Pakistan announced halting of domestic flight operations after number of cases infected with coronavirus disease covid-19 rose to 1000 in the country. The government said that seven people have died of the disease.
The domestic flight ban will begin on Thursday, civil aviation spokesman Abdul Sattar Khokhar said on Wednesday. Islamabad had previously cut train service and international flights.
Initially, most of those infected were Pakistani pilgrims returning from neighboring hard-hit Iran, which has seen the Middle East’s worst outbreak of the virus. Now, the virus is being reported in people with no travel history, officials say.
More than 400 of the infected people are in the southern province of Sindh. The eastern province of Punjab has the second highest number of cases (296), the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has 78 cases, Balochistan has 110, while capital Islamabad has 15, as per media reports.
“Twenty-five percent of the population of our country lives under the poverty line. Putting the country under lockdown would mean that my daily-wage workers, street vendors, small shop-owners would be locked inside their homes. How would they earn then?” he said in his address to the nation.
The country had reported its seventh death on Tuesday, involving a 57-year-old patient who was undergoing treatment at Mayo Hospital in Lahore.
Six civil servants were, meanwhile, suspended on Tuesday after they posed for a selfie with a coronavirus patient in a quarantine centre, an official said.
The selfie – widely shared on social media – pictured a group of men around the apparent patient, several of them smiling broadly and none wearing face masks.