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Pakistan’s Coronavirus Tally Hits 16

by Newsweek Pakistan

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Nine new cases confirmed in Sindh province, with health department reporting none of them had any links to earlier patients

Special Assistant to the P.M. on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza on Monday night announced that nine more people who had recently returned from abroad had tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Karachi, bringing the national tally to 16—with 13 of them from Sindh alone.

“I can confirm 9 new cases of COVID-19 in Karachi. All these cases are contacts of an already confirmed case. Further contacts are being traced and tested. This makes a total of 16 cases in Pakistan,” he posted on Twitter. The Sindh Health Department, however, said this was not entirely accurate.

“Six patients came from the same flight so we do not know if they had the same contact,” it posted on Twitter in response to Dr. Mirza’s statement. “The other three came from a different flight and none of these cases are contacts of an already confirmed case,” it added.

According to a statement issued by the Sindh Health Department, six of the new cases came to Pakistan from Syria via Doha, while three came from London via Dubai. “The health department is in the process of tracking down all the contacts for further testing,” it added.

Of the 16 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Pakistan, one has already fully recovered and been discharged. The majority of the cases—13—have emerged from Sindh province.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has directed all government and private hospitals to share details of patients with symptoms matching that of COVID-19 so medical testing can be done to ensure they have not contracted the disease.

The latest jump in cases comes as Sindh’s educational institutions remain shut—to be reopened on March 13—in a bid to prevent the contagious disease from spreading among the public.

The novel coronavirus emerged at an animal market in China’s Wuhan city last year, and has since spread to over 100 countries globally. The mysterious disease has killed over 3,500 people in the past three months and infected more than 100,000 all over the world. In addition to China, new outbreaks have emerged in Italy, the United States and Iran, raising fears that the virus could soon tax healthcare services globally.

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