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CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Key points

  • Covid-19 emerges in China in Dec '19, declared a pandemic on March 11
  • WHO names Europe new epicentre; Italy surpasses China's death toll (Read more)
  • 858,785 infected globally; more than 42,000 dead, more than 178,000 recovered
  • 2,118 cases reported in Pakistan; 28 dead, 85 recovered
  • Click here for Dawn's coronavirus coverage
Latest
10:30 PM

Welfare orgs can distribute rations door to door to follow social distancing policy: Ghani

10:18 PM

Tommy the robot nurse helps keep Italy doctors safe from coronavirus

10:04 PM

UK coronavirus deaths rise by 563 to 2,352

9:54 PM

Chinese scientists seeking potential Covid-19 treatment find 'effective' antibodies

9:35 PM

Thousands gather in Karachi to collect rations

9:17 PM

Italy sees fewer coronavirus deaths on Wednesday but new cases grow

9:14 PM

Prime Minister launches Ehsaas Emergency Cash initiative

8:55 PM

Social distancing to stay until April 19: German chancellor

8:49 PM

UK to speed up coronavirus testing as criticism grows

8:44 PM

Balochistan reports 6 new cases, provincial tally rises to 164

8:27 PM

DNA make up of locally-transmitted coronavirus may have mutations, say experts

8:26 PM

Wimbledon cancelled for the first time since World War 2 due to coronavirus pandemic

8:18 PM

Sindh reports one more death

8:09 PM

Restrictions to remain in place till April 14: Asad Umar

7:55 PM

Trump warns Americans of a tough two weeks ahead in coronavirus fight

7:29 PM

Work from home to curb coronavirus, Qatar tells private firms

7:22 PM

Special PIA flight leaves for Beijing to bring relief supplies

7:03 PM

121 pilgrims to leave for their homes tomorrow: Ajmal Wazir

6:58 PM

33 new cases detected in Sindh

6:41 PM

21pc of coronavirus patients have recovered completely, says Dr Mirza

6:35 PM

Govt to allow special flight on April 4 to bring back stranded Pakistanis

6:24 PM

LIVE: Asad Umar, Dr Zafar Mirza and Moeed Yusuf brief media

6:20 PM

Punjab reports 8 new cases of coronavirus

5:56 PM

WATCH: Thailand launches Covid-19 strip test which can give result in 10-15 minutes

5:43 PM

Govt should tell people to worry about coronavirus, says Ahsan Iqbal

5:34 PM

Ahsan Iqbal urges people to take precautions against 'deadly' coronavirus

5:04 PM

Workers in Karachi factory stitch protective gear, medical clothing

4:52 PM

Registrations start for PM's Corona Tigers Force

4:52 PM

Preliminary study finds UK lockdown is slowing spread of Covid-19

4:36 PM

151 people held for violating Section 144 of CrPC in Sindh

4:28 PM

First meeting of Parliamentary Committee on Coronavirus Disease to be held on April 6

4:18 PM

PM Imran urges youth to join Corona Tiger Force

4:15 PM

Japan 'on the brink' as it struggles to hold back coronavirus

3:55 PM

Rimsha Colony in Islamabad de-sealed: District Health Office

3:43 PM

Moscow unveils coronavirus tracking app as national lockdown widens

3:23 PM

CII calls emergency meeting for tomorrow

3:21 PM

Spain reports more than 100,000 cases

3:04 PM

READ: Pakistanis unite to assist the less fortunate during Covid-19 outbreak

3:03 PM

Buzdar visits 1,000 bed field hospital built in Lahore's Expo Centre

2:57 PM

PM Imran urges nation to donate to Coronavirus Relief Fund

2:54 PM

Shehryar Afridi urges nation to promote brotherhood, ignore fake news

2:51 PM

Germany reports 5,453 additional cases, another 149 deaths

2:49 PM

Coronavirus a threat to everyone, says Shehryar Afridi

2:45 PM

Shehryar Afridi appeals well-off people to contribute to ration bags

2:43 PM

WATCH: Shehryar Afridi addresses a press conference in Peshawar

2:32 PM

32 new cases take Punjab's total to 740

2:28 PM

Europe death toll crosses 30,000 as UN warns of humanity's worst crisis since WWII

