) to provide $1.4 billion to Pakistan next week, to get some budgetary support in the wake of the economic slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Pakistani government had last month, requested the IMF to consider giving financial assistance “a low-cost, fast-disbursing loan under the fund’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to deal with the adverse economic impact of COVID-19 and provide financial support to affected families and businesses”.
“We have been working with the Pakistani authorities since the request was placed … This $1.4 billion disbursement is scheduled to happen next week,” Teresa Daban Sanchez, the IMF Resident Representative in Pakistan said in her statement.
UN appeals for global ceasefire
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday reiterated his call for global ceasefire including at Line of Control (LoC) amid coronavirus pandemic.
Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman to UN Secretary-General, during his regular press briefing in New York said that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ recent appeal for a ceasefire in world’s conflict zones also applies to the Line of Control in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir.
He said there is no region in the world, in which the Secretary-General’s call for global ceasefire does not apply.
“That is clear. It is global and it means global,” he added.
In an appeal issued on March 23, the UN chief urged warring parties across the world to lay down their weapons in support of the bigger battle against COVID-19: the common enemy that is now threatening all of humankind.
Pakistan shoots down Indian quadcopter
An Indian spy quadcopter on Thursday violated the Pakistani airspace in Sankh Sector along the Line of Control (LoC), according to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
“In this provocative act, Indian quadcopter intruded 600 meters inside Pakistan’s territory for conducting surveillance,” the ISPR said in a statement. “This blatant act was aggressively responded to by Pakistan Army troops shooting down Indian quadcopter. Such unwarranted acts by Indian Army are clear violation of established norms, existing Air Agreement between two countries and reflect Indian Army’s consistent disregard to Ceasefire Understanding of 2003,” it added.