April 13: PM calls for global initiative on debt relief as Pakistan's COVID-19 tally crosses 5,300

Published: April 12, 2020
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PM Imran Khan addressing the world community in a video message. SCREENGRAB

PM Imran Khan addressing the world community in a video message. SCREENGRAB

PM Imran Khan addressing the world community in a video message. SCREENGRAB A view of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) meeting. PHOTO: EXPRESS PHOTO: Twitter (@SaniaNishtar)

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 1.8 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world – more than 110,000 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 5,200 with 2,594 cases in Punjab, 1,411 in Sindh, 744 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 230 in Balochistan, 224 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 119 in Islamabad, and 40 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The virus has claimed 93 lives while at least 1,100 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.

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1:00am: Punjab reports two more casualties, 130 new COVID-19 cases

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has confirmed two more fatalities due to COVID-19 in the province, taking the death toll to 23. He also informed about 130 new coronavirus cases to bring the tally to 2,594.

“As of today number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached at 2,594 including 701 Zaireen, 821 Tableeghi Jamaats’ members, 89 prisoners and 983 others. Our Healthcare staff is dealing with this pandemic efficiently and IA we will be able to avert this crisis but with your cooperation!,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.

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12:30am: 12% COVID-19 patients in Sindh are under 19 years of age: report

A Sindh health department report has disclosed that out of the total 1,411 coronavirus cases in the province, 171 or a little over 12% belonged to the age group between one month and 19 years, which is contrary to a popular notion that the deadly virus mostly infects elderly.

The department issued a detailed report of coronavirus patients in various districts of the province including Karachi.

Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had also quoted these stats in his statement earlier in the day.

“This data shows that the people of every age group are prone to the virus. Therefore, we all have to be careful in our movement and must maintain social distancing even at home,” he was quoted as saying.

Read our full story here.

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11:30pm: Blame game won’t protect us, says Murtaza Wahab after attack on federal govt

Sindh government’s spokesperson Murtaza Wahab has backtracked from his scathing criticism on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf- led federal government’s policies to deal with the coronavirus crisis in the country.

“We need to cut the blame game. PTI needs to realise that due to their apathetic behaviour lives of people are at stake. Blame game won’t protect us, constructive and meaningful work will,” he wrote on his Twitter handle late on Sunday.

“These are critical times, which require complete national harmony amongst federal and all provincial governments. Let us all stand united in our fight against corona. My heart goes out to all our doctors, paramedics, LEAs & NDMA for serving us so selflessly. United we stand divided we fall,” he said in another tweet.

Earlier in the day, he launched an attack on the federal government for providing “faulty testing kits” to Sindh.

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10:30pm: Three more succumb to COVID-19 in K-P as cases reach 744

The Khyber-Pakhtnukhwa (K-P) government has confirmed three more casualties to bring the provincial death toll to 34.

One death each was reported from Peshawar, Mardan and Swabi.

47 new cases of the coronavirus were also confirmed to raise the tally to 744 in the province.

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10:10pm: Showbiz stars, sport legends laud KKF relief work in Karachi

A group of sportsmen and showbiz stars visited the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM-Pakistan) Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation (KKF) and appreciated the relief work being done to provide rations to the people affected by the coronavirus lockdown in Karachi.

Former cricket legend Javed Miandad, squash star Jahangir Khan, fast-bowler Anwar Ali, singer Rahim Shah, comedian Faisal Qazi and Ayaz Shah as well as businessman Iqbal Shah visited the KKF relief camp, where they looked over the process of ration distribution by the foundation.

Senior deputy convener of the party, Amir Khan, Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar and deputy mayor Arshad Hasan briefed the guests about the MQM’s relief work.

PHOTO: EXPRESS

Read more here.

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10:00pm: Sindh health department releases district-wise report on COVID-19 cases

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9:00pm: G-B reports eight more coronavirus cases

Eight more cases of COVID-19 have been detected in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), bringing the tally to 224 in the region.

149 coronavirus patients have recovered while three have succumbed to the deadly virus.

