The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan has reached 1,000, the country’s health ministry said yesterday.
Around 100 new cases were identified in the last 12 hours, a spokesperson for the health ministry said.
The first virus infection was reported on February 26 and at least seven deaths have been confirmed in the country so far.
The health minister said there were over 7,000 suspected cases in the country and the government was taking all the steps needed to control the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).
“It has been decided to suspend all domestic flight operations from March 26 to April 2,” a spokesperson for the aviation ministry said.
Pakistan had already suspended international flights till April 4.
Thousands of troops and police were enforcing the lockdown in the country.
Pakistan has the world’s fifth-largest population with over 220mn people – and a broken healthcare system.
There are some 2,000 ventilators in the country and a shortage of protective gear for medical staff.
Karachi wore a deserted look on the second consecutive day due to a province-wide lockdown, as military and paramilitary soldiers as well as police patrolled the roads and streets of the city to ensure that citizens stayed indoors.
The police continued their action against violators, registered 132 more cases, and arrested 748 more people for violating Section 144 and hoarding masks, sanitisers and gloves. Section 144 has been imposed against gatherings of four or more people across the province, including Karachi, where a total of 36 cases have been registered and 246 people arrested.
After the province-wide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus was imposed at midnight between Sunday and Monday, police officials started patrolling roads and streets of the city to ensure that no one stepped out of their homes without a good reason.
On the other hand, because of no clear guidelines to the police officers patrolling the streets, a number of incidents have been reported in which police humiliated violators by beating them, making them do push-up, and cramming them into overcrowded spaces in police stations.
Karachi Additional IGP Ghulam Nabi Memon vowed to take stern action against police officers who took the law into their hands. “We are making efforts to take action against such police officers who take law into their hands,” he said.
Although the police force has been issued with directives to treat the people with respect in this time of crisis, multiple videos of law enforcers humiliating citizens have surfaced since the lockdown was imposed.
Memon also issued a video statement appealing to the citizens to co-ordinate with the police. He was accompanied by senior police officer. In his video message, he said the police’s job was to protect the life and property of citizens, appealing to the citizens of Karachi to help the police in enforcing the lockdown effectively.
“The government of Sindh has given a task to police to implement the lockdown,” he said. “We are trying to our level best that the citizens should voluntarily confine themselves to their homes.”