April 13: All borders to remain closed for two more weeks as nationwide COVID-19 cases surpass 5,500

Published: April 13, 2020
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Pakistani soldiers wear facemasks on the closed border of Pakistan-Iran in Taftan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Pakistani soldiers wear facemasks on the closed border of Pakistan-Iran in Taftan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Pakistani soldiers wear facemasks on the closed border of Pakistan-Iran in Taftan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE Asad Umar briefs media in Islamabad. SCREENGRAB A woman covers her nose and mouth with ? scarf, as she along with others waits to receive cash from a country-wide Ehsaas Emergency Cash program, introduced by the government for vulnerable families due to the ongoing spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Karachi, Pakistan April 11, 2020. REUTERS

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 1.9 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world – more than 118,000 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 has reached 5,537 with 2,656 cases in Punjab, 1,452 in Sindh, 800 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 231 in Balochistan, 224 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 131 in Islamabad, and 43 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The virus has claimed 96 lives while at least 1,125 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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12:18pm: One more succumbs to COVID-19 in K-P; 56 new cases raise tally to 800

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) health department has confirmed one more casualty due to coronavirus, bringing the provincial death toll to 35.

56 new cases were also reported in the last 24 hours to take the province’s tally to 800.

The deceased belonged to Abbottabad, according to the health department report.

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11:10pm: Three more test positive for COVID-19 to bring AJK tally to 43

Three more COVID-19 patients from Abbaspur area of Poonch district have pushed the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) tally to 43. Out of these, 11 are female and 32 male.

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10:15pm: Govt decides to keep all borders closed for two more weeks

The Ministry of Interior has announced that the country’s borders will remain closed for an additional two weeks as the center mulled whether to extend a countrywide lockdown while giving relaxations to specific sectors amid a surge in the novel coronavirus cases in the country.

“As per the decision of the National Coordination Committee, the ministry is announcing that all the borders will remain closed for an additional two weeks. The decision to keep the borders closed has been taken to stop the spread of corona[virus],” read the officials twitter account of the ministry.

According to three different notifications of the ministry, the Western border, Indian/Kartarpur border and Wagah border will remain closed for a fortnight.

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9:52pm: With one fresh case, Balochistan tally of COVID-19 stands at 231

The number of coronavirus patients in Balochistan has reached 231 with the addition of one fresh case on Monday, the provincial health officials said.

Till today, the officials said, 4,012 people have been tested for COVID-19 and the result of 3,781 people came negative.

As much as 4,203 are suspected COVID-19 patients whereas 124 have fully recovered, they added.

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9:40pm: Quarantine centres set up in Sargodha, Rawalpindi

The Punjab government has established 100 and 40 bedded quarantine facilities in Rawalpindi and Sargodha, respectively in a “few days” as the number of coronavirus patients has spiked over the past few days, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar wrote on his official Twitter handle on Monday.

“We are increasing capacity of our healthcare sector and district administration with each passing day,” he added.

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9:00pm: Train services will remain suspended till April 24: Sheikh Rashid

Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has announced that train operations will remain suspended across the country till April 24 in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

In a video message on his official Twitter handle on Monday, the minister said that the decision to extend the suspension was taken after much deliberation and the decision of resuming the operations on April 25 will be taken after going through the situation and with the consultation of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

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8:15pm: IHC judges to donate Rs100,000 each in PM’s Coronavirus Relief Fund

Judges, staff and judicial officers serving at Islamabad High Court (IHC) have announced to make contributions to Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Fund.

According to a circular released by the IHC deputy registrar for accounts on Monday, all judges of the high court will deposit Rs100,000 each from their salaries in the corona relief fund, while judicial officers from grade 17 to grade 20 will donate their two-day salary in the fund.

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7:50pm: Rs25.68 billion disbursed under Ehsaas Emergency Programme: Dr Sania Nishtar

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Sania Nishtar has said that the government has distributed an amount of Rs25.68 billion among 2.095 million families under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme till Monday evening since the beginning of the payment process.

“By 5:30 pm today, we have disbursed Rs25.68 billion to 2.095 million families under the #EhsaasEmergencyCash program. #Ehsaas,” she wrote on his official Twitter handle.

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6:30pm: Sindh reports one more casualty as tally of COVID-19 cases rises to 1,452

41 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Karachi, taking the city’s tally to 937 and Sindh’s to 1,452 on Monday.

One more death of a 64-year-old woman has also been reported in the provincial capital, taking the provincial death toll to 31. Among the 31 deceased, 28 belonged to Karachi and three from Hyderabad.

The province has so far conducted 13,840 tests, while 1,250 COVID-19 patients are still being treated at different health facilities. Among them 1,106 patients contracted the virus through the local transmission.

A total of 419 patients have recovered from the contagious virus – 271 from Sukkur, 147 from Karachi and 1 from Hyderabad.

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6:10pm: PM Imran launches ‘Tele School Channel’ amid COVID-19 lockdown

Prime Minister Imran Khan has launched “Tele School Channel” in a simple ceremony in Islamabad on Monday.

Through this initiative, students will be taught through mobile phones at their homes, said the premier.

The premier appreciated efforts of the Ministry of Information and Education for the initiative.

“Tele School Channel should continue after coronavirus outbreak,” he said.

