Rescue workers and family members carry the casket, who died due to coronavirus, at a cemetery in Hyderabad, Pakistan. AP
Pakistan passed another grim milestone as the number of deaths from COVID-19 crossed the 2,000 mark on Sunday.
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.
He said the country is too poor to go into a full lockdown, which he warned would devastate a failing economy, already dependent on billions of dollars in loans from international lending institutions.
Pakistan’s medical professionals have pleaded for more controls and greater enforcement of social distancing directives. They're infuriated that Khan’s government bowed to the radical religious right to keep open mosques, which have been one of the leading causes of the spikes in infections.
To try to stem the spread of the virus, the government has ordered markets closed on weekends and inspections have been stepped up in some areas where clusters have emerged, quarantining entire neighborhoods.
Pakistan has some 3,000 ICU beds, and while the demands are increasing, nearly 25% are still available.
China has reported its first non-imported case of the new coronavirus in two weeks, an infected person on the island of Hainan off the southern coast.
The National Health Commission said Sunday that there were also five imported cases in the previous 24-hour period, bringing the nation’s total case count to 83,036.
China says it has largely stopped the spread of the virus at home, though it continues to have occasional localized outbreaks. It is on guard against imported cases as it begins to ease restrictions on flights and people arriving from abroad.
The official death toll in China is 4,634.
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.
Further complicating the dilemma, as the government pins its main hope for stemming the virus’ rampage on social distancing and masks, many in the public ignore calls to use them.
The country reported 467 new deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 20,160. It also recorded 22,252 new infections, increasing the total to 719,665.
India’s COVID-19 fatalities have passed 6,000 after registering 260 deaths in the last 24 hours. Pakistan's outbreak has grown steadily since the country's first case in February. Since then, 1,770 people have died and 85,264 have tested positive.
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Turkish authorities registered nearly 600 aftershocks, dozens of them stronger than 4.0 magnitude, complicating the search for those believed to still be breathing under mountains of concrete debris.