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Highest-ever death toll: Corona situation becomes alarming

Top Story

April 29, 2021

ISLAMABAD: A complete lockdown seems imminent as more than 200 COVID-19 deaths were reported for the first time in Pakistan since the start of the pandemic. According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), as many as 201 people died of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours -- taking the death toll to 17,530 in the country.

Punjab suffered most with 127 fatalities due to the contagion and 8,224 acquired the infection in last 24 hours. At least 45 more patients succumbed to the novel coronavirus in K-P with 4,624 new cases, Sindh reported 1,029 with 19 more deaths. AJK reported 152 new Covid-19 infections and four deaths, followed by 173 new cases in Balochistan with one more death.

Pakistan conducted 49,101 tests in the last 24 hours with 5,292 people found positive for the virus. As many as 5,214 patients were in critical condition. The national positivity ratio was 10.77%, which is on the rise for the past few days.

According to the NCOC update, there are 88,207 active cases in the country while 704,494 patients have recovered from the disease so far.

Punjab led the death toll in the last 24 hours with 127 followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 45 deaths. As many as 19 people died in Sindh, five in Islamabad, four in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and one in Balochistan.

Out of the total 17,530 deaths so far, Punjab has reported 8,224 deaths followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (4,624), Sindh (3,201), Islamabad (675), AJK (468), Balochistan (233) and Gilgit Baltistan (105).

The Interior Ministry on Tuesday issued a notification in the light of decisions taken in the NCOC meeting, banning inter-provincial and inter-city movement of transport from May 8-16. The decision was taken so that the maximum number of people restrict their movement.

The ministry also announced closure of all tourist places, public parks and hotels around the country. However, there were reports that the government was considering to impose fresh restrictions in districts having high positivity ratio. Pakistan Army has also deployed enhanced troops in these 16 districts to help out the civil administration in implementation of the anti-coronavirus SOPs.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said on Wednesday that in view of the deteriorating situation of coronavirus pandemic in India, there was a complete travel ban on India.

He said in a tweet that the ban has been enforced since the third week of April and was being fully implemented. He said if the COVID-19 situation does not improve, more drastic measures would have to be taken inside Pakistan and preparations were being made in this regard.

Chairman NCOC Asad Umar said the total number of anti-COVID-19 vaccination in a single day crossed the 100,000 mark. “Daily vaccinations crossed 1 lakh in a day for the first time yesterday (April 27)," he said, adding that the total vaccinations yesterday were 117,852.

In a tweet, Asad Umar informed that so far some 2.1 million had been vaccinated in the country. “Good to see more people registering. Please encourage all those 40 and above to register, if they have not done so far,” he added.

Meanwhile, Norway and Iran on Wednesday became the latest countries to impose restrictions or close their borders to Pakistani citizens entering their country out of fear of the dangerous Indian variant of coronavirus, says a Geo News report.

"The rate of infections is very high in India, among other countries. In order to limit the risk of imported cases of new COVID-19 variants, we are now introducing stricter entry restrictions for travellers arriving from India and its neighbouring countries, as well as Iraq," Norway’s Justice and Public Security Minister Monica Maeland was quoted as saying in a statement.

Under the new rules, travellers coming from Bangladesh, India, Iraq, Nepal and Pakistan will now be required to stay at a quarantine hotel. “This means that people who undertake necessary travel to these countries will also be required to stay at a quarantine hotel,” said the statement.

The European country said the measures will come into effect on Wednesday, 28th April at 12 midnight. Separately, Iran announced the closure of its land border with Pakistan in fear of the coronavirus cases being reported from India.

"The southeastern borders with Pakistan would only allow the return of Iranian and Pakistani nationals to their countries after the new ban is imposed on Wednesday," said a statement issued by the Iranian Customs Office.

Iranian Customs Office spokesman Rouhollah Latifi said the Iranian government will introduce “hygiene controls” on trucks arriving from Pakistan for the next 10 days. He added that commercial vessels from Pakistan will only be allowed to load and unload at Iranian ports after going through some strict checks and controls.

Last week, Iran had banned flights from India and Pakistan over fears that an Indian variant of the coronavirus could spread in the country. On the other hand, Qatar’s Public Health Ministry revised the hotel quarantine policy for travellers coming from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

A Qatari newspaper reported that as per the new policy, a 10-day hotel quarantine for all travellers from the six countries is mandatory even if they are vaccinated against COVID-19. Apart from this, the travellers will also have to have a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken from the designated health facilities 48 hours before their departure for Qatar.

“The travellers will undergo a repeat PCR test at their quarantine facility within 24 hours of their arrival, and will be tested again before the end of their quarantine period,” said the publication.