PIA temporarily suspends international flight operations amid virus outbreak

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Saturday announced to temporarily suspend all international flights as part of measures to contain the potential spread of coronavirus in the country.

A spokesperson for the national flag-carrier said that the decision will become effective at 08:00 PM on Mar 21 and international flights will resume on Mar 28.

Meanwhile, Karachi airport administration has started screening passengers on domestic flights. The travelers will have to go through screening procedures before boarding and after disembarking from the flights.

International flights will also be properly disinfected.

Earlier, Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed announced to stop 34 trains until the 15th of Ramazan as the number of people traveling has reduced drastically amid coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, Rasheed said that some 12 trains – including Khushal, Shah Latif and Ravi Express – will stop running from Sunday, while the rest of the 34 trains will stop working from midnight on Mar 24.

The minister urged people to not travel unless necessary and said that no employees of the Railways department will be fired during this time.

VIRUS TOLL RISES

Sindh Health Department Spokesperson Meeran Yousuf on Saturday announced 14 new coronavirus cases, taking the provincial tally to 267.

With the emergence of new cases, Pakistan’s total coronavirus cases currently stand at 512.

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In Punjab, no new cases were reported till noon today.

Provincial Primary and Secondary Healthcare Secretary Captain (r) Mohammad Usman announced that 127,000 face masks are being produced in the province every day. He added that 50,000 masks are being produced in Lahore, 40,000 in Rawalpindi and 20,000 in Faisalabad respectively along with other cities in the province.

Usman added that the department is also working on increasing the supply of sanitisers and people would soon hear “good news”.

In a related development, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has convened the first meeting of its Crisis Management Committee (CMC) on Mar 24.

According to the notification issued by the LHC registrar, the meeting will be presided over by LHC Chief Justice Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh.

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