KARACHI / ISLAMABAD / QUETTA / PESHAWAR / LAHORE / GILGIT / MUZAFFARABAD: The novel coronavirus emerged in the central China city of Wuhan towards the end of last year and proliferated to almost the whole world within a couple of months. It’s not the virulence or fatality, but the infectivity of the new virus – also known as SARS-CoV-2 – that has set off a global frenzy.
The COVID-19 respiratory illness caused by this mysterious contagion has so far infected more than a million people in 202 countries and territories of the world – more than 65,000 of them have died and counting.
Pakistan, despite its close proximity with China, remained coronavirus-free until February 26 when a young man from Karachi tested positive after returning from Iran – one of the worst-hit countries. After a brief hiatus following the first case, COVID-19 cases spiked as more pilgrims returning from Iran tested positive for the virus.
The nationwide tally of COVID-19 patients soared past 4,000 with 2,030 cases in Punjab, 986 in Sindh, 527 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 206 in Balochistan, 211 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 83 in Islamabad, and 18 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The virus has claimed 56 lives while at least 429 coronavirus patients have recovered.
The number of cases has continued to soar despite the country being under lockdown for the third consecutive week.
The situation remains fluid and we’re updating stats as soon as new figures are officially released.
Follow The Express Tribune’s live coverage of the pandemic here.
2:00am: Balochistan’s young doctors end strike after talks with govt
Upon successful negotiations with the government, the Young Doctors Association (YDA) of Balochistan late on Tuesday announced ending their strike and vowed to resume duties at hospitals across the province.
The decision was taken after provincial ministers assured the protesting doctors that all their concerns will be addressed soon, Dr Yasir Achakzai, president of the association, said while talking to the media. “We are pleased to announce that we are returning to our duties straightaway,” he said.
On Monday, police used excessive force to break up a protest by the young doctors in Quetta. The healthcare professionals were protesting against the lack of protective gear in the hospitals as the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic.
Almost 100 doctors spent the night in jail despite orders for their release. Initial talks between the doctors and provincial ministers failed as doctors demanded stern action against those involved in the incident.
Read more here.
1:30am: 27 fresh cases of coronavirus detected in K-P
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) health department has confirmed 27 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the province, bringing the provincial tally to 527.
The highly contagious disease has also claimed another life during the 24 hours, it added.
The total number of death toll across the province has jumped to 18, according the statement issued late on Tuesday.
1:15am: With 26 more cases Punjab's COVID-19 tally rises to 2,030
The primary and secondary healthcare department of Punjab has confirmed 26 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the provincial tally to 2,030.
10:30pm: Pakistan reiterates support to Turkey as coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc
Prime Minister Imran Khan has reiterated his support to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and offered condolences over the loss of precious lives due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The premier on Tuesday held a telephonic conversation with the top Turkish leadership as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country crossed 30,000 with over 600 deaths.
So far, a total of 1,326 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals, while 1,415 patients are currently under intensive care units (ICUs) in Turkey, according to Anadolu Agency.
Read full story here.
10:15pm: PM Imran wishes Boris Johnson speedy recovery from COVID-19
Prime Minister Imran Khan has conveyed best wishes and prayers for the earliest recovery and good health of his British counterpart Boris Johnson, who has been taken to intensive care unit after his COVID-19 symptoms worsened.
In a letter written to Prime Minister Johnson on Tuesday, Imran Khan also underscored the importance of Pakistan and United Kingdom working together to overcome the formidable challenges posed by coronavirus and building a safer world, said a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Boris Johnson is now said to be stable in intensive care after receiving oxygen support to help him battle the deadly virus, while his foreign minister led the government’s response to the accelerating outbreak.
Read more here.
9:00pm: Balochistan reports one more casualty as COVID-19 tally rises to 206
The Balochistan government has confirmed one more fatality due to COVID-19 bringing the death toll to two on Tuesday. It also reported four new cases of coronavirus to take the provincial tally to 206.
The patient passed away due to “complication of renal failure”, said a situation report issued by the Balochistan health department.
8:30pm: Sindh govt spokesperson concerned about exponential increase in coronavirus cases
Sindh government’s spokesperson, Murtaza Wahab, has expressed concerns over a rapid increase in number of COVID-19 cases across Pakistan.
He, taking to Twitter on Tuesday, urged the countrymen to take the issue seriously “before it’s too late”.
