In a significant development on Wednesday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has 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.
Prime Minister Imran Khan was tested today for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus strain that causes coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19]. The test used was a polymerase chain reaction (PCR). I am happy to report that his test is NEGATIVE. <289>— Zafar Mirza (@zfrmrza) April 22, 2020
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. Incidentally, Imran Khan attracted a considerable amount of criticism for this meeting when Faisal Edhi revealed that the former did not even recognise him. Making this revelation in a talk show, Faisal Edhi also mentioned that the Pakistan PM talked to him for barely half a minute.
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. Presently, there are 10,129 confirmed novel Coronavirus cases in Pakistan out of which 2156 persons have recovered while 212 deaths have been recorded. With 4,331 COVID-19 cases, the Punjab province has recorded the most number of cases in Pakistan.