ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s coronavirus woes are deepening as the number of infected persons is constantly on the rise and the provincial and the federal governments are struggling to cope with the worsening health situation.
On Saturday, the number of the confirmed cases was 1,400 with new cases emerging from all the four provinces and the Pakistan-Administered Kashmir.
Among the latest cases include the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Member of the Provincial Assembly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Abdul Salam Afridi.
In a video message on Friday, Afridi confirmed he had been tested positive for the coronavirus and was putting himself under home quarantine.
Afridi is a Member of the Provinicial Assembly (MPA) from the same Union Council Manga, Mardan district, which is described epicentre of coronavirus in KP and where first death of a 50-year-old, who returned recently after performing Umrah, was reported last week due to the virus.
On March 17, a large number of local people had gathered despite a ban by the provincial government to receive him after his return from the pilgrimage.
His death raised alarm bells and the authorities launched a massive screening drive of the residents and the subsequent results confirmed their fears as from the same UC alone, 60 active cases of coronavirus have been reported so far.
Abdul Salam Afridi was also tested as he remained in touch with the local people and the health authorities during screening of the residents.
In his video message, the PTI MPA said he was not concerned much about his personal health and would return to his people as soon as he was well.
“It was my responsibility to remain in touch with my people during the time of crisis. Although I am aware about the threats of infection, yet being a public representative it was my duty to keep in contact with my people, especially the distressed dwellers of Manga,” he said in his message, adding: “I have no grief or repentance over infection from the corona. How could I stay away from the people of my constituency, who were in distress.”
Earlier, Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan announced a Rs32 billion (Dh710.187 million) relief package in the fight against coronavirus in the province.
The CM said Rs8 billion out of Rs32 billion were set aside for the health sector and Rs11.4 billion have been set aside for the provincial government.
The CM also announced that close 1.9 million people will benefit from the Ehsaas programme and under it underprivileged families will get Rs5,000 as a monthly stipend.
Earlier, a provincial minister of Sindh, Pakistan People’s Party’s senior leader Saeed Ghani also announced he was tested positive with virus and isolated himself as a precautionary measure.