Pakistan extends lockdown to April 14

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Pakistan on Wednesday announced a two-week extension in an ongoing lockdown in the wake of rising numbers of coronavirus cases in the country.

“The government has decided to continue the current restrictions on public movement until April 14,” Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar told a news conference in capital Islamabad after a meeting on dealing with the pandemic.

The lockdown, Umar observed, had significantly added to the government’s efforts to stem the spread of the virus. ” That’s why, the government has decided to continue the restrictions, except for the goods transportation, for two more weeks.”

Islamabad also announced the partial resumption of international flights, mainly to bring nearly 2,000 Pakistanis stranded in different countries, from April 4. However, all the domestic flights will remain suspended until further order, according to the minister.

Initially, state-run Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will be allowed to operate 17 flights from Islamabad airport to bring back the stranded Pakistanis from Turkey, UK, Canada, Azerbaijan, and other countries from April 4 to April 11.

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The decision, Umar said, to continue or suspend the international flights would be taken after reviewing the week-long operations.

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The number of novel coronavirus cases in Pakistan has risen to 2,118 with more than 150 confirmed in the last 24 hours, officials said Wednesday.

The countryโ€™s death toll jumped to 27, while 12 patients are in critical condition.

Nearly 80% of the confirmed cases had recently returned from Iran and Saudi Arabia.

So far, 82 patients have recovered and were discharged from the hospital, the Health Ministry said.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 180 countries and territories, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University.

Its data shows the number of confirmed cases worldwide has surpassed 885,600, with the death toll over 44,200 and more than 185,400 recoveries.

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