ISTANBUL, TURKEY – OCTOBER 12: Pakistan’s National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser speaks during an exclusive interview on October 12, 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Emrah Yorulmaz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY – OCTOBER 12: Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan Asad Qaiser speaks during the 3rd Conference of Speakers of Parliaments on Combating Terrorism and Strengthening Regional Connectivity at Hilton Bomonti Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey on October 12, 2019. (Photo by Emrah Yorulmaz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A police officer waves a baton as he tries to control the traffic, after Pakistan announced two weeks extension of a country-wide lockdown but lifted some curbs, following the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Karachi, Pakistan April 15, 2020. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro
People wait in lines to collect cash from a bank under the governmental Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme for families in need during a nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Karachi on April 16, 2020. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP)
People wait in a line to collect cash from a bank under the government’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme for families in need during a nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Karachi on April 16, 2020. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP)
Labourers sit on a roadside during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Rawalpindi on April 13, 2020. (Photo by Farooq NAEEM / AFP)
A vendor distributes water to shops during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Rawalpindi on April 13, 2020. (Photo by Farooq NAEEM / AFP)
Women stand in a queue as they wait to collect cash of financial assistance through a mobile wallet under the government’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme for families in need during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Lahore on April 13, 2020. (Photo by ARIF ALI / AFP)
A vendor wearing a facemask waits for customers beside closed shops in a market during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Lahore on April 13, 2020. (Photo by ARIF ALI / AFP)
Police officers try to restrict people from defying the nation-wide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Monday, April 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Pervez Masih)
A worker sprays disinfectant in the premises of Karachi Press Club during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Karachi on April 13, 2020. (Photo by Rizwan TABASSUM / AFP)
People receive cash vouchers under the government’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme for families in need, during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, April 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
Volunteers disinfect the Karachi Press Club building in an effort to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus, in Karachi, Pakistan, Monday, April 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
Women wait to receive cash under the government’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme for families in need, during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, April 13, 2020. Pakistan plans to distribute financial assistance among 10.2 million low-income families across the country impacted by the virus. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly said late on Thursday that he had tested positive for COVID-19, after hosting an iftar dinner to celebrate Ramadan, and meeting Prime Minister Imran Khan and other high officials earlier in the week.
It is not immediately known if Khan will be tested, but he was checked in April, and tested negative, after meeting with the head of Pakistan’s biggest charity organisation, who was subsequently confirmed to have caught the disease.
Faisal Edhi had met Khan in the prime minister’s office.
The National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, is currently in recess, though opposition parties have been calling for it to convene to discuss the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, where the number of cases has risen to 16,817, including 385 deaths.
The decision on whether to convene rested with Speaker of the Assembly, Asad Qaiser, who on Thursday night revealed he had tested positive in the capital, Islamabad.
“I have quarantined myself at home,” Qaiser, who is also a close aide to Khan, said on Twitter. Qaiser met with the prime minister on Monday, and has met several other leading figures during the past few days.
The speaker had hosted an Iftar, the evening meal to break fast during Ramadan, attended by politicians and dignitaries on Monday.
Daily detection of the virus has hit record highs on each of the last three days as the country ramps up its testing. On Thursday, 990 people tested positive. Daily testing is still around 8,000 in the country, which has over 207 million people.
The government says infections are well below projections and that it plans to further ease precautionary curbs after already opening dozens of industries and commercial activities, as well as mosque congregations.
Qaiser is the second high official to be infected in Pakistan after the Governor of the southern province of Sindh, Imran Ismail, tested positive on Monday.
Pakistan’s government agreed to allow mosque congregations after senior clerics and religious leaders threatened to violate restrictions during Ramadan.
The two sides worked out safety protocols for the mosque gatherings, but a social research organization earlier this week reported that protocols were not being followed.
Prominent doctors pleaded with the government to reconsider the decision, warning that mosque congregations, which are typically larger in Ramadan, could lead to a spike in infections, with hospitals already nearing capacity.
Related Slideshow: Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the world (Provided by Photo Services)
Members of Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and Colombian Army distribute food and other items to families in the rural areas of Ubaque in Colombia on April 27.
A staff member, with a face mask on, trains dolphins at a conservation center in Bali, Indonesia on April 28.
Employees wearing face masks and shields style customers’ hair at a salon in Tokyo, Japan, on April 28.
Decorated rocks with messages are offered at a child’s stand in Lawrence, Kansas, U.S., on April 27.
People wearing face masks form a queue to enter an office building in Beijing, China, on April 28.
U.S. President Donald Trump attends a coronavirus response news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on April 27.
An electronic sign showing the exit for “Swim & Go” as swimmers and surfers return to the water at the Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, on April 28.
A 14-year-old celebrates her birthday with a drive-by party outside her home in Pico Rivera, California, U.S., on April 27.
