Pakistan's coronavirus tally rises to 34

Islamabad, Mar 15 (PTI) A new confirmed case of the novel coronavirus surfaced early Sunday in Islamabad, bringing Pakistan's total number of cases to 34, according to a media report.

The new victim is the husband of a woman who recently travelled to Pakistan from the United States and tested positive on Saturday, the Express Tribune newspaper reported.

The lady is currently in critical condition, receiving treatment at the isolation ward in the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), the paper said, adding that there are now four COVID-19 patients at the isolation ward in PIMS.

Pakistan reported five coronavirus cases on Saturday - two in Balochistan, two in Sindh and one in Islamabad.

Balochistan now has a total of 10 confirmed cases while Islamabad has four and Gilgit Baltistan three. Sindh saw its second locally transmitted case bring the tally to 17.

Pakistan saw a sudden increase in coronavirus infections on Tuesday when a dozen new cases were reported across the country.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said that he was personally monitoring measures to deal with the coronavirus in the country.

Khan announced on twitter that he would soon address the nation to take the people into confidence about measures to combat pandemic.

'I want to inform the nation I am personally overseeing measures to deal with COVID 19 and will address the nation soon. I would advise people to follow safety instructions issued by our govt. While there is a need for caution there is no need for panic,' he said.

He said Pakistan government was fully aware to the dangers and taking steps.

'We are alert to the dangers and have put in place sufficient protocols for the safety and health of our people. The WHO has commended our efforts as being amongst the best in the world,” he said.

The deadly virus that first originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year has claimed over 5,700 lives and infected more than 150,000 people across 135 countries and territories.

China remains the hardest-hit with more than 80,000 infections and 3,199 deaths.

Pakistan's high-powered National Security Committee on Friday took several decision to boost efforts to defeat the threat posed by the virus.

Among other things, it decided to close down the western border with Afghanistan and Iran.

It also ordered the closure of all education institutions in Pakistan till April 5 in view of the virus outbreak. PTI ZH ZH