“Pakistan’s got its 1st COVID-19 patient on 26th February. We got our 1,000th patient in 29 days. The 2,000th patient in 7 days, 3,000th patient in 5 days and probably the 4,000th patient in 3 days. This is how serious the situation is. Pakistaniyo plz wake up before it’s too late,” he wrote on his official handle.
Pakistan’s got its 1st #COVIDー19 patient on 26th February. We got our 1000th patient in 29 days. The 2000th patient in 7 days, 3000th patient in 5 days & probably the 4000th patient in 3 days. This is how serious the situation is. Pakistaniyo plz wake up before its too late— SenatorMurtaza Wahab (@murtazawahab1) April 7, 2020
7:30pm: Gen Qamar directs all military commanders to step up relief operations
Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has directed all military commanders to step up relief operations across the country to ease difficulties of people hit by coronavirus pandemic, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.
The chief of army staff (COAS) was chairing a 231st Corps Commanders’ Conference at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi which was attended by top-commanders through video link from their respective headquarters, a statement issued by the military’s media wing said on Tuesday.
Read full story here.
7:15pm: Private schools in Sindh ordered to give 20% fee concession for April, May
The Sindh government has directed all private schools to give at least 20 per cent concession in their tuition fee for the months of April and May to provide relief to the parents hit by coronavirus lockdown.
In a notification issued on Tuesday by the provincial education department, the officials said the orders will be enforced strictly in “letter and spirit”.
The government has also established a response center where parents can lodge their complaints in case of non-compliance with its directives.
It also said the teaching and non-teaching staff can also register their complaints if they are not being paid salaries for the aforementioned months.
Read more here.
6:30pm: 54 new COVID-19 cases bring Sindh’s tally to 986: CM Murad
Total number of coronavirus cases has jumped to 986 in Sindh with the addition 54 new cases on Tuesday, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said.
This he said in his video message released from CM House.
He said that 10,223 tests have been conducted so far, including 634 on Tuesday after noon.
The break-up of 986 the cases is: 159 in Hyderabad, two in Jamshoro, pne in Badin, 12 in Tando Mohammad Khan, one in Sujawal, one in Dadu, seven in Shaheed Benazirabad, one in Sanghar, four in Naushehroferoze, 274 in Sukkur, two in Ghotki, 13 in Larkana, one Jacobabad, 159 Karachi East, 66 Karachi West, 110 South, 93 Central, 44 Malir , 36 Korangi. The total number comes to 986.
He said that 253 COVID-19 patients had recovered by Monday and 16 more patients recovered on Tuesday. Thus the number of the patients recovered so far is 269 which is good news, he said. The chief minister added that out of 269 cured patients, 183 are pilgrims and 86 others.
At present 396 patients are in home isolation and 97 are at quarantine centres.
5:45pm: Planning minister, health minister brief media
The federal government has decided to directly provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to hospitals across the country without involving provincial governments, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar announced on Tuesday.
He said this while addressing a news conference along with State Minister for Health Dr Zafar Mirza at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) headquarters in Islamabad.
“Health is a provincial subject but the federal government is striving hard to provide all possible assistance to the frontline health workers,” said the minister.
“From now on, the federal government will directly supply protective gears to the hospitals without involving provincial governments,” he maintained.
Umar, who heads the NCOC, said, “Our daily testing capacity has reached to 3,000 and our objective is to take this number to 25,000 by end of April.”
He said 395,000 coronavirus kits have been distributed to provinces so far.
Dr Zafar Mirza, speaking on the occasion, said that the sudden spike in number of coronavirus cases is due to the addition of tests results of people living in quarantine centers. “This does not mean we are facing an outbreak,” he explained.
#Live: Federal Minister @Asad_Umar and SAPM on Health @zfrmrza briefing media in #Islamabad. #CoronavirusPandemic #Covid_19 #PakistanFightsCorona #TogetherWeCan #DonateForRationDrive #CoronaVirusPakistan #CoronavirusOutbreak https://t.co/MmU5rrnqL5— Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) April 7, 2020
5:30pm: K-P extends partial lockdown till April 14
In the wake of escalation in transmission of COVID-19, the Relief Rehabilitation and Settlement Department of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has decided to extend the prevailing partial lockdown across the province till April 14.
Grocery shops, medical stores and essential items shops are exempted.
Moreover, barbers and beauty parlours will remain closed during the restrictions.
5:00pm: SAPM on Information briefs media on decisions taken in cabinet meeting
PM’s aide on information Firdous Ashiq Awan, while addressing media in Islamabad on Tuesday, said under the prime minister’s initiative of poverty alleviation Rs12,000 will be given to each deserving family as one-time assistance.
