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Another Cabinet Member Tests Positive for COVID-19

by Newsweek Pakistan

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Special Assistant to the P.M. on Poverty Alleviation latest lawmaker to contract the coronavirus

Sania Nishtar, the special assistant to the P.M. on poverty alleviation and social protection, on Monday announced that she had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“I have tested positive for COVID-19 and am isolating myself,” she said in a post on Twitter. “I have mild symptoms and will, therefore, continue to work from home,” she added.

Nishtar’s diagnosis comes a few days after Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan also announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19. She is merely the latest government official to contract the illness since the pandemic arrived in Pakistan in February.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Shehryar Khan Afridi, and then-special assistant to the P.M. on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza have all contracted the virus and since recovered. From the opposition, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)’s Shahbaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Pakistan Peoples Party’s Saeed Ghani and Murtaza Wahab, among others, have also all tested positive for the virus and subsequently recovered.

Planning Minister Asad Umar on Tuesday warned that the public was ignoring SOPs, which had raised the country’s COVID mortality rate by 140 percent in the past week. Continuing to ignore government-issued SOPs to curb the virus could result in loss to lives and livelihoods, he added.

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