Islamabad/ Colombo: Pakistan’s prime minister called for calm after its tally of coronavirus cases rose to 256 while Sri Lanka sealed itself off and declared a partial curfew on wednesday as South Asian countries tried to stem the epidemic.
The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Indian subcontinent topped 500 on wednesday.
Officials imposed travel restrictions to block the spread of the disease amid fears that inadequate health facilities could be overwhelmed in a region that is home to nearly 1.9 billion people.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an address to the nation, urged citizens to remain calm and not rush to get tested.
“Only those with intense symptoms should go to hospital,” he said. “There is no need to worry. We will fight this as a nation. And God-willing, we will win this war.”
Pakistan said on tuesday it would require all arriving air passengers to show they had tested negative for the disease. Land borders have already been shut.
Sri Lanka, which has recorded 51 coronavirus cases, said it would ban all incoming flights for two weeks from Wednesday to combat the spread of the virus.
Sri Lanka said its stock market would remain shut for the rest of the week as it attempts to minimise interactions and curb the disease.
The country has imposed a curfew in certain areas in a bid to control the spread, police said.
In India, where 147 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed, authorities on tuesday cancelled nearly two dozen long distance train services in a bid to curb the disease and also because of a fall in passenger numbers.