She said those who want to avail this programme need to get registered through sending text message and added that the distribution of cash is being made through fair and transparent system.
The SAPM was briefing the media on decision taken during the federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier in the day,
Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation, Dr Sania Nishtar briefed the cabinet members that Rs144 billion was being distributed among 12 million deserving families under government's Ehsas Cash Emergency Programme, said the information adviser.
#Islamabad: SAPM on Information @Dr_FirdousPTI briefing media about decisions taken in Federal Cabinet Meeting. #CoronavirusPandemic #Covid_19 #PakistanFightsCorona #TogetherWeCan #DonateForRationDrive #CoronaVirusPakistan #CoronavirusOutbreak #StayH https://t.co/4MCY3M0CfR— Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) April 7, 2020
4:05pm: Private hospital owners in Sindh suggest lockdown extension
The owners and CEOs of Sindh’s private hospitals have requested Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to extend the lockdown in the province, citing an expected surge in coronavirus patients if the provincial lockdown ends.
They said such a situation would be extremely detrimental to the healthcare system of the province and the country. The suggestion was given in a meeting with the Sindh chief minister.
3:35pm: ICUs and CCUs established in tertiary care hospitals: Murad
Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah has said that the provincial health department has established ICUs and CCUs in tertiary care hospitals and isolation wards have been set up in all government hospitals and at other locations.
The chief minister further said that due to a shortage of COVID-19 testing kits, the number of tests have not been increased. “We can not do the amount of tests that we want due to a shortage of kits.”
2:50pm: Sindh health minister lauds country’s doctors, health workers
This #WorldHealthDay we salute all our healthcare workers. Our doctors, nurses, paramedics and all other healthcare staff are our frontline warriors and we wouldn’t have been able to fight this pandemic without them. #WorldHealthDay2020 #SindhHealth pic.twitter.com/qUjXhHyzOe— Health and Population Welfare Department, Sindh (@SindhHealthDpt) April 7, 2020
2:00pm: KP health minister urges respect for health workers
Met with a group of young MBBS students from Peshawar in the final year keen to get to work.— Taimur Khan Jhagra (@Jhagra) April 7, 2020
Healthcare professionals are now at the forefront. We need to respect them, work with them, encourage them, and inspire them. #CoronavirusPandemic #CoronaFreePakistan pic.twitter.com/DKgzGRHp1g
1:10 pm: Asim Jofa designs PPE to donate to healthcare providers
Fashion designer Asif Jofa is making personal protective equipment to donate to healthcare providers battling the virus.
The first batch of suits was delivered to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) Hospital in Karachi.
WATCH: Popular Pakistan-based fashion designer @asimjofa is making protective gear #PPE to donate to #healthcare providers battling #coronavirus, with the first batch of full-body suits delivered to #Karachi’s #JPMC hospital. For more: https://t.co/x0T1Man1kE @etribune pic.twitter.com/4VqJ6tIeA0
— Tribune Life & Style (@ETLifeandStyle) April 7, 2020
12:55 pm: Army chief orders medical supplies to be dispatched to Quetta
Medical supplies including personal protective equipment (PPE) were dispatched to Quetta, as per the directives of Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The army chief said advanced nations are finding it difficult to fight the pandemic and the Pakistan government is working hard to supply resources to those in need.
“Doctors and paramedics are the frontline soldiers in this war,” he said.
Emergency supplies of medical equipment including PPEs being despatched to Quetta on orders of COAS to help medical staff fight Covid-19 effectively in Balochistan. “Doctors & paramedics are the frontline soldiers in this war...” (1/2)
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) April 7, 2020
“...Most advanced nations / govts are finding it extremely difficult to fight this pandemic. Pakistan Govt is striving hard to acquire & supply the required resources. In this hour of distress we must remain patient and steadfast.” COAS (2/2)
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) April 7, 2020
Read more here.
12:45 pm: Eight vehicles to be used for disinfection in Lahore
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said eight vehicles have been prepared for disinfection in crowded areas of Lahore.
He said special vehicles will be provided to local governments across the province.
12:30 pm: Sindh govt orders re-arrest of prisoners
The Sindh government has ordered the re-arrest of 519 prisoners that were released earlier, due to overcrowding in prisons.
12:20 pm: Protecting people from the virus is PM's top priority, says SAPM on information
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said protecting the people from the virus and providing them relief is the prime minister's top priority.
12:15 pm: Doctors in Quetta refuse to work after clash with police
Doctors in Quetta refused to work after police used excessive force to break up a protest by the Young Doctor’s Association (YDA) on Monday.
