March 18, 2020 / 6:01 PM / 15 days ago

Pakistan confirms first two deaths from coronavirus - minister

PESHAWAR/DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan on Wednesday confirmed its first two deaths from coronavirus as the total number of infected patients in the country climbed to 260, the health minister said on Twitter.

Both deaths were reported from northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where so far 19 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed.

“Sadly, a second patient in Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) Peshawar, a 36 year old from Hangu district has also passed away from coronavirus,” Taimur Khan Jhangra, provincial minister for health of north west province said in a tweet.

The 36 year old patient was brought to the (LRH) on Tuesday night, tested positive for COVID-19 and passed away on Wednesday, Mohammad Asim, spokesman for the hospital told Reuters.

On Tuesday night, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an address to the nation, urged citizens to remain calm and not rush to get tested.

His comments came amid a growing dispute in Pakistan between federal and provincial authorities, with the latter struggling to secure sufficient coronavirus testing kits and blaming the federal government for failing to properly test and quarantine hundreds of Pakistanis who recently returned home across a land border with Iran.

Reporting by Jibran Ahmad; Writing by Syed Raza Hassan; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Chizu Nomiyama

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