Pakistan’s health chief tests positive for coronavirus

Dr. Zafar Mirza speaks to reporters in Quetta, Pakistan, Feb. 26, 2020. (AP/File)
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Updated 06 July 2020

Pakistan’s health chief tests positive for coronavirus

  • Dr. Mirza is among several high-ranking officials to contract the deadly disease 
  • Number of infections cross the 230,000 mark across the country

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Minister of State for Health Dr. Zafar Mirza said on Monday that he had tested positive for the disease.

“I have tested positive for COVID-19. Under med advice, I have isolated myself at home & taking all precautions. I have mild symptoms. Please keep me in your kind prayers,” he tweeted.

“Colleagues, keep up the good work! You are making a big difference & I am proud of you,” he said in a separate post.

Mirza is among several high-ranking officials, cabinet ministers and senior politicians to contract the virus, with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi saying last week that he had tested positive for the disease.

The list includes opposition leader and president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Shehbaz Sharif, Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed, Speaker of the lower house of parliament, Asad Qaiser, and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

As of Monday, Pakistan had reported 231,818 infections and 4,762 deaths from across the country, while more than 3,000 new cases are recorded every day.

This is despite authorities reinstating strict lockdown measures in select areas of several cities last month after the federal government said that the number of infections could multiply eightfold by the end of July and hit the 1.2 million mark.

Pakistan lifted its nationwide lockdown on May 9, citing economic stress, and has since seen infection rates rise from 1-in-10 tests to more than 1-in-5.


Pakistani army chief, Saudi ambassador discuss regional security 

Updated 10 August 2020

Pakistani army chief, Saudi ambassador discuss regional security 

  • Saudi ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf Saeed Al-Malkiy calls on General Qamar Javed Bajwa
  • The two leaders discuss matters of mutual interest, bilateral defense relations 

ISLAMABAD: Nawaf Saeed Al-Malkiy, the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, called on Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday and discussed the security situation in the region, the military’s media wing said. 
“Matters of mutual interest, regional security situation and bilateral defense relations between the two brotherly countries were discussed during the meeting,” the Pakistani army said in a statement.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are longtime allies. Saudi Arabia remains the main source of Pakistan’s remittances despite global business shutdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic. The country has also loaned Pakistan billions of dollars in recent months to help stave off a balance of payments crisis, and offered oil on deferred payments.