- Coronavirus has claimed 6th life in Pakistan
- The new death was reported in Quetta, Baluchistan of a 65-year-old patient
- Sindh and GB have announced a complete lockdown starting today
- PM has urged people to self-quarantine to fight the pandemic
- Sindh, Baluchistan, and Punjab have also requested army deployment
- Number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan has risen to 875
- So far, 6 deaths have been reported in Pakistan: 1 in Sindh, 3 in KP, 1 in GB, 1 in Baluchistan
- Sindh remains the worst-hit with 394 confirmed cases so far
- Punjab has reported 246 cases, Baluchistan 110, KP 38, AJK/GB 72, and Islamabad 15
Coronavirus has claimed 6th life in Pakistan with the latest death reported in Quetta. According to Baluchistan govt. spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani, the patient was 65 years old and lost his fight against the deadly virus during treatment at Quetta’s Fatima Jinnah Chest Hospital.
The 5th death was recorded on Sunday from Gilgit Baltistan where Dr. Osama Riaz, who was screening pilgrims returning to Pakistan from Iran, contracted the virus and succumbed to it. Of the 4 previous deaths, 1 was reported in Sindh and 3 in KP.
New confirmed coronavirus cases are being reported in bulks. 41 new cases in Sindh and 70 new cases in Punjab were reported on Sunday in single goes. PM Imran Khan, in his address to the nation, ruled out a blanket lockdown but urged citizens to self-quarantine to fight the pandemic.
Sindh, however, announced a 15-day near-complete lockdown beginning today with movement restricted to need-basis only. All social and commercial activity is suspended during the lockdown with a few exceptions such as grocery buying and hospital visits.
Following Sindh, GB also announced ‘home-lookdown’ starting Monday (today) as the province’s tally tops 70 with one death recorded so far. Sindh, Baluchistan, and Punjab have already requested the interior ministry for army deployment to fight the disease and maintain the law-and-order situation.
Here are the latest updates.
NEW CASES: Punjab 21, Sindh 42, KP 6, Baluchistan 2
Punjab has recorded 21 new cases, taking the provincial tally to 246.
Sindh reported 42 new cases with the total confirmed cases in the province jumping to 394. Of the new cases, 3 were reported in Karachi while 39 were reported in Sukkur.
6 new cases were added to the KP tally which now totals at 38. Baluchistan also reported 2 new cases taking the province’s total to 110.
DG ISPR Holds Press Conference
Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar held a media briefing over the latest coronavirus-related developments in Pakistan. He spoke about the challenge at hand and how the army deployment was requested by the civil government to help the country fight the COVID-19 spread.
He added that during the army deployment, measures taken by the civil governments will be ensured. These measures include:
- Food and medical supply factories will remain open
- Schools will remain closed
- All gatherings will be suspended
- Shopping malls, restaurants, cinemas, wedding halls, swimming pools, and non-essential movement will be prohibited
- Inter-city transport will only remain open for food supply chains
- All public transport will be suspended in cities
- All airports will remain closed for international flights till 4 April
- Petrol pumps and fruit/vegetable markets will open on days notified by the provincial govts.
“It’s time to make tough decisions on individual, family, community, and society levels,” he said. “All borders have already been closed as a precautionary measure, but the real border is between man and coronavirus that we need to control,” he added.
DG ISPR Press Conference – 23 Mar 2020 https://t.co/gM0i0V9mYp
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) March 23, 2020
Coronavirus Epidemic: Army Deployed Countrywide to Help Civil Administration
According to a notification from the interior ministry, the army is being deployed across Pakistan including federal capital Islamabad, Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, KP, and AJK/GB to help civil administration fight the virus’ spread.
The decision has been made under Section 245 (functions of armed forces) of the Constitution and Section 131(A) (power to use military force for public security and maintenance of law and order) of the CrPC.
AJK Joins Sindh & Punjab in Lockdown
After Sindh and Punjab, AJK has also announced complete lockdown in the region for three weeks.
