Pakistan on Saturday clarified that no vaccine was being prepared after reports emerged that the country was on the verge of developing it with the help of China even as the coronavirus cases climbed to 12,644. Advisor on Health Zafar Mirza in his daily media briefing said that currently there was no coronavirus vaccine in Pakistan and no work of any kind was going on for its development.
"Let me clarify that while there are several initiatives to develop vaccines across the world, there is no such initiative in Pakistan at the moment", he said. But he said that a Chinese company developing a vaccine contacted Pakistan and offered it to become a part of clinical trials. We have asked for more information from them, Mirza said.
He said that a similar offer was made by a company in Japan and Pakistan asked for specific details. Mirza said that 79 per cent of the all coronavirus cases in Pakistan were locally transmitted. It is now fair to say that our outbreak is now mostly of local transmission, he said.
Imran Khan tested negative for the novel coronavirus. This comes a day after it emerged that Faisal Edhi with whom Khan had interacted on April 15 had been confirmed as a positive COVID-19 patient. Khan's test report was confirmed by Dr.Zafar Mirza, the Special Assistant to the Pakistan PM on Health. Earlier, reports indicated that Imran Khan's family members also tested negative for the novel Coronavirus.
Faisal Edhi had presented a cheque worth 1 crore Pakistani rupees to Khan in Islamabad in his capacity as the head of the Edhi Foundation, which is the country's largest charity foundation. Reportedly, he developed COVID-19 symptoms soon after visiting Islamabad. Though these symptoms subsided after 4 days, he insisted on getting tested as he had been on the ground working with novel Coronavirus patients. Currently, he is in isolation at a hospital in Islamabad.
The Ministry of National Health Services reported that Pakistan's coronavirus tally touched 12,644, as the government asked people to follow official guidelines while visiting mosques in Ramadan. It said that three patients died on Saturday, taking the total death toll to 256. Another 2,755 recovered from the disease. The largest province of Punjab reported 5,378 cases, Sindh 4,232, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 1,793, Balochistan 656, Gilgit-Baltistan 307, Islamabad 223 and Kashmir 55 cases. So far 138,147 tests were done including 6,780 during the last 24 hours, according to the data issued by the ministry. It also said that 785 patients were diagnosed during the last 24 hours. The Imran Khan government on Friday extended the lockdown till May 9.
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Imran Khan has been panned by the opposition for his inconsistent stance on the enforcement of a lockdown. In March, he ruled out the possibility of imposing a lockdown in Pakistan. Acknowledging Pakistan’s dire economic condition, Khan stated his government did not have the capacity to take care of 25% of the population which is under the poverty line if a lockdown was implemented. However, the Pakistan government later imposed a lockdown and extended it till April 30.