Pakistan’s opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif tests positive for COVID-19

Leader of the opposition in Pakistan’s National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and several other politicians have tested positive for COVID-19, local media reported on Thursday.

Shahbaz, who is the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), went to self-quarantine after testing positive for the disease, the party’s spokesperson Maryam Aurangzeb said on Thursday.

Shahbaz is also a cancer survivor and is being kept under observation of his doctors. His condition is currently stable and he is showing only mild signs of COVID-19, the spokesperson said.

Condition of the other politicians who have tested positive including former Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ‘s Khurrum Sher Zaman, is also stable.

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All of them have opted for self-isolation at their homes, according to the reports.

On Wednesday, Minister of Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that 46 politicians in the country had tested positive for the disease so far, with some of them losing their lives to the disease.

Owing to the surge in the cases among the parliamentarians, the government approved new rules for the initial session to hold a debate on the forthcoming budget in the lower house.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan said that a quarter of the members of the lower house would attend the initial budget session, and only the members who have to make speeches during the budget debate will be present in the house.

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The number of COVID-19 patients has witnessed a significant surge in Pakistan recently with 4,000 to 5,000 new cases emerging every day.

A total of 119,536 people have tested positive of the disease, and 2,356 have died, according to data updated by the health ministry on Thursday.