By Islamuddin Sajid
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) – The coronavirus death toll in Pakistan rose to 21 on Monday, while the number of COVID-19 cases reached 1,650, according to the country’s top health official.
State Minister for Health Zafar Mirza said four new fatalities were reported in the northeastern Punjab and southern Sindh provinces, and the northern Gilgit Baltistan region.
“So far, seven people have lost their lives to COVID-19 in Sindh, six in Punjab, five in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, two in Gilgit Baltistan, and one in Balochistan,” Mirza said at a news conference.
Of the total 1,650 COVID-19 patients in Pakistan, 783 are under treatment in hospitals, with 10 of them in critical condition, according to the minister.
He said 28 patients have completely recovered and been discharged from hospitals so far.
Mirza said most of the patients in hospital were recovering well and will soon be sent home.
– ‘Flights may resume'
Pakistan could soon move towards partial resumption of international flights, another government official said at the news conference.
On March 21, Islamabad suspended all international flights until April 4 as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“The government is considering the possibility of partially resuming international flights from April 5,” said Moeed Yusuf, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security.
Rebutting local media reports, he said only a partial resumption was on the cards and there was no chance of international flights being fully restored.
Since first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 177 countries and regions, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
The data shows nearly 738,000 cases have been reported worldwide so far, with the death toll above 35,000, and over 156,000 recoveries.