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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

24 March 2020, Tuesday

In Pakistan, the Centre and provinces differ on lockdown



PR Daily Brief | Lakshmi V Menon

Coronavirus cases across Pakistan reached 875 on 23 March 2020, with Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani, a journalist and foreigners amongst the victims. The discrepancies amid the Centre and Sindh provincial government regarding the shutdown is continuing. Post the news of Sindh educational minister, Sindh CM Syed Murad Ali Shah has ordered testing of himself and his team members. (Dawn, 24 March 2020)

In Islamabad, six Tablighi Jamaat members residing in a mosque at Bahara Kahu tested positive for coronavirus. On 22 March six more people (of unconfirmed nationalities) also fell victims for the pandemic.

In Punjab 24 more tested positive for COVID-19 raising Punjab’s tally to 246; 14 of which were participants of the Tablighi Jamaat, four of which were Chinese nationals and 177 were pilgrims returning from Iran. SAPM on Information Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, during a media briefing, said the Centre disagreed with the need for a lockdown and instead recommended “convincing” the population to remain indoors. She announced the Centre’s disagreement with the lockdown decision of the Sindh government while also announcing that the federal government had approved the provinces’ request for military deployment.

NDMA Chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal said their priority was providing safety gears for medical and paramedical staff in direct contact with the patients. The regarded the State Bank of Pakistan’s move to facilitate transfer of NDMA’s money for procurement to Pakistan embassy in China. He added that medical equipment like ventilators, personal protection equipment (PPEs) and a consignment of 125-tonne PPEs would be sent to Pakistan by China on 26 March.

During a separate press conference, SAPM on National Security Division Dr Moeed Yusuf urged Pakistanis abroad to avoid travelling back home. SAPM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said that only people can overcome the challenge of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Punjab CM Usman Buzdar notified that the shutdown would be extended for 14 days, said the restrictions would include public transportation and public and private offices and called for strict implementation of social distancing by deployed military; 17 Chinese engineers are showing symptoms of coronavirus; and Corona Experts Advisory Group (CEAG) was constituted by Punjab government.

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