The healthcare professionals were protesting against the lack of protective gear in the hospitals.
Almost 100 doctors spent the night in jail despite orders for their release.
Read more here.
12:10 pm: Parliamentary committee established in Quetta
The Balochistan government has established a parliamentary committee to deal with the situation arising in the wake of the growing pandemic.
The committee will give suggestions in COVID-19 related matters and will assist the government in combating the virus.
12:05 pm: Today is 'World Health Day'
World Health Day is being observed across the globe to appreciate paramedics and those on the frontline fighting to end the pandemic.
11:15 am: Pilots refuse to bring back stranded Pakistani's from Iraq
After two Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) pilots and one air hostess contracted the coronavirus, pilots refused to bring back stranded Pakistanis from Iraq.
Despite receiving protective gear provided by PIA, pilots and crew members did not arrive at the airport.
11:00 am: Prisoners in IOK to be released immediately, demands FO
The Foreign Office demanded that the Indian government immediately release political prisoners, human rights defenders and all those arrested in occupied Kashmir, in order to contain the spread of the virus.
FO Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said the Joint Statement underlines that measures to combat the virus must respect human rights of every individual.
The Joint Statement rightly underlines that measures to combat #COVID19 must respect human rights of every individual. Urgent release of political prisoners, human rights defenders & all those arrested in IOJ&K after 5 August 2019 is therefore imperative. 2/3
— Spokesperson 🇵🇰 MoFA (@ForeignOfficePk) April 7, 2020
10:55 am: Federal cabinet to meet today
The federal cabinet will meet today to discuss steps taken by the government to curb the spread of the virus and its impact on the economy.
10:30 am: 54 deaths in the country
The virus has claimed 54 lives in the country, according to the National Command and Operation Centre.
17 in Sindh and K-P, 15 in Punjab, three in Gilgit-Baltistan and one in Islamabad and Balochistan.
The federal government has also enhanced testing facilities across the country and over 39,000 tests have been conducted.
Isolation facilities have been established in 462 hospitals with over 7,000 beds.
10:25 am: K-P chief minister to visit Mardan today
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan will visit Mardan today to review the arrangements made for the quarantine centers in the city.
The chief minister is also expected to preside over a meeting of elected representatives of Mardan and other officials.
9:45 am: China Railway Group donates 5,000 face masks
Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed thanked China Railway Group for donating 5,000 face masks.
Briefing the media at the Rawalpindi station, the minister said new quarantine gates are being built.
9:10 am: Another death in K-P raises tally to 17
K-P Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra confirmed another death in the province, raising its provincial tally to 17.
He said out of the 500 positive cases, 138 are in hospitals - with 135 stable and three in critical condition.
The health minister confirmed 69 recoveries in K-P.
9:05 am: Tests of 294 out of 416 pilgrims in quarantine centres return negative
K-P Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said tests of 294 out of the 416 pilgrims in the quarantine centres have returned negative, adding that 16 out of 64 patients have already recovered.
7. One death has been added to yesterday's tally to take the total tally of deaths to 17.
Of the 500 positive cases, 138 are in hospital (135 stable and 3 critical).
In better news, total confirmed recoveries now stand at 69. pic.twitter.com/nHqC7dmmjB
— Taimur Khan Jhagra (@Jhagra) April 7, 2020
9:00 am: K-P reports at least one case in almost every district
K-P Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said there is at least one reported case in almost every district of the province due to the high mobility of the labour force.
He said that Chitral, Upper Kohistan, Lower Kohistan, and Kolai Palas have zero cases reported.
Jhagra further stated that districts with zero cases are relatively remote, with a low population.
6. Of the Zaireen in Quarantine, good news. As many as 294 out of 416 have already returned negative with 54 test results still awaited.
16 of the 64 positive patients have already recovered. pic.twitter.com/ShU10PFiwP
— Taimur Khan Jhagra (@Jhagra) April 7, 2020
8:45 am: K-P reports new cases, provincial tally jumps to 500
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra confirmed the total number of confirmed cases stands at 500 in the province.
He said the total cases increased from 405 to 500.
1. Pakhtunkhwa #CoronaVirusUpdate, April 6 end of day.
Total cases increasing from 405 to 500 (85 new cases logged; 10 entries added to previously reported data as part of a data synchronisation exercise to move to a single data entry application at all levels).
Thread to follow. pic.twitter.com/AYZ0Z4gU8R
— Taimur Khan Jhagra (@Jhagra) April 7, 2020