Shehbaz Sharif, chief of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the latest top politician 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, 68, has been infected with the virus. He claimed that Shehbaz 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," Tarar said.
He said Shehbaz 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) and NAB will be responsible if something happens to Shehbaz Sharif, he said.
Earlier, in a statement submitted to NAB, Shehbaz, 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 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 period.
Punjab has so far detected 45,463 patients, Sindh 43,790, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 15,206, Balochistan 7,335, Islamabad 6,236, Gilgit-Baltistan 1,018 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 488.
It said that 38,391 people have so far fully recovered.
A total of 26,573 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, taking the total number to 780,825.
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.