Pakistan's coronavirus tally rises to 53

Sajjad Hussain

Islamabad, Mar 15 (PTI) Twenty new case of the novel coronavirus surfaced in Pakistan on Sunday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 infections in the country to 53.

The number of coronavirus cases have doubled in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province, with 18 new positive cases detected on Sunday.

The Punjab province also reported its first two cases in Lahore and Islamabad.

Murtaza Wahab, a spokesperson of the Sindh Government, said 13 of the cases surfaced when a group of pilgrims were tested for the virus after they reached Sukkur city from the Taftan border.

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 6,000 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 SH/ZH NSA