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8:58pm: Two more COVID-19 cases bring Balochistan tally to 230

The health authorities in Balochistan reported two more positive cases of the coronavirus, raising the provincial tally to 230.

The health authorities have conducted 3,906 test in the province out which 3,676 resulted negative. The authorities reported that 123 patients so far have recovered from the contagious disease.

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8:21pm: ‘Twice as many men contracting coronavirus than women in Sindh’

More than twice as many men have contracted coronavirus as compared to women in Sindh, data shared by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah revealed on Sunday as 93 more cases emerged in the province, raising the tally to 1,411.

“The data shows that males are affected more than females as they go out of their homes more frequently and do not follow social distancing practices advised by the experts,” Shah said while emphasising the importance of social distancing during a time of crisis.

He said two more patients succumbed to COVID-19 during the last 24 hours. “The number of tests conducted so far comes to 13,309 while the tally of the positive cases has risen to 1,411,” he said.

CM Murad said that 569 tests were conducted during the last 24 hours, 93 of them came out positive and added that 18 more patients had recovered, bringing the provincial tally to 389. “The percentage of cured patients in terms of the total positive cases is 28 per cent.”

Read full story here

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7:30pm: PM Imran calls for global initiative on debt relief amid coronavirus pandemic

Prime Minister Imran Khan has called upon international powers to consider writing off loans for developing countries such as Pakistan in order to ensure resource allocation to fight coronavirus that has gripped the world.

“I implore those who walk in the corridors of power to ditch out a stimulus package for the developing world to help them through this economic downturn,” he said in a video message on Sunday.

“Pakistan is stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea to rather choose starvation from lockdown or the coronavirus,” he maintained.

“We see two responses amidst COVID-19 – one by developed world and then one by the developing world. In developed world, the dilemma is coronavirus and economy. But we as a developing nation face another major dilemma, which is preventing people from dying of hunger.”

Read full story here.

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7:00pm: Pakistan’s strategy against covornavirus on right track, says Asad Umar

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar has said Pakistan’s strategy is on right track after learning from best practices as well as grey areas across the world.

He said this while chairing a high-level meeting held at National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC) today.

The meeting reviewed measures taken thus far with detailed analysis of progress in various fields.

Umar emphasised the need for effect-based measures to overcome the pandemic. “The local transmission is increasing particularly in populated areas which needed immediate measures for containment,” he warned.

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6:00pm: Govt scrambles to repatriate Pakistani workers  after UAE warning

Pakistan’s ambassador to the UAE on Sunday said the embassy was waiting for permission from Islamabad for repatriation flights and was hoping for “positive news soon”.

“We are very keen to bring Pakistanis back but we need to finalise our treatment and quarantine facilities,” Ghulam Dastgir told Reuters.

His statement came after the UAE warned it would review labour ties with countries refusing to take back citizens in the UAE, including those who have lost their jobs or been put on leave.

It said one option under consideration was to impose strict quotas on work visas issued to nationals of those states.

“Several countries have not been responsive about allowing back their citizens who have applied to return home under the current circumstances,” the Human Resources and Emiratisation Ministry said, without specifying which countries.

Read full story here.

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3:40pm: Four new cases in AJK

Four new cases emerged in Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s Mirpur district, raising the region’s tally to 40 and the nationwide tally to 5,174.

line-945-15248325222:25pm: Decision to seal areas in District South not yet finalised

Deputy Commissioner South Karachi Irshad Sodhar said the decision to seal areas in District South has not been finalised, adding that the Sindh government is in talks with epidemiology experts.

 

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2:00pm: 275 quarantine centres, 110 isolation centres established in K-P

Adviser to K-P chief minister Ajmal Wazir said 275 quarantine centres and 110 isolation centres have been established in the province.

He said Rs1 million will be given as compensation to journalists who died due to the virus and affected journalists will be provided with free healthcare facilities.

line-945-15248325221:40pm: 93 new cases emerge in Sindh

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah reported 93 new cases in the province, raising the tally to 1,411.

The number of cases in the country stands at 5,170.

The chief minister said the virus claimed two more lives and the provincial death toll has reached 30.

He also noted that 596 tests have been conducted in the last 24 hours.