During the lockdown, restrictions will include:
- No needless travel or public exposure
- Suspension of public transport
- Special passes for unavoidable travel
- One person in a family to buy supplies
- Requirement for people to carry CNICs
- Emergency services to resume
- Journalists to be issued special passes
Saeed Ghani Tests Positive for COVID-19
گذشتہ روز میں نے کورونا وائرس کا ٹیسٹ کروایا جسکی رپورٹ مثبت آئی ہے تاحال جو Symptoms اس وائرس کے بتائے جاتے ہیں ان میں سے مجھے کچھ محسوس نہیں ہورہا اور میں خود کو بالکل صحتمند محسوس کررہا ہوں اور اپنی ذمہ داریاں گھر پر isolation میں رہ کر ادا کررہا ہوں۔ شہری بھی گھروں پر رہیں pic.twitter.com/2vzS7qt0SY
— Senator Saeed Ghani (@SaeedGhani1) March 23, 2020
14-Day ‘Partial Lockdown’ Announced in Punjab
CM Punjab Usman Buzdar has announced a 14-day partial lockdown in the province.
During the lockdown, a majority of social and commercial activities will remain suspended and pillion riding will also be banned across the province.
Sindh Govt. to Disburse Pensions Early to Avoid Crowding
According to a notification issued by the Secretary Finance Sindh, the govt. will disburse pensions early to void crowding amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Govt of Sindh Pensioners can collect pensions from banks 25th march onwards, to avoid crowding on 1st April. Secrerary Finance GoS pic.twitter.com/4KPqel9tiz
— GOS-COVID19 (@19sindh) March 23, 2020
Even if it’s Contained, COVID-19 is Quite Likely to Come Back: BBC
According to a BBC report, COVID-19 is quite likely to come back even if it’s contained because it is spread widely now.
Another likelihood is that it may not be contained and becomes ‘something that goes through the population and becomes part of the panel of viruses that causes respiratory infections every winter.’
“What we know is that it’s something spreading very rapidly now and we are going to need to have a vaccine against it,” says the report.
Scientists are rushing to find a vaccine but it’s likely to take a long time to develop. Some are hoping it will be ready in months, but others think next year’s most likely.
— BBC World Service (@bbcworldservice) March 21, 2020
COVID-19 Detected in 5 More Tableeghi Jamaat Members in Islamabad
5 more Tableeghi Jamaat members have tested positive for coronavirus in Islamabad’s Bhara Kahu area.
Yesterday, a member of the Jamaat, who was a foreigner, had also tested positive for the virus which led the administration to shut two mosques where the ijtema had taken place.
Disinfecting the mosque. Terrible lapse and criminal carelessness on part of the Khateeb and Tableeghi jamat. They knew that one of them had symptoms and they kept on roaming around https://t.co/LhaCyCsFYF pic.twitter.com/uWOPKNYrsk
— Deputy Commissioner Islamabad (@dcislamabad) March 22, 2020
Here’s How Pakistan’s First COVID-19 Fatality May Have Exposed Thousands to the Virus
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 23, 2020
PTA Directs Telecom Operators to Replace Caller Tunes with Information Messages
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has directed telecom operators to replace the caller tunes with information messages comprising precautionary and preventive measures to help fight the spread of the pandemic.
KP Reports another COVID-19 Positive
Another COVID-19 case has emerged in KP. According to Lady Reading Hospital spokesperson Mohammad Asim, the patient had returned from the UK and was now under treatment at the hospital.
21-Day Curfew Imposed in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has issued a curfew order to limit the spread of Novel Coronavirus from 7 pm until 6 am for 21 days starting on the evening of Monday 23 March (today).
According to Saudi Press Agency, ’employees of the vital sectors of the public and private sectors whose work requires continued performance’ will be exempt from the curfew.
Coronavirus Transmission through Banknotes Has No Particular Significance: German Disease Expert
Handling banknotes doesn’t pose a particular risk of contracting coronavirus, the head of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases said on Wednesday.
