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Pakistan PM Imran Khan extends lockdown until April 30 as COVID-19 cases near 6,000 mark

Addressing reporters following the National Coordination Committee meeting, Khan said that the ongoing restrictions have helped contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Published: 14th April 2020 11:35 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th April 2020 11:45 PM   |  A+A-

People wait to receive cash under the government's Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program for families in need, during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, April 14, 2020.

People wait to receive cash under the government's Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program for families in need, during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, April 14, 2020. (Photo | AP)

By PTI

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday extended the ongoing lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic until the end of this month as the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 5,837.

Addressing reporters following the National Coordination Committee meeting, Khan said that the ongoing restrictions have helped contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

"It has been decided that the lockdown will continue till April 30," he said.

However, Khan said that some key industries would be opened in order to start business activities.

"Our estimate was that 190 people will die until today but so far we saw 96 deaths. The spread of the virus is just 30 per cent of our projections," the prime minister said.

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His advisor on health Dr Zafar Mirza said the predictive modelling done by the experts estimated 18,000 patients until Tuesday but the actual number is less, he said.

He said the death rate due to the virus was 1.6 per cent in Pakistan whereas it was 6.2 per cent in the world.

Minister of Industries Hammad Azhar said several sectors and industries including construction, agriculture, chemical manufacturing, e-commerce, software, paper and paper packaging, fertilisers, mines, glass industry and plant nurseries were being allowed to open.

He said exporters can also become operational.

Advisor on Security Moeed Yusuf said that gradually airports were being made operational to bring more than 35,000 stranded Pakistanis.

Khan, while allowing relaxation in the lockdown to allow these industries to work, warned of action if set procedures were flouted.

He also announced to bring ordinance to curb smuggling and hoarding to give strict punishment to culprits.

The measures were announced as Pakistan in its fresh official data showed that the number of coronavirus cases rose to 5,837.

The Ministry of National Health Services reported on its website that the number of patients in Punjab was 2,881, Sindh 1,518, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 800, Gilgit-Baltistan 233, Balochistan 231, Islamabad 131 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 43.

It also reported that 1,378 people have recovered while 96 died, including three in the last 24 hours, while 46 were in critical condition.

The website showed that a total of 69,928 test were performed, including 3,157 during the last 24 hours.

The spread of COVID-19 continues at a steady pace despite efforts to contain it.

Meanwhile, as restrictions were placed on congregational prayers in mosques, more than 50 clerics belonging to different organisations, including some banned outfits, warned the government not to further place restrictions on prayer congregations.

Despite the government's pleas to observe social distancing, more than 53 senior clerics of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, belonging to the Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia, held a meeting in Jamia Darul Uloom Zakria, Tarnol, Islamabad, according to report in Dawn news.

The meeting was attended by senior clerics representing various seminaries, banned groups, proscribed persons and political and non-political parties.

After a meeting in Islamabad, Pir Azizur Rahman Hazarvi, president of Jamia Darul Uloom Zakaria, Islamabad and patron of JUI-F Islamabad said: "The senior clerics have noted that all efforts will be made to avoid clash and confrontations with the government and the state institutions."

 Prime Minister Khan announced to call a meeting of key clerics to chalk out plans as to how to use mosques in the holy month of Ramadan which is set to start from April 25.

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