Sindh's coronavirus tally doubles to 35, Punjab reports first case

Updated March 15, 2020

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Pakistan reported 20 new coronavirus cases on Sunday taking the national tally to 53. — AP
Pakistan reported 20 new coronavirus cases on Sunday taking the national tally to 53. — AP

The total number of coronavirus cases in Sindh doubled to 35 on Sunday, up from 17 a day earlier. Meanwhile, Punjab reported its first case in Lahore and Islamabad its second, taking the national tally to 53.

According to Sindh government spokesperson Barrister Murtaza Wahab, the latest patient reached Karachi from Balochistan on Saturday night.

The spokesperson also said that 13 of the latest cases were of pilgrims who had been quarantined at the Taftan border before their arrival in Sukkur.

Earlier in the day, the Sindh health department had reported four new cases, three of whom had recent travel history of Saudi Arabia. The fourth case had no recent travel history.

During a meeting of the provincial task force on coronavirus, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah directed the chief secretary to acquire more kits for testing. "We are making full efforts to control the situation but the people also have to take precautions," the chief minister said.

He advised the public to call the coronavirus control room at 021-99204452, 021-99206565 or 0316-0111712 if they developed cough, fever, body ache or shortness of breath.

Earlier, the chief minister visited a laboratory for coronavirus testing and the isolation centre at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC). He directed the chief secretary to provide more ventilators to JPMC.

He also directed Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani to convert flats of the labour department into isolation centres. He further directed that apartments of the labour department in Nooriabad, Kotri, Hyderabad and Shaheed Benazirabad be converted into isolation centres and released Rs150 million for this purpose.

Punjab's first case reported in Lahore

Meanwhile, the first coronavirus case in Punjab is a 54-year-old man who tested positive on Sunday. He showed some symptoms of coronavirus after which he was admitted to the Mayo Hospital in Lahore on Saturday night. He had recently returned from the United Kingdom.

The second patient of Islamabad was the husband of a woman who had tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday.

The surge in cases comes days after the National Security Committee (NSC) decided to take a number of steps to stop the spread of coronavirus in the country including closing the borders, banning all large public gatherings and closing educational institutions.

A day earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan in his first statement on the coronavirus pandemic said that he was "personally overseeing measures" to stop the spread of COVID-19. The premier added that "while there was a need for caution, there was no need to panic."