Sindh reports 47 new coronavirus cases, ballooning Pakistan tally to 183

With 115 new cases in Sindh and 15 in K-P, this is largest increase in COVID-19 cases in country in one day

Tufail Ahmed/Sameer Mandhro March 16, 2020
A stockbroker wearing a facemask amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, holds a mobile phone during a trading session at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in Karachi on March 16, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Provincial authorities in Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Monday confirmed 115 and 15 new cases of novel coronavirus respectively, pushing the total number of confirmed cases in Pakistan to 183.

This is the single largest increase in novel coronavirus cases in the country as of today.

“This exponential increase is largely due to the recent inflow of pilgrims brought in from Taftan border after a purported quarantine,” Adviser to Sindh CM on Information Murtaza Wahab said in a tweet.



Earlier, Sindh Health Minister Azra Fazal Pechuho said there are 76 confirmed cases in Sukkur (all patients arrive from Taftan border), 26 in Karachi and one in Hyderabad, she confirmed.

Murtaza Wahab, earlier in the day, had said another 11 people who have reached the province from Taftan have tested positive.



However, confusion remains as there is no provincial focal person to give a tally of confirmed cases in Sindh. The number of total cases may be revised as facts become clearer.

Meanwhile, northwestern K-P province also reported its first 15 cases of novel coronavirus on Monday.

“Just received news that 15 out of 19 individuals received in K-P from Taftan have tested positive for coronavirus. These are the first positive cases in K-P,” provincial health minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said in a tweet from his official handle.

“They are being well looked after in quarantine in an isolated facility in DI Khan. More details soon,” he added.



By March 11, the number of quarantined pilgrims in Taftan rose to 4,000 – out of which 2,000 belonged to Sindh. The quarantined individuals were placed in a tent city set up by the Balochistan government for Pakistani nationals entering the country from Iran.

After the 14-day incubation period ended, around 300 pilgrims left for Sindh. They were then quarantined in Sukkur where the Sindh government ran tests on the pilgrims before allowing them to travel further.

Pakistan's total confirmed cases

On Sunday, 20 cases were confirmed by the authorities with Punjab reporting its first confirmed patient. Sindh confirmed 18 new cases while Islamabad reported one.

As of now, there are 103 confirmed cases in Sindh, 15 in K-P, 10 in Balochistan, three in Gilgit-Baltistan, four in Islamabad and one in Punjab.

Out of the 18 cases reported in Sindh on Saturday, 13 were of those quarantined in Sukkur. Three out of the remaining five had recently returned from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one travelled from Balochistan and the fifth patient had no travel history.

Action plan

On Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) to cobble a unified approach to contain the outbreak.

The huddle was attended by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed provincial chief ministers, top advisors and cabinet members.

It was decided to close borders with Iran and Afghanistan, allow only three airports – Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore – to operate international flights in limited numbers while other airports will see domestic flights, and ban public gatherings.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has been tasked to coordinate with provincial governments and lead the fight against novel coronavirus. It was also decided to close all educational institutions until April 5.

The Pakistan Day parade on March 23 has also been cancelled.

The Sindh government has banned public gatherings, shut down educational institutions, postponed religious celebrations and closed shrines, marriage halls, cinemas, gyms, social clubs etc. Punjab government is said to have made a similar decision.

In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the education institutions have been closed till April 5 and suspended wedding activities around the province.

Balochistan has also limited activities and closed educational institutions till the end of March.

 

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COMMENTS (2)

Nasir Khan | 3 months ago | Reply | Recommend We have beaten India and will soon catch up with our brother China when thousands of Coronavirus cases crop up in Pakistan in coming days
Khan | 3 months ago | Reply | Recommend Keep them in Iran for now. why are they returning to Pakistan
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