K-P reports first 15 cases of coronavirus

15 of out 19 individuals received in K-P from Taftan border have tested positive, says provincial health minister

​ Our Correspondent March 16, 2020
Medical staff members wearing protective masks prepare a room in an isolation ward as a preventative measure following the coronavirus outbreak, at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences hospital in Islamabad. PHOTO: AFP/FIle

PESHAWAR: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) reported its first 15 cases of novel coronavirus on Monday, bringing the totoal number of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan to 136.

"Just received news that 15 of 19 individuals received in KP from Taftan have tested positive for Corona Virus. These are the first positive cases in KP," said provincial Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra 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.

Earlier in the day, the the K-P government rubbished rumours of Pakistan's first novel coronavirus death in Peshawar.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, K-P Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra clarified that a suspected patient had passed away while authorities awaited results. "His blood tested negative for COVID-19."

Jhagra had addressed the rumours in a tweet, saying that a patient had passed away in Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar.  "He was a suspected case. He was dealt with as per protocols. His test results are awaited. We will keep everyone posted."

In the wake of a surge in coronavirus cases across the country, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had closed educational institutions till April 5 and suspended wedding activities around the province.

The provincial government has released Rs0.5 billion in emergency funds to procure essential equipment to tackle the outbreak of the contagious disease in the province. This is in addition to the Rs100 million which the provincial government had released on March 3.

Sindh confirms 41 new coronavirus cases, national tally at 94

Pakistan's total confirmed cases

Pakistan's tally hit 136 with Sindh and K-P confirming 68 and 15 new cases respectively among the pilgrims placed in isolation wards after finishing 14-day incubation period at the quarantined tent city in Taftan.

A day earlier, 20 were 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.

Pakistan has also reported at least two locally transmitted cases.

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. It was decided to hold daily National Coordination Committee for COVID-19 meetings to review the situation.

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.

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