992 patients are undergoing treatment in different hospitals in the province, 645 have self-isolated and 60 are in isolation centres, he added.

CM Murad also said that 68.3 per cent males and 31.7 per cent females have been affected by the virus.

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1:10pm: Shehbaz Sharif urges Christians to celebrate at home

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif wished the Christian community a joyous Easter and urged them to celebrate at home and take precautions to limit and eliminate the spread of the virus.

 

line-945-15248325221:00pm: K-P govt declares some areas as quarantine 

The Peshawar administration sealed some places after a person tested positive for the virus.

The notification instructed the police to ensure there’s no movement in or around the areas.

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line-945-152483252212:40pm: 39 fresh cases reported in Punjab

The healthcare authorities reported 39 new cases in Punjab, raising the provincial tally to 2,464.

The number of confirmed cases in the country stands at 5,077.

line-945-152483252212:20pm: CM Murad wishes Easter to Christian community

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah felicitated the Christian community on Easter and asked them to maintain social distance by celebrating at home.

 

line-945-152483252212:10pm: 755 pilgrims quarantined in DG Khan sent home

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said 755 pilgrims, including 175 that tested positive for the virus, have returned home after recovery.

He said there are only 74 pilgrims left at the quarantine centre in Dera Ghazi Khan.

Buzdar also lauded the local administration, police and healthcare professionals for looking after the pilgrims.

 

line-945-152483252211:30am: Decision to hold, cancel Hajj to be taken by mid-Ramadan 

Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri said the decision to hold or cancel the annual Hajj pilgrimage would be taken by mid-Ramadan.

Saudi Arabia’s Hajj minister asked the Ministry of Religious Affairs to temporarily suspend preparations.

line-945-152483252211:10am: Punjab chief minister appreciates Christian community for online religious services 

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said the best way to involve others in the celebration of Easter is by adopting social distancing and safety measures.

He appreciated the efforts of the Christian community for organising religious services online and postponing Easter celebrations.

line-945-152483252211:00am: Ehsaas Emergency Cash distribution in Sargodha

 

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10:45am: Special PIA aircraft departs for Manchester

A special Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane carrying 394 passengers departed for Manchester.

The passengers were screened before boarding.

line-945-152483252210:40am: China donates more medical kits to Pakistan

A special Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft carrying medical equipment from China arrived in Islamabad.

The equipment includes medical kits and facemasks.

line-945-152483252210:25am: Fatality rate lower than one per cent, says K-P health minister

K-P Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said he believes the actual fatality rate will be lower than one per cent across Pakistan.

 

line-945-152483252210:05am: 5,038 total confirmed coronavirus cases in the country

According to the National Command and Operation Centre, the nationwide tally stands at 5,038.

25 fresh cases were reported in Punjab, six in Islamabad and one in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

61,801 tests have been conducted across the country, with at least 2,805 conducted in the last 24 hours.

The centre also reported 264 new recoveries.

line-945-15248325229:35am: Testing capacity to increase, says K-P health minister

K-P Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra reassured that the testing capacity will increase to over 2000 per day.

He added that the lockdown has reduced the spread of the disease but has had severe consequences on the economy.

 

line-945-15248325229:30am: K-P health minister says to take particular care of those over the age of 50

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said to take particular care of those over the age of 50, as the mortality rate is the highest amongst that age group.

Jhagra said the six deaths in the province on Saturday were of people over the age of 50.

 

line-945-15248325229:20am: K-P coronavirus tally stands at 697

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said the provincial tally stands at 697.

He maintained that the number of reported cases is not the accurate number, adding that all over the world, there is consensus that the actual number of cases may be significantly higher than the reported number.

The virus has claimed 31 lives in K-P while at least 142 patients have recovered, the health minister added.

Jhagra said 4,232 tests have been conducted and 210 patients are in the hospital, with at least seven in critical condition.

 

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7:30am: PM Imran urges Christian’s to celebrate Easter at home

Prime Minister Imran Khan felicitated the Christian community on Easter and urged them to celebrate at home and observe national safety protocols to curb the spread of the virus.

 

 

 

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