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5:40pm: Decision on extending or relaxing lockdown to be taken after NCC meeting tomorrow, says Asad Umar

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar has said the decision on future course of action with regards to ongoing lockdown will be taken in a meeting of National Coordination Committee (NCC), formed to devise a national strategy on coronavirus crisis, on Tuesday (tomorrow).

Addressing a new conference, flanked by PM’s aide on health Dr Zafar Mirza in Islamabad on Monday, Umar said tomorrow’s meeting is of upmost importance.

“All provincial chief ministers will attend the meeting and the future course of action regarding lockdown will be decided tomorrow,” said the minister.

He said the decision of opening the businesses will also be taken in Tuesday’s meeting. “But the business owners and community will have to bear the responsibility of health of their workers,” he maintained.

“We can also legislate in this regard… this law will ensure that business owners will pay for health expenses of their workers,” he explained.

“Country like Pakistan cannot afford to shut down everything to fight the war against coronavirus,” said the minister.

He also reiterated that by the end of this month, the country will be able to carry out 25,000 COVID-19 tests per day.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Zafar Mirza said, “Up till now, we have only tested suspected patients of coronavirus but now we are increasing our testing capabilities and will test more people”.

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5:00 pm: Punjab reports new cases

Provincial authorities in Punjab reported 62 new coronavirus cases and reported another death.

The provincial tally of cases now stands at 2,656.

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4:30 pm: Qureshi, Azhar urge people to donate to coronavirus relief fund

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4:00 pm: K-P hospitals have 581 ventilators

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3:20pm: WHO donates 15,000 testing kits to Pakistan

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has donated 15 testing machines and 15,000 testing kits to Pakistan in its fight against COVID-19.

A formal ceremony to handover this equipment to National Disaster Management was held in Islamabad.

Speaking on the occasion, WHO Representative Dr Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala said that the world body has provided this equipment to support Pakistan’s efforts in preventing spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

He also lauded Prime Minister Imran Khan’s efforts to control the pandemic.

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3:00 pm: Punjab bars landlords from evicting tenants for two months

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2:30 pm: SC directs govt to remove Dr Zafar Mirza

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed on Monday asked the federal government to remove Dr Zaraf Mirza as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services.

The Supreme Court (SC), while hearing a suo motu case on the coronavirus crisis, said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet has become ineffective in the fight against the pandemic.

CJP Gulzar also questioned the transparency of work done by Dr Mirza.

Read the story here

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2:00 pm: Prime Minister Imran Khan’s message for overseas Pakistanis

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1:30 pm: Overseas Pakistanis requested to donate through website

Prime Minister Imran Khan has appealed to the Pakistani diaspora to donate generously to the federal government’s coronavirus relief fund.

The Prime Minister’s Office, in a series of tweets, announced that overseas Pakistanis can donate to the relief fund by logging in to the following website: http://covid.ophrd.gov.pk/.

At least $35 dollars are required to support a four-member family at a time.

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12:45 pm: K-P director public health tests positive for COVID-19

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12:00 pm: CM Sindh to request extension in lockdown

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has said that the provincial government can not take decisions in isolation as the pandemic is affecting all countries.

He further said that he will request Prime Minister Imran Khan to extend the lockdown by another two weeks.

“The lockdown is the only solution in the present circumstance, otherwise, the  situation will spiral out of the control,” CM said

Read story here

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11:15 am: Head of Digital Pakistan explains the importance of social distancing

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10:30 am: 12 more cases emerge in ICT

According to the latest figures provided by the government’s official portal, at least 12 more coronavirus cases have been reported from Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), taking the tally to 131 cases.

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9:45 am: NA special committee to meet today

Special Committee of National Assembly for those affected by coronavirus will be held in Islamabad with Speaker Asad Qaiser in the chair.

The meeting will review different reports submitted by sub-committee and concerned departments about arrangements to bring back all Pakistanis stranded abroad, management of quarantine centers at Taftan Border and status of Afghan nationals in the country.

line-945-15248325229:15 am: NCC to meet today

The National Coordination Committee (NCC) will meet with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair in Islamabad to review the steps taken for the control of coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The meeting will also discuss the strategy to ensure continuity of industrial and economic activities and future planning.

The committee is likely to decide on providing more relief to the people, who are facing difficulties and hardships due to lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.

line-945-15248325228:35 am: 1,095 people recover from virus

Over 1,000 people are said to have recovered from the virus across the country.

A total of 65,114 tests have been conducted across the country with 3,233 conducted in the past 24 hours.

line-945-15248325228:30 am: Death toll across the country rises to 93

The death toll across the country rose to 93 with at seven deaths being reported in the past 24 hours.

The number of novel coronavirus cases 5,300 on Monday out of which 44 are said be critical. As many as 336 new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours.

line-945-15248325228:00 am: Death toll rises to 34 in K-P

As many as three new deaths have been reported from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa taking the provincial tally to 34.

The total number of coronavirus cases has risen to 744 in K-P with 145 people said to have recovered.

Over 4,000 tests have been conducted across the province.

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1:00 am: Punjab’s total tally reaches 2,594

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar in a late night tweet stated that the confirmed cases in the province had crossed 2,590.

Out of the total 701 are pilgrims from Iran, , 821 members of the Tableeghi Jamaat, 89 prisoners and 983 others.

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