Pakistan virus cases cross 5,000 mark

A passenger wearing a face mask leaves a railway station in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Islamabad, (Asian independent) Amid the countrywide lockdown, the total number of confirmed coronavirus patients has increased to 5,030 across Pakistan with nearly half of the cases being reported from Punjab province alone.

While disclosing that the government has been losing one-third of its revenue and exports had already dropped by 50 per cent due to the pandemic, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar told the media that the government would decide on Monday whether to extend the lockdown or ease restrictions after April 15, reports Dawn news.

He was addressing a press conference along with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza on Saturday.

“Fewer deaths have been reported as compared to different predictive models. Though there were fewer patients on the ventilators, for some weeks, but on Saturday that number reached 50,” he disclosed.

At least eight more coronavirus patients died on Saturday, taking the total toll to 86.

The Minister told the media that 144 billion PKR would be given to 12 million families under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme (EECP). This was the biggest relief package in the country’s history, he announced.

Umar said Prime Minister Imran Khan would chair a meeting of the National Co�ordination Committee on Coronavirus on Monday to discuss the lockdown situation.

The government would then decide whether to extend the lockdown or ease the restrictions after April 15, he added.

Meanwhile, Mirza aide said that testing capability would be enhanced by the end of April, Dawn nes reported.

“Earlier around 800 tests were being conducted daily but for the last few days we are conducting 2,500 to 3,000 tests a day. By the end of this month, we will hold up to 25,000 tests daily.”