COVID Watch (4th April 2020)


9,000 Women Join ‘Tiger Force’

Over 9,000 women mainly from Punjab and Sindh registered for the Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Tiger Force through the Pakistan Citizen Portal, according to Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar. Approximately 408,000 volunteers were recorded to have signed up in less than 3 days, with 8,000 sign-ups received from Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Punjab constituted over half the total registrations.

Registrations to continue till April 10.

UNHCR Buffers Digital Links

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Pakistan announced mobile network top-ups of Rs. 1,000 for 2,200 outreach volunteers and 800 community mobilizers to ensure effective digital communication during the lockdown. The UNHCR hopes to address gaps in access to government info as well as to promote improved coordination with volunteers working in refugee camps and settlement areas.

The Pakistani government has repeatedly requested aid from UN agencies, including the UNHCR, in resolving the food crisis for Afghan refugees. The UNHCR has so far coordinated with district administrations and the government in disbursing sanitation supplies to refugees.

Trans People Facing Hardships

The trans community voiced concern for their welfare as their precious few sources of income dry up during the lockdown. Denied economic opportunities, transgender persons must rely on performances, charity from households when a male child is born, and beggary. However, with the new norm of social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it has become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for transgender persons to make rent and buy essentials.

The trans community has urged the district governments to provide financial relief so that they may purchase foodstuffs and essential items, and are able to pay at least 3 months of rent.

AJK Inaugurates Isolation Facility

Azad Jammu and Kashmir inaugurated its first coronavirus isolation facility in Muzaffarabad. The hospital is equipped with a total of 50 beds, 10 ventilators and a fully equipped ICU and high dependency wards. The facility will later be converted to a cardiac hospital. Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider, in his media address after the inauguration, insisted that the situation in AJK is under control.