2:19 PM

Nasir Shah urges Centre to rename Corona Tiger Force to something neutral

2:11 PM

NCC meeting to be held shortly

2:00 PM

Need to focus on positive corona news, says Awan

Apr 01, 2020 10:30pm

Welfare orgs can distribute rations door to door to follow social distancing policy: Ghani

Senator Saeed Ghani has criticised a welfare organisation's method of distributing rations in Karachi's Quaidabad area. He said welfare organisations can distribute rations door to door to follow the policy of social distancing.

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Apr 01, 2020 10:18pm

Tommy the robot nurse helps keep Italy doctors safe from coronavirus

Tommy — the robot nurse — is part of a six-member team helping flesh-and-blood doctors and nurses care for coronavirus patients at the Circolo Hospital in Varese, a city in the northern Lombardy region that is the epicentre of the outbreak in Italy.

“It’s like having another nurse without problems related to infection,” said Doctor Francesco Dentali, director of intensive care at the hospital.

A robot helping medical teams treat patients suffering from the coronavirus disease is pictured at a patient's room, in the Circolo hospital, in Varese, Italy. —Reuters
A robot helping medical teams treat patients suffering from the coronavirus disease is pictured at a patient's room, in the Circolo hospital, in Varese, Italy. —Reuters

The child-size robots with large blinking eyes are wheeled into rooms and left by a patient’s bedside so doctors can look after others who are in more serious conditions. They monitor parameters from equipment in the room, relaying them to hospital staff.

Read more here.

Apr 01, 2020 10:04pm

UK coronavirus deaths rise by 563 to 2,352

The number of people with coronavirus who have died in Britain rose by 563 to a total 2,352 by 1600 GMT on March 31, the government has confirmed.

It said there were 29,474 confirmed cases of the virus at as 0800 GMT on Wednesday, up from 25,150 the day before.

Apr 01, 2020 09:54pm

Chinese scientists seeking potential Covid-19 treatment find 'effective' antibodies

A team of Chinese scientists has isolated several antibodies that it says are “extremely effective” at blocking the ability of the new coronavirus to enter cells, which eventually could be helpful in treating or preventing Covid-19.

Zhang Linqi at Tsinghua University in Beijing said a drug made with antibodies like the ones his team have found could be used more effectively than the current approaches, including what he called “borderline” treatment such as plasma.

The team is now focused on identifying the most powerful antibodies and possibly combining them to mitigate the risk of the new coronavirus mutating.

Read more here.

Apr 01, 2020 09:35pm

Thousands gather in Karachi to collect rations

A video has been making rounds on social media showing thousands of people rushing to collect ration in Karachi.

According to Sindh police officials and witnesses, an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 people affected by the lockdown in Sindh gathered on National Highway near Quaidabad today in the morning to collect rations being distributed by Saylani Welfare Trust.

However, the non-profit organisation only had enough to distribute rations among an estimated 2,500-3,000 people.

According to police, people who did not receive the rations stayed there for around half an hour before dispersing peacefully.

Apr 01, 2020 09:17pm

Italy sees fewer coronavirus deaths on Wednesday but new cases grow

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has climbed by 727 to 13,155, the Civil Protection Agency said on Wednesday, a significantly smaller increase than seen on Tuesday and the lowest daily tally since March 26, Reuters reports.

However, the number of new cases rose more sharply than a day earlier, growing by 4,782 against a previous 4,053, bringing total infections since the outbreak came to light on Feb 21 to 110,574.

