Pakistan’s woman legislator dies from COVID-19 as highest daily toll recorded - GulfToday

Pakistan’s woman legislator dies from COVID-19 as highest daily toll recorded


Shaheen Raza

A Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) woman legislator died on Wednesday after contracting COVID-19, Lahore’s Mayo Hospital officials said, marking the first death of a political figure in the South Asian nation from the disease at a time the country has lifted its countrywide lockdown.

Pakistan has recorded 45,898 infections and 985 deaths to date from the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Tuesday saw the most deaths in a single day reported, at 46.

Shaheen Raza, a 65-year-old female Member of the Punjab Assembly (MPA), the country's largest province, died in the eastern city of Lahore, the CEO of Mayo Hospital, Dr Asad Aslam, told Reuters.

"She was admitted to a hospital on May 17, and brought to Mayo Hospital on Monday, where she tested positive for the virus," Aslam said.

Pakistanikids-750x450Passengers board a train at a station after the government eased a lockdown in Lahore on Wednesday. AFP

Raza belonged to the ruling party of Prime Minister Imran Khan and was elected on a reserved seat for women. Punjab's Health Minister Yasmeen Rashid, who is from the same party, said Raza had been visiting quarantine centres in the province for inspections and was a cancer survivor.

Meanwhile, despite rising rates of infections and deaths, Pakistan continued to open up the country on Wednesday, with cross-country train operations restarting after almost two months.

The timing of the restart presents a challenge for authorities with the holiday of Eid Al Fitr, which marks the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan, due to fall on Sunday or Monday, subject to the sighting of the new moon - meaning tens of thousands of people will be looking to board trains for their home towns.

PakistanTrainService-750x450Passengers wearing face masks wait to board the Karachi bound Awam Express at the Rawalpindi railway station. AFP

Railways authorities told Reuters that bookings had been limited to 60% of capacity to ensure social distancing. Tickets sold out shortly after becoming available.

PakistantrainPassengers-750x450Passengers sit in a carriage of a train at a station before leaving for Rawalpindi in Lahore. AFP

"Walk-through sanitising gates, thermometers and sanitisers have been supplied to all railway stations," Pakistan Railways public relations director Quratul Ain told Reuters, adding no passenger with a temperature or not wearing a mask would be allowed to travel.



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