A doctor speaks with her colleagues wearing protective gear in a train coach prepared as a temporary quarantine facility in Pakistan. File / AFP
The COVID-19 death toll in Pakistan has increased to 343 with the emergence of 26 fatalities in 24 hours, the highest single day jump, health authorities said.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Security Moeed Yusuf told the media that besides the new 26 deaths, there were 44 infected people in critical condition, Dawn news reported on Thursday.
However, he said the mortality rate was only 2.1 per cent in Pakistan as compared to around 7 per cent in other countries.
"Moreover, 80 per cent of the deceased were over 50 years old and 70 per cent of the overall victims were suffering from some other critical diseases (such as cancer, heart problem and diabetes)," he added.
As of Thursday, the number of confirmed cases in the country stood at 15,521. Punjab province is the hardest-hit with 5,827 cases, closely followed by Sindh at 5,695.
Meanwhile, the government has also decided to bring back 7,500 overseas Pakistanis in the first week of May.
"Our major focus will be on the Gulf states as thousands of Pakistanis have become jobless or their visas have expired. So they will be brought back from Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Estates. Some flights will be operated from Sudan, Kenya and the UK," Dawn news quoted Yusuf as saying.
Moreover, at the request of Afghanistan, the government decided to allow export of non-essential goods along with essential items to the neighbouring country, he added.
Pakistan also reported 4,734 new virus cases, raising its overall infections to 93,983. The latest 97 virus-related deaths sees the highest 24-hour increase to its fatalities, as authorities urged volunteers to motivate people to adhere to social distancing regulations to contain the spread of the virus.
Pakistan is also pushing toward 100,000 confirmed infections as Prime Minister Imran Khan warned the country's 220 million people in televised speeches that they are going to have to learn to live with the virus.
"We have now 5th confirmed case of COVID19 in federal areas," Zafar Mirza, the country's health minister said in a tweet early Tuesday morning. The patient is stable and being managed well, he said, without giving further details.
A total of 75,538 deaths have been recorded, including 53,928 in Europe, the continent worst hit by the virus. The official tallies probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of cases. Many countries are testing only the most serious cases.
"Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Nigeria, Morocco are the first set of countries that committed to it," said John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Addis Ababa.
Sajaya’s 'Salam cultural event' to be hosted live on Zoom will feature a series of activities including an art auction, drawing, sketching and painting, and instrumental and vocal music segments.
The Ministry said in a statement that the intense testing drive uncovered 277 new cases of various nationalities, who are all in a stable condition and receiving the necessary medical treatment. This brings the total number of official cases recorded in the UAE to 63,489.