Pakistan’s former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday, becoming the latest top political figure to contract COVID-19 that has claimed 2,551 lives and infected 132,405 people in the country.
Gilani, 67, tested positive after attending a hearing of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in a corruption case.
On Thursday, Shehbaz Sharif, chief of the Opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), tested positive for the coronavirus after he appeared before the NAB in a money laundering case.
Gilani’s son Kasim Gilani announced on Twitter that the former premier had tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Thank you Imran Khan’s govt and National Accountability Bureau! You have successfully put my father’s life in danger. His COVID-19 result came positive,” Kasim said.
Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi also tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday.
Pakistan’s COVID-19 cases reached 132,405 after a record 6,472 new infections were detected, while 88 more people have succumbed to the coronavirus, pushing the death toll to 2,551, the health ministry said on Saturday.
The Ministry of National Health Services said a record 29,850 tests were done in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of COVID-19 tests conducted in the country to 839,019.
“So far, 50,056 people have recovered across Pakistan, making it a significant count,” it said.
There are no patients on ventilators in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Balochistan. As many as 420 ventilators out of a total 1,400 breathing devices allocated for COVID-19 are occupied across Pakistan, it said.
Out of the total 132,405 cases detected so far, Punjab has recorded 50,087. A total of 49,256 infections have been reported in Sindh, 16,415 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 7,866 in Balochistan, 7,163 in Islamabad, 1,044 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 574 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
At least 88 people have died in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 2,551, the ministry said.
There are 820 hospitals with COVID-19 facilities in the country and 8,559 patients are admitted across the country, while others are recuperating in self-isolation at homes, it added.
The government closed down nearly 1,300 hot spots, including several areas in capital Islamabad, on Saturday due to fast spreading of the deadly virus.
“Total 1,292 smart lockdowns enforce throughout the country,” National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) said.
It said that the federal and provincial authorities were ensuring compliance with health guidelines and instructions for the working places and following track, test and quarantine strategy.
A total of 844 areas in Punjab are under smart lockdown, 414 areas in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 12 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, 10 in Islamabad, 7 in Sindh and 5 in Gilgit-Baltistan, it said.
More than 1,541 shops, 33 industries and 1,429 vehicles were cautioned or fined or sealed, it said.
“To ensure the implementation of the health guidelines/instructions and preventive measures, special teams are operating all across the country to ensure that the SOPs are being implemented,” NCOC said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan medical goods watchdog has approved the first indigenously made testing kit for the novel coronavirus.
Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said that the kit was developed by the scientists at the army-run National University of Science and Technology (NUST).
The kit was approved by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) after it completed successful rounds of trials.
“Another landmark achieved…. DRAP has approved Pakistan first COVID testing kit, Congratulations to @Official NUST and our brilliant scientists …you people have made us proud … this will bring significant cost reduction of COVID tests also will save huge import bill,” Chaudhry tweeted on Friday.
These testing kits will cost one-fourth of the current price for the kits used for detecting COVID-19. The kits have been efficiently tested on laboratory controls and patient samples.
The kit was developed in collaboration with Wuhan Institute of Virology China, DZIF Germany, Columbia University, US and Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Pakistan.