Pak grapples with increasing COVID-19 cases, tally reaches 4,322

Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday saw a jump of 248 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally to 4,322, as the authorities grappled to contain the fast-spreading disease despite over a two-week partial lockdown in the country.

According to the Ministry of National Health Services, 63 people have died due to the infection, including 5 in one day. A total of 572 people have recovered.

Thirty one people are in critical condition.

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The number of COVID-19 patients in Punjab was 2,171, Sindh 1,036, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) 560, Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) 213, Balochistan 212, Islamabad 102 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 28.

The government is concerned over the steady rise in the cases despite more than two weeks of partial lockdown in the country that has badly hit the poor as well as affected the national economy.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday expressed concern that the situation “can further deteriorate” and “our hospitals may not be able to cope” with the increasing number of patients.

Pakistan is making frantic efforts to tackle the pandemic.

Khan has again warned the people to follow official guidelines on self-isolation or the virus would spread further.

He, however, defended his decision to not impose a total lockdown, saying over 50 million people were below the poverty line in the country and they could die of hunger if such step is taken.

Meanwhile, the prime minister on Thursday launched the “Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme” to transfer a total of Rs 144 billion cash to 12 million poor families hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The monetary assistance would be distributed among the poor families during the next two-and-a-half weeks after biometric verification.

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