Policemen stop a motorist near a closed mosque on the Friday prayers day in Karachi. AFP
Governments of Asian nations with large Muslim populations have urged people to keep their distance while observing their faith during the fasting month, which gets underway shrouded in fear over the coronavirus.
Last week, Pakistan ceded to pressure from religious leaders and eased restrictions on mosques in time for Ramadan, when congregations tend to swell in number.
Muslims maintain safe distance as they attend Friday prayer in efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus in Karachi. Reuters
"The Sindh government has decided people should offer Ramadan's Taraweeh (evening) prayers at home," Sindh's Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said in a video message broadcast on local television stations on Friday.
Shah said he was acting on the advice of doctors.
"Our hospitals are overwhelmed with patient inflows; we don't want our health system to collapse," he said. Pakistan, the world’s second most populous Muslim country after Indonesia, has reported more than 11,000 cases of the coronavirus, including 237 deaths. Both the government and experts say the peak for infections is expected to hit in May.
Large gatherings will only worsen the numbers and overwhelm the health care system that has less than 3,000 acute care beds for a population of 220 million people, says Dr Qaiser Sajjad, secretary general of the Pakistan Medical Association and one of the authors of the letter.
India has also closed a border with neighbouring Myanmar to counter the coronavirus outbreak, as countries across South Asia reported a rise in cases on Wednesday. No cases have so far been confirmed in Myanmar.
The embassy noted that it coordinated with UAE national carriers Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways and Saudi national carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines to operate flights for the next 72 hours according to the announced schedule. It commended in this regard the notable cooperation shown by officials of the national carriers in question.
"We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference on Wednesday.
The witness added the suspect disappeared after being injured and after having bleeding in the head, and then he was seen heading towards the victim with a knife.
Abu Ghazeen noted that those vehicles give a grace period for the public to park in the public parking for a period of 10 minutes without paying fees.
"This technology has proven its effectiveness to identify suspicious and wanted people," said Obaid Al Hathboor, director of Dubai's Transport Security Department.
The suspect offered Dhs50,000, a Rolex watch, a monthly salary of Dhs20,000, and a Mercedes car as a bribe to a policeman so that he could escape from the police station where he was held on charges related to drug trafficking.