In this March 25, 2020, file photo, a patient with Covid-19, flown in an Italian Air Force plane from Italy is admitted to the Helios Klinikum in Leipzig, Germany. In the rare position of having beds to spare, German hospitals have taken in dozens of patients from Italy and France. — AP
In this March 25, 2020, file photo, a patient with Covid-19, flown in an Italian Air Force plane from Italy is admitted to the Helios Klinikum in Leipzig, Germany. In the rare position of having beds to spare, German hospitals have taken in dozens of patients from Italy and France. — AP

In Lombardy, the epicentre of the outbreak, the daily tallies of deaths and cases were both up compared with those of the day before, reversing the recent trend.

Italy has registered more deaths than anywhere else in the world and accounts for around 30% of all global fatalities from the virus.

Apr 01, 2020 09:14pm

Prime Minister launches Ehsaas Emergency Cash initiative

Prime Minister Imran Khan has launched the Ehsaas Emergency Cash initiative as part of the government's efforts to deal with the problems faced by citizens amid a country-wide lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19.

The Rs144 billion initiative will distribute Rs12,000 to 12 million families across the country.

Apr 01, 2020 08:55pm

Social distancing to stay until April 19: German chancellor

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that social distancing measures implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus will be kept in place until April 19 and will be re-evaluated the Tuesday after Easter.

Speaking after a telephone conference with the premiers of Germany’s 16 states, Merkel said it was too soon to talk about easing the measures and added that Europe’s largest economy was still far from achieving what it needed to achieve.

Apr 01, 2020 08:49pm

UK to speed up coronavirus testing as criticism grows

Britain’s government said it would ramp up the number of coronavirus tests amid widespread criticism that it was doing far too few, as ministers suggested that shortages of chemicals were partly to blame, Reuters reports.

“I hope on testing ... you will see significant increases this week. We expect to be at 15,000 tests over the course of this week and then moving further forward in the future,” housing minister Robert Jenrick told broadcaster ITV.

Read more here.

Apr 01, 2020 08:44pm

Balochistan reports 6 new cases, provincial tally rises to 164

Balochistan has reported six new cases of the coronavirus, a spokesperson for the provincial health directorate's coronavirus cell has confirmed.

This takes the provincial total to 164 and the national tally to 2,118.

Apr 01, 2020 08:27pm

DNA make up of locally-transmitted coronavirus may have mutations, say experts

A team of researchers in Pakistan, led by Dow University of Health Sciences Vice Chancellor Professor Mohammad Saeed Quraishy, think that the genetic make up of the novel coronavirus may alter in a locally-transmitted case.

While examining the DNA structure of the virus contracted locally by a young boy, the researchers observed that the sequencing had slight mutations from the one that originated in Wuhan, China.

The study of the virus' genome sequence is being hailed by experts as an important step towards developing a vaccine and treatment modalities.

Read more here.

Apr 01, 2020 08:18pm

Sindh reports one more death

Sindh’s Minister for Health and Population Welfare Dr Azra Pechuho has confirmed one more death from coronavirus, taking the total tally of Covid-19 deaths in the province to nine.

Dr Pechuho said that the 59-year-old patient was a resident of Karachi and was brought to the hospital on March 19 after his return from Saudi Arabia. He tested positive the same day.

She added that the patient had a history of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and was on ventilator since the first day.

Apr 01, 2020 08:09pm

Restrictions to remain in place till April 14: Asad Umar

Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar has said that the existing restrictions put in place to control the spread of Covid-19 will remain for two more weeks until April 14.

Asad Umar addresses the media. —DawnNewsTV
Asad Umar addresses the media. —DawnNewsTV

He added that every province already has its own restrictions in place but based on the National Coordination Committee meeting, all provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB) have uniformly decided to implement these measures from this point forward.

Apr 01, 2020 07:55pm

Trump warns Americans of a tough two weeks ahead in coronavirus fight

President Donald Trump and his top healthcare advisers urged Americans on Tuesday to follow strict social distancing measures ahead of a “tough two weeks” that could see at least 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus in the United States, Reuters reports.