“(Virus) transmission through banknotes has no particular significance,” RKI head Lothar Wieler told Reuters, adding that droplets from infected individuals were the main infection risk.
His remarks appeared to contradict those of World Health Organisation (WHO) officials who have advised people to wash their hands after handling banknotes.
Islamabad Reports 4 New Cases
4 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Islamabad by the National Institute of Health (NIH).
This Brings Islamabad’s confirmed cases to 15 and the national tally to 803.
Baluchistan Reports 1st Coronavirus Death, Country’s 6th
Baluchistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani has revealed that a coronavirus patient has died during treatment.
The patient was 65 and lost his fight against the disease at Quetta’s Fatima Jinnah Chest Hospital.
65 years old Corona patient died at Fatima Jinnah Chest Hospital in Quetta.
— Liaquat Shahwani (@LiaquatShahwani) March 22, 2020
75 US Embassy Staff Members Leave Pakistan
A group of 75 staff members of the United States embassy in Islamabad has departed for Georgia, US, aboard a special flight from the Islamabad International Airport.
11 New Cases Reported in Sindh
Meeran Yousuf, the media coordinator of the health minister, informed last night that 11 new cases had been detected in Sindh.
All of the 7 reported in Karachi were locally transmitted. 1 was reported from Dadu while 11 in Sukkur, with all 12 having recently travelled to Iran.
Karachi, Sukkur Airports to Shut for Domestic Flights
The Civil Aviation Authority has announced the closure of Karachi and Sukkar airports for domestic flights.
The closure will begin from March 24 and will be for an ‘indefinite’ period.
Punjab Suspends Metrobus Service
Metrobus service across Punjab has been suspended temporarily as part of the province’s efforts to curb the coronavirus spread.
KP Reports No New Cases on Sunday
No new COVID-19 cases were reported in KP on Sunday.
No new positive cases of #COVIDー19 were reported today in KP. Our tally of confirmed cases remains at 31. 43 new suspected cases were recorded and 73 suspected cases have been cleared till now. Results of rest are awaited. #KPFightsCorona pic.twitter.com/aIuaAKEjzA
— Health Department KP (@HealthKPGovt) March 22, 2020
4 New Coronavirus Cases in Baluchistan
The new numbers released by Baluchistan’s health department indicate 4 new confirmed cases.
This take the provincial tally to 108 so far.
Sindh Reports 4th Recovery
Sindh Health Department has informed the recovery of the 4th COVID-19 patient. The recovered person is a resident of Karachi and has tested negative twice for the virus.
— Health and Population Welfare Department, Sindh (@SindhHealthDpt) March 22, 2020
Section 144 Imposed in Islamabad
کروناسے بچاؤکے لئے وزیراعظم کے احکامات کے تحت اسلام آباد میں دفعہ 144 نافذ کردی گئی۔ تمام ریستوران،فوڈ مراکز اور کیفے بند رہیں گے۔ٹیک اوے/ ہوم ڈلیوری جاری رہے گی۔ ۸بجے تک تمام دکانیں بند کر دی جائیں گی۔ فارمیسی، کلینکس،گروسری سٹورز، بیکری، تندور، اور پٹرول پمپ وغیرہ کھلے رہیں گے pic.twitter.com/8sEJYOZLqD
— Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan (@Dr_FirdousPTI) March 22, 2020
Sindh Goes Into Lockdown
As announced, Sindh has gone into a near-complete lockdown with movement restricted to need-basis only. However, essential services exempt from the lockdown include:
- health and related services
- food and related industry/ manufacturers
- grocery stores, general and convenience stores
- fish, meat, vegetable/fruit vendors and dairy shops
- essential municipal services
- electricity and SSGC
- water supply
- port operations, PNSC and custom services
- PTA/PTCL/NTC service staff
- cellular companies service staff for repair maintenance of towers/cables
- banks (with limited staff for services)
- petrol pumps
- welfare organisations
- media persons authorised by information department, newspaper hawkers
- any other class deemed essential
For our coronavirus coverage from March 22, click here.