Job seekers wear face masks and maintain social distance before an exam in Seoul, South Korea, on April 25.
A man plays the bagpipes at the front of his house during Anzac Day commemorations in the suburb of Glen Iris in Melbourne, Australia, on April 25. Traditional Anzac Day ceremonies were canceled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions on gatherings.
A passenger wearing a protective face mask is seen in a subway train passing in front of the Eiffel Tower, as the lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak continues, in Paris, France, on April 24.
A Muslim man prays outside the National Mosque as it is closed during the movement control order due to the spread of COVID-19, on the first day of holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on April 24.
Workers prepare lemons for packaging during harvest at the Costieragrumi De Riso, traditional lemon growing company, in Minori, Italy, on April 24.
Students sit for the Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) exams in Hong Kong on April 24. Temperature checks and social distancing measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19 have been put in place in the schools for over 50,000 candidates who will sit for the DSE examination this year.
An aerial view shows the Grand Mosque deserted on the first day of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on April 24.
A staff member wearing a face shield talks to a bank teller at a counter where a plastic curtain is installed in order to prevent infections, at the Higashinakano branch of MUFG Bank in Tokyo, Japan, on April 24.
A woman wears a mask as she prays before sunrise under the light of a street lamp outside the closed St. George Church, at the start of the feast day of St. George, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on April 23.
Women wearing face masks ride past the Opera House in Hanoi, Vietnam, on April 23, as the country eased its nationwide social isolation effort taken to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.
The screen of the Hard Rock Cafe is illuminated in blue as part of the “Light It Blue” initiative to honor healthcare workers in New York City, New York, U.S., on April 23.
A view of the empty Istiklal Street and its surroundings during the four-day coronavirus restrictions in 31 provinces in Istanbul, Turkey, on April 23.
A crew member of the Ruby Princess cruise liner gestures from a bus in Port Kembla, some 49.7 miles (80 kilometres) south of Sydney, Australia, on April 23, before beginning the process of repatriation to their home countries.
Citizens arrive at the Ankara airport in Turkey on April 23 after a Turkish Airlines plane evacuated 279, along with 50 German nationals with kinship ties stranded in Germany.
Medical personnel jump in the air in the COVID-19 unit of the CHR Centre Hospitalier Regional de la Citadelle Hospital in Liege, Belgium, on April 22.
A couple receives a bag of medicine through a drone, which is used to deliver medication to the elderly, from the municipality of the town of Zapallar, Chile, on April 22.
A teacher gives instructions to students on how to wear a face mask at Escuela 30, a rural school that has resumed classes after a month, in San Jose, Uruguay, on April 22.
Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management Sarah Stuart-Black speaks to media during a press conference at the Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, on April 23.
Notes and supplies are seen in a break room at the Red Lion Hotel, currently one of Downtown Emergency Service Center’s temporary shelter locations to increase social distancing, in Renton, Washington, U.S., on April 22.
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) watches as Dr. Anthony Fauci heads to the podium to answer a question during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on April 22.
A woman is seen in a protective suit as she waits to board a train heading to Shanghai, at Wuhan Railway Station in China on April 21.
A fireman sprays disinfectant at a gas pump in Nairobi, Kenya, on April 20.
People are seen fishing in masks as state parks are reopened in Galveston, Texas, U.S., on April 20.
A “Thank You” message is seen for medical workers on the windows of a building in New York City, New York, U.S., on April 20.
An anti-stay-at-home demonstrator holds a sign in Augusta, Maine, U.S., on April 20.
A nearly empty freeway intersection is seen in Pasadena, California, U.S., on April 20.
Healthcare workers clap and wave as Toronto Police and the city’s frontline responders pay tribute to healthcare workers in Toronto, Canada on April 19.
A Glovo food delivery executive wearing a face mask walks past a deserted Puerta del Sol square during the lockdown in Madrid, Spain, on April 19.
People fly kites with “stay at home” phrases as part of an initiative launched by Jordan Kuwait Bank to support unemployed individuals and raise awareness against the coronavirus disease, in Amman, Jordan, on April 19.
A man dressed up as Batman gives a birthday cake to a child wearing face mask in front of his home, in Monterrey, Mexico on April 18.
U.S. President Donald Trump compares a swab for COVID-19 testing with regular cotton swabs, during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on April 19.
Candles are lit in the shape of a giant cross in memory of coronavirus victims, in Zella-Mehlis, Germany, on April 17.
An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) wearing personal protective equipment walks out of the Cobble Hill Health Center nursing home during the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., on April 17.
A health worker rests her back against a wall at the Manuel Belgrano hospital, where medical professionals protest over the lack of protective equipment and demand tests after several of their colleagues got infected with COVID-19, in San Martin, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, on April 17.
Firefighters play their instruments in honor of health workers from a basket atop a ladder at the Santa Casa hospital in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on April 17.