“It's absolutely critical for the American people to follow the guidelines for the next 30 days. It's a matter of life and death,” Trump said during a news conference at the White House.

Response coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task Force Deborah Birx speaks as she points a graphic during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on March 31, 2020, in Washington, DC. — AFP
Response coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task Force Deborah Birx speaks as she points a graphic during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on March 31, 2020, in Washington, DC. — AFP

Trump said the next two weeks would be “very, very painful.”

“We want Americans to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” Trump said, predicting light at the end of the tunnel after that.

Apr 01, 2020 07:29pm

Work from home to curb coronavirus, Qatar tells private firms

Qatar's cabinet on Wednesday told private sector companies in the Gulf state to direct 80 per cent of their staff to work from home to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, Reuters reports.

Effective on Thursday for an initial two weeks, the step allows exceptions in some vital sectors, state news agency QNA reported. These include the military and security, the ministry of foreign affairs and diplomatic missions, healthcare, oil and gas, plus some government employees and workers on national flagship projects.

The working day will be cut to six hours, from 7am to 1pm, excluding grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants. Household cleaning services will be suspended, QNA reported, and the number of workers transported by bus halved.

Apr 01, 2020 07:22pm

Special PIA flight leaves for Beijing to bring relief supplies

A special Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight has left for Beijing, China on the government's directives.

Seven members of the flight crew on the special PIA flight to Beijing.
Seven members of the flight crew on the special PIA flight to Beijing.

A PIA spokesperson said the flight will depart from Beijing at 1am tomorrow for Islamabad. It will bring back 52 tonnes of relief supplies including personal protective equipment (PPE), masks and testing kits.

Apr 01, 2020 07:03pm

121 pilgrims to leave for their homes tomorrow: Ajmal Wazir

Adviser to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister on Information Ajmal Wazir has said that 121 pilgrims who had been under quarantine at Gomal Medical College in Dera Ismail Khan will leave for their homes tomorrow.

He added that the pilgrims have completed the quarantine period and have tested negative for Covid-19.

Apr 01, 2020 06:58pm

33 new cases detected in Sindh

Karachi has detected 33 new coronavirus cases, all of them locally transmitted, Meeran Yousuf, media coordinator to the health and population welfare minister, said. The total number of cases in Sindh is now 709.

Furthermore, three patients have made a complete recovery, she said.

Apr 01, 2020 06:41pm

21pc of coronavirus patients have recovered completely, says Dr Mirza

SAPM Dr Zafar Mirza has said that 21 per cent of the infected people have recovered completely. In the past 24 hours, 24 people have tested negative for the novel coronavirus after being infected by it before.

The total number of recovered people is 82.

Apr 01, 2020 06:35pm

Govt to allow special flight on April 4 to bring back stranded Pakistanis

Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar has said that the government will allow a special flight on April 4 to bring back stranded Pakistani citizens from foreign countries.

He added that the flight will land in Islamabad. The passengers will be tested and quarantined and will be allowed to leave after they test negative for Covid-19. However, domestic flights will remain suspended until further review, he said.

He also said that the lockdown will continue for two more weeks until April 14.

Apr 01, 2020 06:20pm

Punjab reports 8 new cases of coronavirus

Punjab's Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department has confirmed eight new cases of coronavirus in the province, taking the provincial tally to 748.

The number of national cases stands at 2,079.

Apr 01, 2020 05:43pm

Govt should tell people to worry about coronavirus, says Ahsan Iqbal

PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal has criticised the government for failing to convince people that the novel coronavirus can be a deadly disease.

"Instead of telling people 'ghabrana nahi hai', you should tell them that 'ghabrana hai'. This is a dangerous disease and it can be deadly," he said.

Apr 01, 2020 05:34pm

Ahsan Iqbal urges people to take precautions against 'deadly' coronavirus

PML-N Ahsan Iqbal has urged the nation to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus as the disease "can be deadly".

"Half of the population in our country is still going about life with a business as usual [attitude]," he said in a press conference.

