LIVE: Karachi ‘hotspots’ to be sealed amid rise in local cases; nationwide tally crosses 7,350

KARACHI / ISLAMABAD / QUETTA / PESHAWAR / LAHORE / GILGIT / MUZAFFARABAD:
The novel coronavirus emerged in the central China city of Wuhan towards the end of last year and proliferated to almost the whole world within a couple of months. It’s not the virulence or fatality, but the infectivity of the new virus – also known as SARS-CoV-2 – that has set off a global frenzy.

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The Covid-19 respiratory illness caused by this mysterious contagion has so far infected more than 2 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world – more than 130,000 of them have died and counting.

Pakistan, despite its close proximity with China, remained coronavirus-free until February 26 when a young man from Karachi tested positive after returning from Iran – one of the worst-hit countries. After a brief hiatus following the first case, Covid-19 cases spiked as more pilgrims returning from Iran tested positive for the virus.

The nationwide tally of Covid-19 patients has crossed 7,350 with 3,391 cases in Punjab, 2,217 in Sindh, 993 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 335 in Balochistan, 245 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 154 in Islamabad, and 48 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The virus has claimed 137 lives while at least 1,765 coronavirus patients have recovered.

The number of cases has continued to soar despite the country being under lockdown for the third consecutive week.

The situation remains fluid and we’re updating stats as soon as new figures are officially released.

Follow The Express Tribune’s live coverage of the pandemic here.

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10:27pm: ‘Test all persons arriving from abroad’

Sindh Health and Population Welfare Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho has issued directives, stating that all those returning from abroad were to get tested for the coronavirus.

She said that a health department team would be deployed at the airport to carry out the medical examination of all those arriving from other countries.

“The samples of all 130 passengers who had boarded a flight to Pakistan from Oman were collected on Friday.”

The minister further said that the passengers whose samples were collected would be quarantined until test results were released and the health department would provide assistance for treating infected persons.

According to the health minister, among the passenger who arrived from Oman, those belong to other provinces would be provided transport facilities for returning home.

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9:40pm: First Covid-19 patient discharged from Karachi’s Expo Centre health facility

The first coronavirus patient admitted at the makeshift Karachi Expo Center field hospital has been discharged after full recovery from the mysterious disease.

The Covid-19 patient was brought at the 1,150 beded quarantine facility earlier this month and was receiving medical treatment.

The makeshift health facility, which is equipped with all necessary equipment including ventilators, is providing diagnostic, quarantine and treatment services to the virus hit patients.

Volunteers and medics at the facility bid adieu to the patient amid cheers and clapping. The young man can be seen in a video thanking them and showing his gratitude in response.