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National Security Committee to Meet Over Coronavirus Concerns

by Newsweek Pakistan
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Aamir Qureshi—AFP

High-level meeting occurs as number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan climbs to 21

With the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Pakistan climbing to 21, the Government of Pakistan has announced that Prime Minister Imran Khan has called a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) on Friday (today) to discuss the prevailing situation.

On Thursday, the Sindh government announced that it was barring spectators from the remaining Pakistan Super League matches set to take place in Karachi—on March 13, March 14, March 15, and March 17—as well as closing all educational institutions in the province until May 30. The extended holidays would replace summer vacations.

On Twitter, the Prime Minister’s Office announced, quoting data from the National Institute of Health, 894,256 travelers had been screened for symptoms of COVID-19, with 471 having been tested for the virus thus far. A subsequent update on Friday morning raised the number tested to 542 nationwide. Overall, 21 people have tested positive for the coronavirus—15 from Sindh province, one from Balochistan and five from Gilgit-Baltistan. This number includes two people who have fully recovered and been discharged from hospital.

According to Special Assistant to the P.M. on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza, the NSC meeting summoned for today would include the Army chief, representatives of all provinces and other stakeholders. “The meeting may decide to impose sort of emergency or indirect emergency in the country,” he told local media.

Meanwhile, the Council of Islamic Ideology has announced that it supports the authorities’ restrictions to halt the spread of the deadly virus. CII Chairman Qibla Ayaz told journalists everyone should follow instructions of doctors to stay safe.

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