Six civil servants have been suspended by the authorities in Pakistan after they posed for a selfie with a coronavirus patient in a quarantine centre, an official said Tuesday.
The selfie widely shared on social media pictured a group of men around the apparent patient, several of them smiling broadly and none wearing face masks.
The picture was taken at a quarantine facility near Sukkur in virus-hit Sindh province, where 399 of the country’s 892 COVID-19 cases have been recorded so far.
“Six of the government employees have been suspended and put into quarantine,” Rana Adeel, deputy commissioner in Sukkur, told AFP.
The commissioner added that the six employees of the provincial land department were visiting a local politician who was in quarantine after contracting the novel coronavirus during a visit to Iran.
The suspension comes as Pakistan continued locking down large swathes of the country to battle the contagion. Aljazeera reported that on Monday, a full lockdown went into effect in the southern city of Karachi, home to more than 20 million people, while Punjab province – home to almost half of Pakistan’s 207 million people – also announced widespread restrictions on public movement.
Sindh police reported more than 700 people had been arrested in the bustling Karachi since Monday when the province announced its lockdown.
Pakistan has a history of failing to contain infectious diseases such as polio, tuberculosis and hepatitis. So far, authorities have confirmed six deaths from coronavirus.
According to the Guardian UK, as of Tuesday, there have been at least 378,679 confirmed cases of people with the virus across the world. More than 16,500 people have died while almost 101,000 have recovered.