An official of animal rescue team checks a cat rescued from a cage of a closed animal market during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak, in Karachi.(AFP Photo)
An official of animal rescue team checks a cat rescued from a cage of a closed animal market during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak, in Karachi.(AFP Photo)

‘Horrific’, says activist as hundreds of lockdown-hit animals die in Pakistan

As the coronavirus pandemic grew, Pakistan’s major cities were plunged into lockdown, forcing many shops to close.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Agencies
UPDATED ON APR 07, 2020 03:25 PM IST

Abandoned when Pakistan’s largest cities went into lockdown, hundreds of caged cats, dogs and rabbits have been found dead inside pet markets hurriedly shuttered as the coronavirus spread.

Survivors from the specialist corner of Karachi’s sprawling Empress Market were only rescued after activists appealed to the authorities for access.

“When we got inside, the majority of them were dead, about 70 percent. Their bodies were lying on the ground,” Ayesha Chundrigar, who runs ACF Animal Rescue, told neas agency AFP.

“It was so horrific, I can’t tell you.”

As the virus pandemic grew, Pakistan’s major cities were plunged into lockdown, forcing many shops to close. Only stalls selling essential goods such as food and medicine were allowed to continue operating.

The bodies of about 20 dogs were found dumped in a sewer near Lahore’s Tollinton Market, a hub for pet businesses which had closed leaving animals to starve.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan has sharply increased to 3,864 with more than 500 fresh infections while the death toll reached 54, the health officials said on Monday.

The Ministry of National Health Services, in an early morning update on its website, reported that four patients died of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

According to the officials, Punjab has 1,918 cases, Sindh 932, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 500, Gilgit-Baltistan 211, Balochistan 202, Islamabad 83 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 18.

The increase in the number of new cases was reported despite hectic efforts to curtail the spread of the virus.

The government has extended the partial lockdown until April 14 and asked people to stay at homes and follow social distancing.

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