Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's brother Shehbaz Sharif, chief of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the latest top politician in Pakistan to be infected by the deadly virus on a day when the number of COVID-19 cases in the country touched 119,536.
PML-N leader Ataullah Tarar confirmed on Thursday that Shehbaz Sharif, 68, has been infected with the virus. He claimed that Shehbaz Sharif contracted the virus as he had to appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on June 9 in a money laundering case.
"NAB was informed multiple times in writing that Shehbaz Sharif has suffered from cancer and compared to other people, his immunity system is weak," Mr Tarar said.
He said Shehbaz Sharif was already living in quarantine due to the threat of virus and had to leave home to appear before NAB.
"Imran Niazi (Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan) and NAB will be responsible if something happens to Shehbaz Sharif," he said.
Earlier, in a statement submitted to NAB, Shehbaz Sharif, who is the younger brother of Nawaz Sharif, said, "It has been widely reported in the media that some NAB officials have tested positive for COVID-19. Please appreciate (that) I am a cancer survivor and 69 years old. I have been advised limited exposure on account of the peculiar background of low immunity."
Shehbaz Sharif has added to the list of top leaders in the country who have contracted the virus, including former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and incumbent Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad.
At least four lawmakers, including a provincial minister, have died due to coronavirus in Pakistan.
The Ministry of National Health Service said that 5,834 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of infections in the country to 119,536.
The total number of fatalities reached 2,356 after 101 patients died during the last 24 hours.
Pakistan's Punjab province has so far detected 45,463 patients, Sindh province 43,790, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 15,206, Balochistan 7,335, and Islamabad 6,236.
Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (including Northern Areas or so-called 'Gilgit-Baltistan') has 1,506 cases so far.
38,391 people have fully recovered from COVID-19 so far.
Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced a USD 500 million loan to help Pakistan to combat the challenges arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"COVID-19 hit Pakistan at a critical point in its ongoing economic recovery program. ADB's loan will help deliver programs for the poor & vulnerable, strengthen the health sector, & deliver a pro-poor stimulus to boost growth & jobs," the bank tweeted.
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