Passengers wearing face masks travel on a train in Karachi, Pakistan, on Thursday. AP
The novel coronavirus has infected 156 media persons and claimed the lives of three journalists in Pakistan, according to a report released by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ).
It highlights that camera journalists and photojournalists have been the biggest sufferers since the outbreak of COVID-19.
The report, compiled by Zulfiqar Ali Mehto who heads the PFUJ’s COVID-19 rescue committee, states that out of the three dead journalists, one was from Multan and two others were from Sukkur.
Sixty-nine journalists have returned home from hospital after recovery, while the others are in quarantine and their condition is out of danger.
Faisalabad, Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan have not reported a single positive case among the journalists there.
Lahore has reported the highest number of cases at 84, followed by Rawalpindi and Islamabad with 24, Quetta 17, Peshawar 12, Karachi nine, Sukkur six, Multan five and Gujranwala and Hyderabad two each.
Mehto said the PFUJ had collected data from its units spread across the country and Azad Kashmir.
“One media person got infected in Azad Kashmir but he has recovered now, whereas there has been no coronavirus victim among journalists in Gilgit-Baltistan area.”
As the Punjab government has announced an assistance of Rs100,000 for every victim from the Journalists Support Fund, the PFUJ has sent the data to the authorities concerned.
The PFUJ called upon the governments of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir to provide at least Rs100,000 to the journalists affected by coronavirus.
The sealing of high-risk area comes as Pakistan reported 6,472 news cases on Saturday, the country's highest single-day total. Pakistan has confirmed a total of 132,405 cases, including 2,551 deaths.
The federal government has announced that 1,825 (over 90 per cent) of the 2,000 promised beds equipped with oxygen facility have been provided to hospitals across Pakistan while the remaining ones dedicated for coronavirus patients will be made available soon.
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.
"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.
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