Pakistan halts intl flights, India calls curfew today

ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI/MANILA: Pakistan on Saturday announced the suspension of all international flights for two weeks in order to prevent the further spread of coronavirus in the country while the number of COVID-19 positive cases surged to 293 in India a day before a nation-wide call for a ‘Janata curfew’.
The Philippines on Saturday reported 77 new cases, bringing the country’s total to 307, even as Bangladesh reported its second death linked to the coronavirus outbreak and four new infections, raising the number of patients to 24.
In Indonesia, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 450 after 81 more people tested positive, the Health Ministry said.
Pakistan’s decision on the suspension of international flights will become effective at 1500 GMT and last until April4, with exceptions for cargo and diplomatic travel.
“We have decided to suspend flight operations of all international flights for two weeks,” Moeed Yousaf, special assistant to the prime minister, told media.
“We cannot take the risk of further spread of virus in the country and taken this difficult decision,” Yousaf said.

JANATA CURFEW
Several Indian states have imposed prohibitory orders to deal with the pandemic. The number of positive cases surged to 293 as of Saturday. With four dead, and several recovered, the number of active cases exceeded 260.
A nation-wide call for a ‘Janata curfew’ has been announced from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Railways will not ply any passenger trains in the said hours; bus connectivity too is likely to be limited. Twelve more people test positive for corornavirus in Kerala on Saturday, taking the total number to 49, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
PHILIPPINES CASES UP
The Philippines on Saturday reported 77 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the country’s total to 307, almost one week into a month-long lockdown on the main northern island designed to thwart the spread of the disease.
The death toll also rose to 19, while the number of patients who have recovered from the disease went up to 13, according to the Department of Health.
Health Under-secretary Maria Rosario Vergiere said the country has received 100,000 COVID-19 testing kits donated by China, South Korea and Brunei.

2ND DEATH IN BANGLADESH
Bangladesh has reported its second death and four new infections, raising the number of patients to 24, an official said on Saturday.
The 73-year old deceased, who also suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure, died at a Dhaka hospital, Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque said.
He added that more than 14,000 people, recently returned from abroad, were put on home quarantine for two weeks to help prevent spread of the virus. Bangladesh reported its first coronavirus death on Wednesday, 10 days after the detection of the first three cases on March 8.

INDONESIA TOLL RISES
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Indonesia rose to 450 after 81 more people tested positive for the virus, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.
The death toll rose to 38, from 32 the previous day, ministry spokesperson Achmad Yurianto said.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan on Friday declared the outbreak an emergency and ordered the closure of entertainment centres and nightspots for two weeks.

BANGKOK LOCKDOWN
Bangkok city officials have issued a shutdown order for businesses in the capital such as malls, restaurants, and schools, to last three weeks to contain the spread of the virus.
Saturday’s announcement, signed by Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang, ordered the closure, from Sunday to April 12.
Affected establishments include restaurants, department stores, markets, schools, barbers, sports stadiums, golf courses, and massage parlours, among others. — dpa

Oman Observer

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