Pakistan has extended the suspension of domestic flight operations till May 13 as part of the government's plan to stem the spread of the coronavirus which has claimed 667 lives and infected over 30,000 people in the country. Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) extended the ban until Wednesday as part of the government instructions to minimise travelling of the people. The earlier ban ended on May 10.
"As per the decision of the GoP, the suspension of domestic flight operations as effected earlier has been extended up to Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 2359 hours PST. Remaining provisions as applicable to the suspension of domestic flights reflected in previous orders remain unchanged," PCAA said in a tweet late last night.
According to the Ministry of National Health Services, 1,476 new COVID-19 patients were identified during the last 24 hours. A total of 28 more people have died in the same period, taking the tally of COVID-19 deaths in Pakistan to 667, it said, adding that 8,212 people have recovered. Out of the total 30,941 cases, Punjab reported 11,568 infections, Sindh 11,480, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 4,669, Balochistan 2,017, Islamabad 679, Gilgit-Baltistan 442 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 86.
So far, the authorities have conducted 294,894 tests, including 11,369 in the last 24 hours, the ministry said. An army officer was among the new COVID-19 fatalities reported.
"Major Muhammad Asghar, laid his life in the line of duty at Torkham border in fight against COVID-19. Evacuated to CMH (combined military hospital) Peshawar with breathing problems, was put on ventilator but succumbed to coronavirus," the Pakistan Army said.
A meeting of Pakistan's National Assembly is called on Monday after marathon talks between the government and the opposition parties. The government was insisting to meet virtually, a suggestion rejected by the Opposition. Deputy speaker Qasim Suri is expected to chair the meeting as Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser is recovering from the coronavirus infection.
The meeting is the first since the outbreak of COVID-19. According to officials, the prevailing local and global pandemic situation would be on top of the agenda. Globally, the death toll due to COVID-19, which originated from Wuhan in December last year, has gone up to 282,727 with over four million infections reported so far, according to Johns Hopkins University tally.