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Number of Corona patients doubles in a week

Top Story

April 7, 2020

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: The coronavirus patients in Pakistan doubled in a week as 609 new cases in a single day on Monday and death rate surged by two times.

The corona confirmed cases stood at 3,766 while 52 died and 259 patients recovered. There are 1,918 in Punjab, 932 in Sindh, 202 in Balochistan, 405 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 82 in Islamabad, 211 in Gilgit Baltistan and 16 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

The novel coronavirus registered the highest number of infections in a single day in Punjab with confirmation of 436 new Covid-19 cases on Monday.

The new cases raised the number of confirmed patients to 1,918, while 15 lives have so far been claimed by the virus in the province so far. According to experts, the pandemic has entered its second phase in Punjab as novel coronavirus has registered a sudden spike among high-risk groups including doctors, prisoners, members of Tableeghi Jamaat and a rapid spread among population through local transmission.

The details of casualties in Punjab include seven in Lahore, four in Rawalpindi and one each in Faisalabad, Jhelum, Gujrat and Rahim Yar Khan. Also, 25 patients have recovered from their ailment.

Punjab government’s spokesman said on Monday that the Health Department teams were using technology to trace the contacts of all coronavirus positive patients to conduct their tests to rule out the spread of virus.

A whopping number of 352 new Covid-19 cases had been confirmed at the quarantine facilities for members of Tableeghi Jamaat and Zaireen, who had returned from Iran. As many as 63 new Covid-19 cases were reported from amongst people having travel history or got infection through local transmission. Twenty-one more prisoners were also tested positive for the deadly virus, taking their tally to 49.

Out of 1,816 confirmed Covid-19 patients, 577 are pilgrims, 527 members of Tableeghi Jamaat, 49 prisoners and 663 common citizens who either had travel history or fell victim to local transmission of the virus.

Out of 577 confirmed patients from amongst pilgrims, 359 are at quarantine centre in Multan, 213 in Dera Ghazi Khan and five in Faisalabad.

Of the 527 confirmed Covid-19 preachers, 398 are at quarantine centre at Raiwind, 31 in Hafizabad, 15 in Rahim Yar Khan, 14 in Vehari, 13 each in Sargodha and Layyah, 10 in Jhelum, eight in Gujrat, six in Rawalpindi, four each in Khushab and Sialkot, three in Mandi Bahauddin, two in Nankana Sahib and one each in Bhakkar and Rajanpur. As many as 10,263 preachers, who had attended Tableeghi Ijtema, are at quarantine centres in 33 districts for testing and isolation.

The highest number of cases has been reported in Lahore where 291 patients are under treatment at different centres. Ninety-three patients are under treatment in Gujrat, 58 in Rawalpindi, 32 in Gujranwala, 30 in Jhelum, 21 in Faisalabad, 18 in Dera Ghazi Khan, 17 in Sialkot, 14 in Mandi Bahauddin, 13 each in Nankana Sahib and Vehari, nine in Bahawalnagar, eight in Kasur, six each in Hafizabad, Chiniot and Narowal, five in Sargodha, four in Multan, three each in Rahim Yar Khan, Mianwali, Bahawalpur and Lodhran and one each in Sheikhupura, Attock, Layyah, Okara and Khushab.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government announced it was extending the existing restrictions in the province till April 14. “Public is requested to follow the guidelines issued by the government and ensure that they don't leave home unless necessary,” the government spokesperson said.

According to a notification, the lockdown is being extended due to a rise in the number of cases in the province, which is alarming and highly dangerous for the health of the people. “It is mandatory to take all pragmatic and possible measures to contain and counter the further spread of coronavirus on war footings,” the notification said.

The notification further said that there were sufficient grounds to proceed under Section 144 of "The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898", as an immediate preventive and speedy remedy to ensure public safety, conserve lives and maintain peace and tranquillity in the province.

Punjab has reported the highest number of confirmed cases in the country, 1,493 and 15 deaths. On March 23, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had announced a 14-day partial lockdown in the province to curb the spread of the virus.

Separately, the Punjab government on Monday directed all private schools across the province to offer 20 per cent discount in school fee for the months of April and May 2020. The decision in this regard was announced by Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar on social media and the same was also made public by Punjab School Education Minister Dr Murad Raas.

As per the decision, no private school would cut salary of its teaching and non-teaching staff, neither these schools would lay off their employees during this period. Similarly, no private school will collect the fee collectively for the two months and will collect fee in each month instead.

“All private schools’ fees to be discounted by 20% for the months of April and May, 2020. The School Education Department wants to help the parents of Punjab in these difficult times,” wrote the schools minister in his social media post.

However, the decision received mixed response from the stakeholders with parents of the students demanding the government ensure implementation of its decision. “Private schools in Punjab seldom obey orders of the government,” said one parent Sohaib, adding that the government should ensure that private schools, which had already issued full-fee challans, revise the challans and issue those again with discounted amount.

The government has already announced the closure of educational institutions including public and private schools till May 31, 2020 with directions to treat the closure as summer vacation.

Another worried citizen, Amjad, said the government should have passed instructions for fee discount for three months starting March as schools had been closed early March 2020. He, however, also demanded that the government should ensure that private schools follow its instructions in letter and spirit and do not fire any teaching or non-teaching staff and continue paying them full salary.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said in a tweet that the schools had been instructed to collect the fees on monthly basis. He added that the schools had also been directed to pay the salary of all its staff and teachers on time, and have been barred from firing them.