A man carries food past members of the FSC 101 Engineering Battalion of the Massachusetts National Guard, as he assists at a pop-up food pantry in Chelsea, Massachusetts, U.S., on April 17.
Delhi Fire Service (DFS) personnel spray disinfectant chemicals along a road during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 outbreak in New Delhi, India, on April 16.
A sign is seen at a shop in the mostly deserted city center, following the implementation of stricter social-distancing and self-isolation rules, in Sydney, Australia, on April 16.
A worker wearing protective gear waves to a woman while using disinfectant to clean outside of the residences in Santiago, Chile, on April 15.
Supporters of the Michigan Conservative Coalition protest against the state’s extended stay-at-home order, at the Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., on April 15.
Volunteers sew face masks, as a guitarist plays for volunteers, at the Hafez theater hall in downtown Tehran, Iran, on April 15.
A mural in tribute to the NHS is pictured as a woman walks by while the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Liverpool, U.K., on April 15.
A funeral worker wears a face mask with an illustration of Jesus outside Los Ceibos hospital in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on April 15.
An Indian traffic policeman stands next to an artwork displayed on a road to create awareness about coronavirus during lockdown in Gauhati, India, on April 15.
The statue of Christ the Redeemer is lit up with the image of a medical scrub and the word “Thank you” in different languages during an Easter Sunday event amid the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on April 12.
A policeman wearing a coronavirus helmet takes part with others in a procession to raise awareness about COVID-19 during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown in Chennai, India, on April 12.
Medical workers react to applause from firefighters, police and members of the public outside NYU Langone Hospital in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., on April 12.
A medical worker holds an Easter bunny balloon to applause from firefighters and members of the public outside NYU Langone Hospital in New York City, New York, U.S., on April 12.
The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds” fly over Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., to show appreciation and support for the healthcare workers, first responders and other essential personnel who are working on the frontlines to combat the spread of coronavirus, on April 11.
Hand-drawn pictures of rainbows and messages are seen on a window, as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues, in Ripon, England, on April 11.
Empty food shelves are seen at a supermarket in Moscow, Russia, on April 11.
A novice monk wearing a protective mask runs at the premises of a monastery, in Kathmandu, Nepal on April 10.
Visitors at Sydney Fish Market have their temperature checked before being allowed access, in Australia, on April 10.
Special Task Force (STF) personnel wearing protective gear spray disinfectant outside the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on April 10.
A woman wears a self-made protective body covering with built-in mask in Gdynia, Poland, on April 9.
People walk at Times Square in New York, U.S., while some screens are seen illuminated in blue to honor healthcare workers, on April 9.
Soldiers wearing face masks stand in formation in front of a U.S.-made M110A2 self-propelled howitzer during Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to a military base in Tainan, Taiwan, on April 9.
People wearing face masks peek from windows of the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital in Hubei province, China, on April 9.
A woman puts cloth face masks on a string to dry before distributing it for free in the neighborhood in Tangerang, Indonesia, on April 9.
Medical workers walk by a police robot at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in China, after travel restrictions to leave the city were lifted, on April 8.
A girl puts her completed drawing of an Easter egg on the window of her home in Auckland, New Zealand, on April 8. New Zealanders are being encouraged to draw and display Easter eggs on their windows to create an Easter egg hunt that children can participate in during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Employees of Harborview Medical Center pose for photos while accepting pizzas donated by basketball player and Seattle native Isaiah Thomas in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on April 7.
A resident of a nursing home waves at an elderly woman as the MAV Symphony Orchestra plays classical music recordings on the loudspeakers of a car going around the city to cheer up people under lockdown in Budapest, Hungary, on April 7.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivers a ministerial statement on COVID-19 in the House of Representatives in Canberra, Australia, on April 8.
Travelers line up with their belongings outside the Hankou Railway Station after travel restrictions to leave Wuhan, China, were lifted, on April 8.
A city employee, wearing protective gear, poses for a photograph as he disinfects an area of Paseo de la Reforma avenue in Mexico City, Mexico, on April 6.
Men dressed up as superheroes Spider-Man and Captain America stand with a banner reading “Stay at Home” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on April 6.
A healthcare worker wearing protective gear is seen during a test for the coronavirus (COVID-19) outside a stadium in Bogor, Indonesia, on April 7.
An artist paints a mural on a wall in Pontefract, England, on April 6.
A resident picks up a box with food given to them by the army, at the Santa Rosita neighborhood on the outskirts of Guatemala City, Gautemala, on April 6, during a stay-at-home curfew designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Food is distributed from a truck as part of a government program in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on April 6.
Municipal workers wearing protective suits spray disinfectant in Grozny, Russia, on April 6.
