ISLAMABAD - The United States yesterday announced $ 1 million aid to Pakistan to combat the coronavirus.

US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Alice Wells said that the US will provide $1 million to Pakistan under the USAID programme “to bolster monitoring and rapid response” against coronavirus.

In a tweet, she said that US and Pakistan both were longstanding partners in tackling global health challenges.

Yesterday, Pakistani authorities confirmed two more deaths from coronavirus, or COVID-19, raising the total number of casualties in the country to four. A 77-year old patient, who died in a hospital in Karachi, was already suffering from cancer and diabetes, Azra Fazal Pechuho, health minister of Sindh province, said.

Another old lady with 20-year-history of diabetes passed away in Dera Ismail Khan district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, provincial health minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said in a Twitter post. She had been quarantined in a facility after recently returning from Iran, he added.

Earlier this week, two patients who had returned from abroad died of coronavirus in the same province. 

The third one from Karachi had no history of traveling aboard, raising fears that he may have contracted the virus locally. Yesterday, the number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan rose to 454, with 245 in the Sindh province alone.

The virus emerged in Wuhan, China, last December, and has spread to at least 164 countries and territories around the globe, according to the World Health Organization.

According to John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, 244,523 cases have been confirmed worldwide with 10,030 death. Alice Wells  said there were over hundred Pakistani graduates engaged in the lab training of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, investigating coronavirus cases in Punjab and Gilgit Baltistan.

This week, Asian Development Bank released $ 50 million for Pakistan in an effort to fight and fend off the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

An official statement by the global money lending body said that the grant will be exclusively given to the country’s National Disaster Management Authority.

Last day, Economic Affairs Minister Hammad Azhar announced that China had provided aid worth $ 4 million to Pakistan. Azhar said China had provided grant assistance $ 4 million along with 300,000 medical face masks, 10 ventilators, and other equipment.