Coronavirus: positive cases rise to 245 in Pakistan, Sri Lanka stops flights
The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Indian subcontinent increased overnight to 482, as authorities in the region imposed travel restrictions to block the rapidly spreading disease that has infected nearly 200,000 people across the world and killed almost 8,000 people.
Inadequate health facilities are feared to be overwhelmed in many parts of the poor and crowded region.
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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a speech delivered Tuesday night to the nation, urged citizens to remain calm and not rush to get tested.
“Even the United States does not have the resources to evaluate everyone who comes,” he said. “Only those with severe symptoms should go to the hospital.”
“There is no need to worry. We will fight this as a nation. And God willing, we will win this war,” said Khan.
His comments came amid a growing dispute in Pakistan between federal and provincial authorities, in which the latter are fighting to secure enough coronavirus test kits and blame the federal government for not properly testing and quarantining hundreds of Pakistanis. who recently returned home through a land border with Iran.
Late Tuesday, Pakistan said it would require all arriving air passengers to show they had tested negative for the disease. Land borders have already been closed.
Pakistan’s central bank cut its key interest rate by 75 bp to 12.50% on Tuesday, the first cut in four years, when the coronavirus rattled markets across the region.
Sri Lanka, which has recorded 43 cases of coronavirus, said it would ban all incoming flights for two weeks from Wednesday to combat the spread of the virus.
Officials also implemented price controls on lentils and sardines to ensure that prices are not taken.
Sri Lanka also said that its stock market will remain closed for the rest of the week as it tries to minimize interactions and curb the disease.
In India, where 147 cases of the coronavirus were confirmed, authorities on Tuesday canceled nearly two dozen long-distance train services in a bid to curb the disease and also due to a decrease in passenger numbers.
Confirmed cases of coronavirus in South Asia:
Pakistan – 245
India – 147
Sri Lanka – 43
Afghanistan – 22
Maldives – 13
Bangladesh – 10
Nepal – 1
Bhutan – 1
TOTAL – 482