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COVID-19:Pakistani hospitals suspend outpatient clinics

All markets, shopping malls, restaurants to remain closed from Wednesday as part of its effort to stem coronavirus pandemic

Islamuddin Sajid   | 25.03.2020
COVID-19:Pakistani hospitals suspend outpatient clinics

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan 

Pakistan’s government on Wednesday closed the outpatient departments in hospitals in the capital Islamabad, as part of measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

However, emergency services will remain functional at the hospitals, according to a notification issued by the capital’s deputy commissioner.

"There shall be a complete ban on intra-city, inter-district and inter-province movement of people by public transport. However, the metro bus service will be functional but at a distance of one seat between passengers," the notification read.

The government also completely banned gatherings of all kind for social, religious at all public and private places in Islamabad.

"Unnecessary movement is not allowed. Whoever wants to help the needy please do it in your own vicinities and neighborhoods. No one is allowed to move out of your Union Councils at the moment," Hamza Shafqaat, the deputy commissioner said on Twitter. 

On Monday, the government deployed army troops across the country to reinforce lockdown, which will run through the next two week. 

Streets were deserted, public transport, offices, shops, markets, parks, and other public spots remained closed in all the four provinces, the northern Gilgit-Baltistan region, and Pakistan-administered Kashmir as the coronavirus tally spiked to nearly 1,000 with seven confirmed deaths.

Two patients who have lost live caused by local transmission of novel coronavirus in Pakistan while the country also reported first confirm case in inmates in Lahore.

"Coronavirus has created alarming situation and we are taking steps to secure all inmates in the prison," Shafqat Mahmood, the minister for education said on Geo News, a local broadcaster. 

The latest number of COVID-19 patients in the country reached 991, while 16 patients have successfully recovered and discharged from the hospitals.

Most of the confirmed patients had recently returned from neighboring Iran. 

On Tuesday, the government imposed a state of emergency in the five districts of southwestern Balochistan province, which border the coronavirus-battered Iran, in a desperate attempt to quench the increasing number of the novel virus cases.

After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, coronavirus has spread to at least 170 countries and regions, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

Out of more than 423,100 confirmed cases, the death toll now exceeds 18,900, while over 108,620 have recovered.

Italy, China, Iran, and Spain continue to be the most affected countries.

Despite the rising number of cases, a vast majority of those infected by the virus suffer mild symptoms and recover.

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