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March 26, 2020

Kot Hathial, epicenter of corona suspects in Islamabad

Top Story

March 26, 2020

ISLAMABAD: A small village in Pakistan's capital is said to have become an epicenter for coronavirus suspects, local authorities said on Wednesday.

Kot Hathial (North), a village with population of around 5,000 people in Bhara Kahu, Islamabad, is believed to be a hub of hundreds of coronavirus suspects where according to authorities pandemic could spread further after some half of the population developed symptoms.

"We've completely sealed the village after the virus spread rapidly. The panic and fear existed after 15 people tested positive in past 48 hours," confirmed Deputy Commissioner, Islamabad Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat.

Mosque (Bilal Masjid) where a congregation of clerics, some of them from three brotherly countries, have been holding lectures and gatherings in past two weeks, was sealed, local authorities said, adding two more mosques in the same area are under observation.

Two mosques -- Masjid Bilal and Masjid Makki -- were sealed and the whole area was cordoned off by the law enforcement agencies, now collecting data of locals who have been greetings clerics.

"Hundreds of people now need to undergo the tests," said Umar Khan, a local who has also been attending lectures. Clerics came from Kirgizstan and Palestine, also now tested positive, were greeted with a mass gatherings in this village, added Mr Khan who also underwent a test. His result awaited at the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Some 2,000 people in this village, according to local police, remained in attendance in these mosques in past two weeks – most of whom embraced these tested positive patients from this village.

Local people are scary after 15 patients tested positive since last Monday while hundreds of locals would be tested in this village, said local authorities. Even now we have put whole Bhara Kahu under lockdown after coronavirus cases surfaced in Union Council Kot Hathial both North and South, added the authorities.

More than 456 tests' results are awaited while 18 confirmed cases have been recorded, Hamza Shafqaat further revealed adding they would make sure people safety at all costs.

Locals told Geo News that they have been barred from leaving their houses while Islamabad administration deployed extra security personnel to ensure the lockdown in the area. Over a thousand army, rangers and police personnel were tasked to keep an eye on locals. On Wednesday, paramedics took test of 59 suspects now being evaluated at NIH which has had limited capacity to gather more samples of suspects.

Physicians at NIH suspected that more coronavirus cases could come from the same village after a group of 13 people, including six foreigners, were sitting in 'tableegh.' Assistant Commissioner Secretariat with local police and NIH team have shifted all the Covid-19 positive patients to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences isolation ward.

The metro bus service will be functional on select days and on specific times during the day only, but passengers have been advised to sit at a distance from one another, according to Islamabad Capital Territory Administration. A complete ban on gatherings of all kinds for social, religious, or any other purpose, whether they be public or private, has also been notified.