Labourers sit to maintain social distanciation during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, on the outskirts of Islamabad on March 31, 2020.  (Photo by Farooq NAEEM / AFP) (Photo by FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP via Getty Images)

The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan reached 1717 on Monday (30), amid officials stepping up efforts to contain the fast spreading deadly viral infection.

According to the Ministry of Health, Punjab the emerging hotspot of COVID-19 in Pakistan recorded over 558 cases, followed by over 481 cases in Sindh.

The Pakistan government also decided to keep its western borders with Iran and Afghanistan and eastern border with India closed for two more weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Moeed Yusuf on Saturday said the move was taken in the wake of increasing COVID-19 cases in the country.   He also announced that all flights will remain suspended in the country till April 4. However, there will be exceptions if a country makes a special request to repatriate its citizens.

On Sunday, a special flight carrying stranded Pakistanis from Bangkok was allowed to land in Islamabad. All passengers were taken to an isolation centre where they will tested before being allowed to go home.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan posted a message of encouragement for his British counterpart Boris Johnson and UK Prince Charles, both of whom were tested positive for COVID-19.

“I wish HRH Prince Charles @ClarenceHouse and PM @BorisJohnson speedy recovery, good health and long life. This deadly virus #COVID19 has hit people beyond borders,” he tweeted.

Khan said there is a need for “an internationally coordinated response” to counter the virus.