COVID-19: 31-year-old suspected to be first casualty in Pakistan

10:26 PM | 16 Mar, 2020
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PESHAWAR – Death of a young man at Hayatabad medical complex is suspected to be the first from the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

The 31-year-old, from Hangu, reportedly travelled from Qatar to Pakistan. He was admitted to HMC last night, a local newspaper reported.

However, authorities are yet to confirm the news.

The country Monday recorded its biggest single-day spike in coronavirus infections, taking the tally to 183, amid reports of ineffective quarantine procedures as dozens 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.

According to the Sindh Health department, a total of 119 people from Taftan have tested positive for the virus in Sukkur, where they have been quarantined, while there are 27 cases in Karachi and one in Hyderabad.

Fifteen new cases have also been reported by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, all of whom were pilgrims who had returned to Pakistan via Taftan.

Ten cases have been reported by Balochistan, four by Islamabad, three by Gilgit Baltistan and one by Punjab.

On Sunday, first case of coronavirus was reported in Lahore. The patient, which has been quarantined at Mayo Hospital, returned from Britain a couple of days ago. The relatives of the patient are also being screened.

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Earlier today, a meeting of National Coordination Committee (NCC) for COVID-19 chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan was held in Islamabad.

Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, Adviser on Finance Hafeez Sheikh, Special Assistant on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant for Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Abbass Bukhari and others were present on the occasion.

All the chief ministers were present through videolink.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting of the country's national coordination committee on COVID-19. Following the NCC meeting, Khan underlined government's priority to save economy from the negative impacts of the coronavirus and ensuring uninterrupted flow of economic activities in the country.

He directed the concerned authorities to devise a comprehensive strategy to provide relief to the common man in view of any possible situation and ensure availability of the essential commodities.

Last week, after a high-level National Security Committee (NSC) meeting, the federal government announced the closure of all educational institutions across the country until April 3, the closure of all border crossings with Iran and Afghanistan and a ban on all public gatherings of any kind.

The annual National Day military parade scheduled for March 23, where thousands of guests are invited, has also been cancelled, according to the military spokesman.

Since February, Pakistan has screened more than 975,634 people at points of entry, according to government data.

The country's National Institute of Health says its current risk assessment of the impact of the disease is "moderate".

More than 7,067 people globally have died from COVID-19, as the illness is officially known, while nearly 180,000 infections have been confirmed in dozens of countries. A total of 78,286 people have recovered.