"This means that we failed to convince or inform or guide half of our population that this is a dangerous disease."

Apr 01, 2020 05:04pm

Workers in Karachi factory stitch protective gear, medical clothing

These photos show workers stitching face masks, protective gear and medical clothing at a factory in Karachi as the country remains in lockdown. Pakistan, like many other countries, is facing a shortage of protective gear.

Photo by AP
Photo by AP

Photo by AFP
Photo by AFP

Apr 01, 2020 04:52pm

Registrations start for PM's Corona Tigers Force

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar has confirmed that registrations for Prime Minister Imran Khan's Corona Tigers Force have started through the Pakistan Citizens Portal.

He added that some 90,000 youth from all across the country have registered through the portal so far.

Dar also said that a control room has been set up at the Prime Minister's Office and monitoring teams have been formed. He added that he himself has also registered for the Corona Tigers Force.

Apr 01, 2020 04:52pm

Preliminary study finds UK lockdown is slowing spread of Covid-19

Lockdown and social distancing measures introduced by the British government to slow the spread of Covid-19 may already be working, according to preliminary research findings, and could soon see Britain’s epidemic of infections declining, Reuters reported.

Apr 01, 2020 04:36pm

151 people held for violating Section 144 of CrPC in Sindh

Sindh police have arrested 151 people for violating Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. According to the police, the arrested persons were found violating the restrictions imposed by the Sindh government during lockdown and hoarding of masks and sanitisers.

About 14 people were detained in Karachi and Hyderabad each, nine arrests were made in Mirpurkhas, 60 in Sukkur and 54 in Larkana range.

Apr 01, 2020 04:28pm

First meeting of Parliamentary Committee on Coronavirus Disease to be held on April 6

The first meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Coronavirus Disease will be held on April 6.

According to a notification issued by the National Assembly Secretariat, the agenda for the meeting includes a briefing by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production, and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood on an economic and business plan for the revival of the economy.

The meeting's agenda also includes briefings by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal on Covid-19.

Apr 01, 2020 04:15pm

Japan 'on the brink' as it struggles to hold back coronavirus

Japan is struggling to hold the line against the coronavirus and is on the brink of crisis with medical experts particularly worried about preparations in Tokyo, officials said, raising the prospect of emergency lockdowns.

New infections are appearing relentlessly, with 105 reported in the past 24 hours, 65 of them in the capital, where cases are closely watched as increasing numbers there add to pressure on the government to take drastic steps.

Apr 01, 2020 03:55pm

Rimsha Colony in Islamabad de-sealed: District Health Office

Rimsha Colony in Islamabad has been de-sealed after being cleared of coronavirus cases, according to a notification issued by the District Health Office.

Apr 01, 2020 03:43pm

Moscow unveils coronavirus tracking app as national lockdown widens

Authorities in Moscow have unveiled a smartphone app designed to keep tabs on people who have been ordered to stay at home because of the coronavirus as Russia expanded its lockdown to cover more of its sprawling territory.

The app is still in testing, a city official, Eduard Lysenko told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

Moscow is also preparing to roll out a city-wide QR-code system where each resident that registers online will be assigned a unique code that they can show to police officers if stopped when going to the shop or the chemist, the official said.

Read more here.

Apr 01, 2020 03:23pm

CII calls emergency meeting for tomorrow

The Council of Islamic Ideology has called an emergency meeting for tomorrow (April 2) to discuss the situation regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

According to a notification issued, the meeting — which will take place via video link — will discuss the matter of organising religious gatherings and daily prayers, Friday congregations.

Apr 01, 2020 03:21pm

Spain reports more than 100,000 cases

The number of cases of the coronavirus in Spain surpassed 100,000 while the number of fatalities reported overnight reached a new record, the country’s health ministry said, according to Reuters.

Overall fatalities caused by the disease rose to 9,053 from 8,189.

The daily death toll reached a record 864, though the increase was lower in percentage terms than during the previous days.

