ISLAMABAD, March 11: Pakistan witnessed a sudden increase in coronavirus cases as the number of patients rose to 16, officials said.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza confirmed that nine new cases were identified in Karachi, capital of Sindh province.
"I can confirm 9 new cases of #COVID19 in Karachi This makes a total of 16 cases in Pakistan," he tweeted.
He said that "all these cases are contacts of an already confirmed case" and authorities were testing more people who were in contact with the infected people.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah asked all hospitals to share the record of patients with the symptoms of pneumonia to further investigate them.
Earlier, Sindh health department said on Monday that one new case surfaced in Karachi but Mirza announced after midnight that nine cases were identified.
According to officials, five of the new patients came to Karachi from Syria via Doha while three persons came from London via Dubai during the past week.
Thirteen of the total 16 victims belong to Sindh, according to Meeran Yousuf, the media coordinator to the Sindh health minister.
Authorities were trying to track down all their contacts for further testing in order to contain spread of the virus.
The virus that first originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year has claimed over 4,000 lives and infected more than 110,000 across 100 nations and territories.
The World Health Organisation last week raised the global virus risk to maximum level after the outbreak spread to sub-Saharan Africa and stock markets around the world plummeted. - PTI