Pakistan: Bilawal Bhutto tests positive for Covid-19

Pakistan: Bilawal Bhutto tests positive for Covid-19, in self-isolation

Pakistan's leading opposition politician Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Thursday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The 32-year-old chief of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and son of former two-time prime minister Benazir Bhutto went into isolation after being infected with the virus.

“I have tested positive for #COVID-19 & am self-isolating with mild symptoms. I'll continue working from home & will be addressing PPP foundation day via video link. Wear a mask everyone, see you on the other side IA (Insha Allah),” Bilawal tweeted.

On Wednesday, he decided to stay away from any political activity after his political secretary Jamil Soomro was tested Covid-19 positive.

Bilawal has recently returned to Karachi after running almost a month-long election campaign prior to the November 15 election in Gilgit-Baltistan.

The PPP chairman also attended a massive anti-government rally of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) in Peshawar on November 22. Pakistan's newly-formed alliance of 11 Opposition parties had organised the rally, despite a ban imposed by the city administration owing to a spike in Covid-19 cases and security threats.

His tweet drew criticism from ministers who accused him of putting the lives of people in danger by inviting them to attend the PDM rallies.

The PDM's next rally is in Multan on 30 November.

Bilawal’s diagnosis comes a day before the engagement ceremony of his sister, Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari, to a Dubai-based businessman.

The PPP and Zardari family also drew flak for a mandatory condition outlined in the invitation card to invited guests that they have to submit negative Covid-19 test results a day before the engagement ceremony or they would not be allowed to enter Bilawal House in Karachi.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani's son was arrested on Wednesday for organising the November 30 rally in Multan, where the district administration refused permission citing the high incidence of coronavirus infections.

The coronavirus tally in Pakistan reached 386,198 on Thursday with the detection of 3,306 new cases in the last 24 hours.

Forty more people died overnight due to the disease, pushing the death toll to 7,843, the health ministry said.

The figure of patients recovered from the virus has now reached 396,198, it said, adding that there are now 43,963 active cases in the country.