Apr 01, 2020 03:04pm

READ: Pakistanis unite to assist the less fortunate during Covid-19 outbreak

Like many nations, Pakistan has imposed strict containment measures in response to the global coronavirus pandemic, including closing schools, banning public gatherings and shuttering all businesses that don’t sell groceries or medicine.

Amid the pandemic, Pakistanis are bonding together to assist the less fortunate in a unique and inspiring way.

Specifically, many are offering Zakat for daily-wage earners who have no paid leave, health insurance or financial safety net.

Read the full report from BBC here.

Apr 01, 2020 03:03pm

Buzdar visits 1,000 bed field hospital built in Lahore's Expo Centre

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar paid a visit to a field hospital built in the Expo Centre in Lahore. The hospital houses 1,000 beds and was built in nine days, a tweet by the Punjab government's Twitter account said.

Since it is situated at a distance from residential areas, coronavirus patients will be admitted to the field hospital.

Apr 01, 2020 02:54pm

Shehryar Afridi urges nation to promote brotherhood, ignore fake news

Shehryar Afridi has urged the nation to "promote brotherhood and turn away from fake news".

"Tableeghi Jamaat has done a lot for peace around the world, the pilgrims are our Pakistani brothers. police, personnel of law enforcement agencies, doctors, paramedics — they are all working for the state and are the state's responsibility," he said.

Apr 01, 2020 02:51pm

Germany reports 5,453 additional cases, another 149 deaths

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen to 67,366 and 732 people have died of the disease, statistics from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed, according to Reuters.

Cases rose by 5,453 compared with the previous day while the death toll climbed by 149, the tally showed.

Apr 01, 2020 02:49pm

Coronavirus a threat to everyone, says Shehryar Afridi

Coronvirus does not differentiate on the basis of colour, caste or religion, says Safron Minister Shehryar Afridi.

While addressing a press conference in Peshawar Afridi said that the virus is affecting everyone across the world.

Apr 01, 2020 02:45pm

Shehryar Afridi appeals well-off people to contribute to ration bags

Safron Minister Shehryar Afridi has appealed to higher-income people to contribute for ration bags that are to be distributed among poor people who have lost jobs due to a nation-wide lockdown.

Apr 01, 2020 02:32pm

32 new cases take Punjab's total to 740

Punjab has reported 32 new cases of the coronavirus, said provincial health department spokesperson Qaiser Asif, increasing the province's tally to 740.

Apr 01, 2020 02:28pm

Europe death toll crosses 30,000 as UN warns of humanity's worst crisis since WWII

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 30,000 lives in Europe alone, a global tally showed Wednesday, in what the head of the United Nations has described as humanity's worst crisis since World War II.

Apr 01, 2020 02:19pm

Nasir Shah urges Centre to rename Corona Tiger Force to something neutral

Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah has requested the government to change the name of the Corona Tigers Force to something neutral, during a video conference with provincial information ministers and SAPM on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan.

At the same time, Shah assured that the Sindh government will cooperate with Centre in every way and follow any advisory issued by the premier.

Awan, in response, said that the "cause was more important than the name" and that the Sindh chief minister can discuss this with the prime minister during the National Coordination Committee meeting. Both Shah and Awan agreed that the aim was to overcome the coronavirus health crisis.

Apr 01, 2020 02:11pm

NCC meeting to be held shortly

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan stated that a meeting of the National Coordination Committee will be held today at 3pm.

The chief minister of all the provinces, as well as officials from Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan will attend the meeting, she said.

Food shortages as well as other issues will be discussed during the meeting, she added.

Apr 01, 2020 02:00pm

Need to focus on positive corona news, says Awan

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the media also needed to focus on positive Covid-19 news in an effort to dispel the panic that has gripped the nation.

The PM's aide stated: "Hearing negativity all day, constantly seeing numbers increasing, can have a negative impact on people's mental health.

"By giving airtime to recovered patients, we can reduce the stigma against them," she said.