COVID 19: Pakistan crosses 68,000 mark; UK lends financial support

PTI Lahore, Pakistan May 31, 2020, 01.08 PM(IST)

(Representative Image) Photograph:( Reuters )

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Meanwhile, the UK has announced to provide an additional assistance of 4.39 million pounds to cash-strapped Pakistan to tide over the coronavirus crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic turned grimmer in Pakistan with 78 more fatalities in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 1,395, while the total cases crossed the 68,000-mark, the health ministry said on Saturday.

According to health officials, 532,037 COVID-19 tests, including 12,020 on Friday, were conducted so far in the country. The total tally now stands at 68,177, the ministry said.

Sindh reported the maximum number of 26,113 coronavirus cases, followed by 24,104 in Punjab, 9,067 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 4,087 in Balochistan, 2,192 in Islamabad, 660 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 234 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). On the positive side, 24,131 patients have recovered, the ministry said.

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Minister of State for Frontier Regions and Narcotics Control Shehryar Afridi on late Friday night tweeted that he was tested positive for the virus. "I have isolated myself in home as directed by the doctors," he said.

Meanwhile, the UK has announced to provide an additional assistance of 4.39 million pounds to cash-strapped Pakistan to tide over the coronavirus crisis. In April, the UK has provided a fund of 2.67 million pounds to Pakistan to combat COVID-19 pandemic.

"Pakistan is showing international leadership in its Coronavirus response; Great Britain announces 4.39 million pounds of further support," British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner tweeted on Friday.

He said the package will support emergency response systems and provide assistance to food security, sanitation and hygiene, mental health and psychological issues.

Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza on Saturday said that presently only "25 per cent of the total hospital assets" were occupied.He told reporters that the overall situation was under control.

"I'm sure some hospitals are full in some cities. But that does not mean hospitals in the entire country are full," he said.

It was mandatory for people to wear masks while visiting crowded places like mosques, markets, shops, malls and public transport, he said, adding that people can also use masks inside their homes if there was a lot of people around.

Mirza said that the country's local transmission rate was 92 per cent as the disease was spreading. "Cases are increasing as the disease is spreading," he said.