Covid-19 crisis may pull Pakistan’s economy into recession, says World Bank; cases cross 5000-mark

The number of Covid-19 cases in Pakistan crossed the 5,000-mark on Saturday, and nearly half of them are from Punjab province alone. The Ministry of National Health Services said that 254 new infections were reported in Pakistan, taking the total number to 5,038.

The nation-wide breakdown of the patients showed that Punjab has 2,425 cases, Sindh 1,318, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) 697, Balochistan 228, Gilgit-Baltistan 216, Islamabad 119 and Pakistan occupied Kashmir 35.

In the last 24 hours, 14 people have died in the country due to Covid-19, taking the total number of dead in Pakistan to 86.

Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar told the media on Saturday that the government has been losing one-third of its revenue and exports had already dropped by 50 per cent due to Covid-19.

The minister also said that 144 billion Pakistani Rupees would be given to 12 million families under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme (EECP). This was the biggest relief package in the country’s history, he announced.

Umar said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would chair a meeting of the National Co­ordination Committee on Coronavirus on Monday on whether to extend the lockdown or ease restrictions after April 15.

The coronavirus crisis is going to take a heavy toll on Pakistan’s economy, the World Bank said. In a report based on country-level data till April 7, the bank said that Pakistan, along with Afghanistan and the Maldives, is expected to fall into recession. Pakistan’ economy is expected to shrink by up to 2.2 per cent, the World Bank report further said

The US on Sunday overtook Italy as the country with the highest number of deaths due to Covid-19 pandemic with the fatalities crossing 20,000.

Globally, the novel coronavirus that originated in China in December has killed 108,862 people and infected over 1.7 million people globally. The US has the highest number of infections at 529,887, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

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