Pakistan’s coronavirus death toll jumped by 11 to 135 in the space of 24 hours. The number of new cases was also as high as 497 in a single day taking Pakistan’s total beyond 7,000. On Thursday, the country had registered a record 17 deaths within 24 hours while its tally rose by 520.
The spike comes only two days after the lockdown restrictions were partially lifted, a move that experts called premature and dangerous. On 14 April, the government had announced reopening of some ‘low-risk’ businesses to lessen the economic impact of shutdowns on the poor.
A Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) official, however, does not link the spike in new cases to lockdown lifting and instead points to bulk testing performed in the past 24 hours. Half of the new cases, he revealed, were found among the participants of Raiwind’s Tableeghi congregation.
SAPM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza also pointed to increased testing, 5,300 as compared to the usual 3,000 in a day, as the reason of a spike in new cases.
Experts fear that with the lockdown restrictions eased, the next few weeks could bring Pakistan’s outbreak peak with its new cases and fatalities reaching alarming proportions.
Punjab govt announces financial package for frontline workers
The Punjab govt has announced a special financial package for frontline workers who are risking their own lives to save others’ during the coronavirus pandemic.
All frontline workers – including healthcare professionals (Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics, Janitorial Staff), Rescue, Police & others — will get one month’s salary bonus.
Compensation for families of those who lose their lives during the fight against the pandemic will be somewhere between 4 and 8 million under the package.
Govt of Punjab has finalized financial package for frontline workers fighting #COVID19
Frontline workers = Healthcare Professionals (Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics, Janitorial Staff), Rescue, Police or any other
▪ Bonus: 1 Month Salary
▪ Shaheed Package: 4 to 8 Million pic.twitter.com/LBEnjUNRMn
— Government of Punjab (@GOPunjabPK) April 17, 2020