February 29, 2020 / 2:18 PM / a month ago

Pakistan confirms two more coronavirus cases, bringing total to four

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan confirmed two more cases of coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the total number of positive cases to four since Wednesday when the first two cases were reported in the country.

Men walk with face masks as a preventive measure, after Pakistan confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus, along a sidewalk in Karachi, Pakistan February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

“We have received reports of two more positive cases of coronavirus, one has been reported in Sindh province, (the) other in federal areas,” Zafar Mirza, Pakistan’s health minister, told a news conference.

The minister did not say in which cities the new cases were reported, asking media to respect the patients’ privacy.

He said the two people in the earlier reported cases were doing well and one was about to be discharged from hospital.

Sindh information minister Murtaza Wahab told Reuters one of the new cases was in Karachi, the country’s economic hub, bringing the number recorded there to two.

The other of the two first cases was reported in Islamabad. Both of those individuals had recently returned from Iran, which is at the epicentre of the outbreak in the Middle East, with 43 deaths reported so far.

“Gradually we are starting to receive our pilgrims from [the] Taftan border with Iran,” Mirza told reporters in Islamabad.

Flights to and from Iran have been suspended, he said, adding that the government would review the measure at a later stage.

Pakistan closed its border with Iran on Sunday following the outbreak in the neighbouring country.

Pakistan, like most South Asian countries, lacks the infrastructure to deal with any large scale outbreak of the virus.

Reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; Editing by Alexander Smith and Clelia Oziel

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