Staff members of a hospital carry candles and oil lamps to show solidarity with people who are affected by the coronavirus disease, and with doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers from all over the world during a 21-day nationwide lockdown, in Kolkata, India, on April 5.
A volunteer woman wearing a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of the coronavirus sews face masks in a mosque in Tehran, Iran, on April 5.
Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday mass behind closed doors, during a lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, on April 5.
A devotee stands next to palm fronds and religious icons placed on a table outside her home, as part of Palm Sunday celebrations in Quezon City, Philippines, on April 5.
A person wearing a personal protective equipment (PPE) suit exits the Elmhurst Hospital center, as the outbreak of coronavirus disease continues, in New York City, New York, U.S., on April 5.
A man wearing a mask looks on in Bnei Brak, Israel, on April 5. The ultra-Orthodox Jewish town was declared a “restricted zone” due to its high rate of infections on April 3.
A motorist rides through a disinfection tunnel during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against COVID-19, in Chennai, India, on April 5.
Residents receive free reusable masks distributed by the government at a community center, as stricter measures are announced to combat the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Singapore, on April 5.
People wearing face masks, amid concerns of the COVID-19 disease, commute on a train in Hong Kong on April 4.
A woman wearing a protective mask is seen checking her cell phone in Woolwich district of London, England, on April 4, as the spread of the COVID-19 continues.
A view of beds at a shopping mall, one of Iran’s largest, which has been turned into a center to receive patients suffering from the coronavirus disease, in Tehran, Iran, on April 4.
A man walks in the middle of empty Westminster Bridge, as the spread of COVID-19 continues, in London, England, on April 3.
A resident wearing a protective face mask waits for coronavirus testing at a makeshift rapid testing center in Hanoi, Vietnam, on April 3.
A couple, wearing masks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, is seen waiting at Independence square in Quito, Ecuador, on April 3.
City workers fumigate a street to help contain the spread of coronavirus in La Paz, Bolivia, on April 2.
NHS workers applaud on the streets outside Royal Liverpool University Hospital during the Clap for Our Carers Campaign in England, on April 2.
Women maintain social distance as they wait to receive relief supplies provided by local police authority in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on April 2.
People wearing face masks wait for a supermarket to open in Wuhan, China, on April 2.
Hotel room lights spell out “Vegas Strong” at the Wynn hotel-casino along the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, U.S., on April 1.
Women stand in a queue to receive relief supplies provided by the local community in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on April 1.
An aerial view of a notice dug into the sand reading #StayHome on Tamarama Beach in Sydney, Australia, on April 2.
Residents pay for groceries by standing on chairs to peer over barriers set up to ringfence a wet market in Wuhan on April 1.
A baker presents sweets in the shape of the “coronavirus” (R) and antibodies with a face mask and eyes, in Erfurt, Germany, on March 31.
Police officers walk across an empty Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on March 31, 2020.
A young man cuts another man’s hair on top of a closed hairdresser, in Oxford, England, on March 31.
People follow social distancing as they line up to enter a supermarket, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, in La Paz, Bolivia, on March 30.
People wearing face masks practise social distancing as they wait outside a Postal Savings Bank of China branch in Wuhan, China, on March 31.
A man reaches to a basket, that was hung up so people can donate or take for free food, as Italy struggles to contain the spread of coronavirus, in Naples, on March 30.
Buddhist monks wearing face shields and masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus disease collect alms in Bangkok, Thailand, on March 31.
A healthcare worker sits on a bench near Central Park in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., on March 30.
An emergency triage tent is seen at Harborview Medical Center as efforts continue to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on March 29.
People applaud from their houses in support of the medical staff that are working on the COVID-19 virus outbreak in Barcelona, Spain, on March 29.
Migrant workers crowd up outside a bus station as they wait to board buses to return to their villages during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to limit the spreading of COVID-19, in Ghaziabad, India, on March 28.
Medical and physician assistant students in personal protective equipment listen during a meeting before screening for possible coronavirus cases at a makeshift camp for the homeless in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on March 28.
Indonesia’s Red Cross personnel wearing protective suits spray disinfectant on the road to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Jakarta, Indonesia, on March 28.
The message “Merci” (French for “thank you”) is displayed in tribute of those on the frontline to fight the coronavirus disease, on the facade of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, on March 27.
A person in protective clothing walks through a temporary 2,000-bed hospital for coronavirus patients set up by the Iranian army at the international exhibition center in Tehran, Iran, on March 26.
A staff member sprays disinfectant at a cinema as it prepares to reopen to the public after closing due to coronavirus (COVID-19), in Shenyang, Chin on March 25.
A barber, reflected in a mirror wearing a protective face mask as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), styles a customer’s hair in Havana, Cuba on March 25.
A man plays guitar and sings to his neighbors from his balcony two days after California’s Governor Gavin Newsom implemented a state wide “stay at home order” in Oakland, California, U.S., on March 21.