Coronavirus cases in Pakistan rise to 1,625

Islamabad: The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan reached 1,625 while the death toll stood at 18, health officials said on Monday, underlining that local transmission of the deadly COVID-19 is increasing.

The Ministry of National Health Services said that 54 more cases were reported during the last 12 hours, taking the total from 1,571 to 1,625.

It showed 593 cases in Punjab, 508 in Sindh, 195 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 144 in Balochistan, 128 in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), 51 in Islamabad and 6 in  (PaK).

So far 18 people have died, including 4 in the last 24 hours and 28 recovered, while another 11 were in critical conditions.

The epidemic is still spreading despite steps by the government. Advisor on health Dr Zafar Mirza said local transmission was increasing after government stopped all international flights.

He said so far the share of local transmission was about 27 per cent.

A spokesperson for the Sindh health department said that the number of patients in Karachi alone rose to 222 with 33 new cases reported on Sunday and all the cases, the spokesperson confirmed, were of local transmission, Dawn newspaper reported.

Health experts appealed to the people to stay home and strictly adhere to basic hygiene measures to break the chain of coronavirus transmission.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the country on Monday regarding the situation caused by the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.

According Khan’s advisor on information, Firdous Ashiq Awan, the Prime Minister will take people into confidence about delivery of ration and food supplies to deserving poor families across the country at their doorsteps.

Awan said due to the lockdown to prevent spread of coronavirus, national economy is being affected and chain of daily use items has slowed down , which created fear of shortages.

The decision of the prime minister to address the nations came after reports of non-availability of wheat flour in some areas of Punjab.

On Saturday, the Pakistan government decided to keep its western borders with Iran and Afghanistan and eastern border with India closed for two more weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Moeed Yusuf said the move was taken in the wake of increasing COVID-19 cases in the country.

He also announced that all flights will remain suspended in the country till April 4. However, there will be exceptions if a country makes a special request to repatriate its citizens.

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