COVID-19: Pakistan reports 66 deaths and 4,695 confirmed coronavirus cases
LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is now reporting 4,695 confirmed coronavirus infected people across the country whereas the death toll has surged to 66 from the deadly COVID-19 virus, according to the National Command and Operation Centre’s latest statistics.
More than 100,000 people have died and more than 1.7 million have been sickened by COVID-19 across the globe, the infection caused by the deadly virus. Above 200 new cases of the COVID-19 were reported across the country during the last 24 hours. So far 727 patients have recovered from the deadly virus, whereas the death toll has surged to 66.
Four more patients died yesterday due to novel coronavirus related complications while 31 currently battle life and death situation at their respective healthcare centers.
According to the breakup of the cases province-wise Punjab tops the list with 2,287 cases, while Sindh has recorded 1,214 coronavirus cases so far.
Some 620 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 219 in Balochistan, 107 in Islamabad, 215 in Gilgit Baltistan and 33 cases were reported in Azad Kashmir.
Overall 42 per cent of the cases are said to be of local transmission in the country while rest are of the nationals coming from abroad.
The health authorities have overall conducted 44,896 tests including 2,737 tests during the last 24 hours.
Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash program grabs global attention
American news-based pay television channel CNN (Cable News Network) has reported Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash program which will pay close to $1 billion dollars to the country’s poorest in an effort to counter the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis.
CNN has highlighted the Ehsaas Emergency Cash program stating that it is a “financial assistance effort to assist parts of the population that have been worst hit by the ongoing lockdown in the country, according to Sania Nishtar, special assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety.
“The program, which aims to cover 12 million families, is meant to assist them to buy rations so that they don’t go hungry.
“Authorities have used SMS messages and National Identity Card numbers from the country’s extensive National Database & Registration Authority to identify and contact eligible families.”
Coronavirus affects young people
Prime Minister Special Assistant on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza has dispelled the impression that coronavirus cannot affect young people, while addressing media briefing along with Special Assistant on National Security Division Dr Moeed Yusuf in Islamabad on Friday.
He said that more than 4,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan are less than 50 years of age, which is alarming.
Dr Zafar Mirza further said that 727 patients have recovered so far, 66 patients have died, while 45 are in critical condition.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Moeed Yusuf said the government has decided to restore private flight operation within country, which was earlier suspended due to the deadly coronavirus.
He said the government is chalking out mechanism to bring back Pakistanis stranded in Corona-virus hit Afghanistan.
Dr Moeed Yusuf further said that 2,000 Pakistani nationals stranded in different countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Singapore and Thailand, will be brought back to their homeland through special flights within next few days.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday has said overseas Pakistanis who have always significantly contributed to the national economy will not be left alone in this difficult hour.
The foreign minister said the lockdown and closure of businesses in the gulf countries in the wake of coronavirus have rendered many of our overseas Pakistanis without livelihood.
He said the government is fully cognizant of the problems of overseas Pakistanis including those stranded in different countries.
He said the prime minister has constituted under him a committee which has framed recommendations to ensure an organized and careful repatriation of these Pakistanis.
The Foreign Minister that sixteen hundred stranded Pakistanis have been brought back whilst thirty six thousand to forty thousand are still awaiting the return to the homeland.
He said our missions and consulates abroad are extending every possible assistance to the stranded Pakistanis. He said all resources are being used to provide them accommodation, food and meet their other needs.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Friday took first suo motu notice over ‘insufficient facilities’ in the country to deal with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
A five-member larger bench headed by CJP Gulzar will commence hearing into the matter on April 13.
CJP Justice Gulzar also issued notices to the attorney general, health secretary and interior secretary. Besides, the chief justice also summoned all the chief secretaries and advocate generals of the four provinces.
Justice Gulzar also sought details of facilities in medical institutions and hospitals regarding coronavirus.
Medical relief equipment
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on Friday received the first consignment of the medical relief equipment, procured with the financial assistance from the National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) amid pandemic outbreak in the country.
The consignment, which reached Islamabad airport from China on Friday, included medical equipment such as PCR testing kits, mobile X-ray machines, Chinese KN95 masks, disposable medical masks and water-impermeable surgical gowns.
The NDMA is procuring health products in a phased manner. Till date, the authority had procured 36,000 screening kits, 14 X-ray machines, 196 clinical ICU ventilators, 150,000 KN95 masks, 2 million disposable medical masks, 40 large biosafety cabinets, 30,000 water-impermeable surgical gowns, besides PPE, under the grant financing from the NDRMF.
Corona Relief Tiger Force
Prime Minister Imran Khan has extended the deadline for registration of the volunteer force by five days due to interest evinced by youth to register themselves for the Corona Relief Tiger Force set up by him.
The prime minister has recorded message in this regard will be telecast shortly.
Thus far, more than 800,000 persons have signed up to the volunteer force to assist the government in its relief efforts. Prime Minister Imran Khan said the country needs doctors and paramedics most in this testing time and asked the youth associated with the health sector to sign up to the Corona Relief Tiger Force.
Isolated are safe
Prime Minister Imran Khan has predicted a rise in coronavirus cases in coming days and said that those people living in isolation will remain safe from the virus.
PM Imran Khan, while addressing a telethon of a private news channel for Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Fund, expressed fear that the virus cases will increase in coming day.
He said the people staying isolated were safe and the virus spread will slow down after we adopt precautionary measures.
The premier said that different countries are witnessing positive results of lockdown and he believes that lockdowns create heavy losses to the states. China had imposed a complete lockdown of Wuhan to control the virus.
PM Khan said nobody could predict the situation after two weeks. He said the federal government is utilising all available resources to contain COVID-19.
“Our health system is very weak and we are well aware regarding the shortage of ventilators in our hospitals.” The premier also expressed fears that negligence will create COVID-19 situation like Europe in the country.
“The government will distribute Rs144 billion funds among 12 million deserving families and we are collecting funds to expand financial assistance to more people.” He added that the available resources were however not enough to fulfill requirements of all needy people despite the provision of $8 billion worth financial relief package by the federal government. Moreover, the government is also going to resume activities of construction sector to reduce the impact on the national economy after coronavirus crisis.
While detailing the transparency of the expenditures of relief funds, PM Khan said the database of needy people is compiled from the details of National Database Registration Authority (NADRA).
He also said that a mechanism is being prepared for donors to keep full records of funds and spot areas facing crisis amid coronavirus. The premier has also paid rich tribute to the health workers fighting the coronavirus as front line warriors. He said that the nation will defeat the pandemic through exhibiting unity in a difficult time.