A street vendor wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 interacts with customers alongside a street in Islamabad. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LIVE: Nationwide tally of Covid-19 cases nears 7,000 as new infections continue to rise

Four new deaths reported in Sindh, total deaths now at 131

​ Our Correspondents April 16, 2020
KARACHI / ISLAMABAD / QUETTA / PESHAWAR / LAHORE / GILGIT / MUZAFFARABAD: ┬áThe 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. ItÔÇÖs not the virulence or fatality, but the infectivity of the new virus ÔÇô also known as SARS-CoV-2 ÔÇô that has set off a global frenzy.

The Covid-19 respiratory illness caused by this mysterious contagion has so far infected more than 2 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world ÔÇô more than 128,000 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 ÔÇô 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 6,985 with 3,276 cases in Punjab, 2,008 in Sindh, 993 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 303 in Balochistan, 237 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 145 in Islamabad, and 46 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The virus has claimed 131 lives while at least 1,654 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┬áweÔÇÖre updating stats as soon as new figures are officially released.

Follow┬áThe Express TribuneÔÇÖs live coverage of the pandemic┬áhere.


1:50am: Coronavirus claims three more lives in K-P

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has reported 58 fresh cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 993, according to the official health department.

The total number of deaths reached to 45 after three more patients succumbed to the deadly disease, it added.


12:23am: Nine patients recover from coronavirus in AJK

Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider said that no new Covid-19 case was reported from the region for the past two days.

However, he cautioned against lowering precautionary measures as the ÔÇ£danger from the deadly virus is still ominousÔÇØ.

He said that 46 people were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus in AJK, out of which nine have recovered. ÔÇ£1,135 tests have been conducted thus far.ÔÇØ

The AJK premier further said that the lockdown will continue till April 21.


11:11pm: Punjab records 44 more Covid-19 cases

Punjab has reported 44 new coronavirus cases, raising the total number of Covid-19 patients in the province to 3,276, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said in a tweet from his official handle.

According to the official number, a total of 260 positive cases were reported in the province in a single day.


10:12pm: New cases of coronavirus bring Balochistan tally to 303

Balochistan has reported 12 more coronavirus cases, taking the provincial tally to 303..

According to the health department statement, as many as 142 patients have fully recovered with five deaths reported thus far.

4,427 Covid-19 tests have been carried out as of Thursday, officials said.

4,209 are suspected coronavirus patients in the province, it added.


9:24pm: Punjab expands coronavirus testing facilities

With the upgradation of four testing facilities in Punjab, the government-run laboratories are now able to conduct 4,200 Covid-19 tests daily, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said in a tweet.

In the next phase, the officials will carry out 10,000 random tests in Lahore to track the spread of coronavirus in the population, he added.


9:03pm: Govt finalises ordinance to tighten noose around hoarders

The federal government has finalised the ordinance in a bid to tighten the noose around hoarders to ensure uninterrupted supply of food items on fair price in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

The 'Covid-19 (Prevention of Hoarding) Ordinance, 2020' has been provided to the federal cabinet members before being submitted to President Dr Arif Alvi for his nod.

The ordinance aims at protecting the citizens against hoarders and to ensure that there is no shortage of items of daily use in the market.

The ordinance states, ÔÇ£Any dealer who is found to hoard any scheduled articles shall be guilty of an offence punishable with simple imprisonment up to three (3) years and fine equivalent to 50 per cent of the value of the scheduled articles involved in the case.ÔÇØ


4:40pm: At least 17 die during last 24 hours

Pakistan witnessed the highest single-day death toll yet after 17 people died from coronavirus over the last 24 hours, according to the government's official website.


4:00pm: Balochistan reports 10 new cases

Provincial health authorities reported 10 new cases in Balochistan. The number of coronavirus cases in the province now stands at 291.


3:30pm: CJP requested to initiate criminal investigation against Dr Zafar Mirza

Pakistan Young Pharmacist Association General-Secretary Dr Furqan Ibrahim submitted an application to CJP Justice Gulzar Ahmed requesting him to open a criminal investigation against State Health Minister Dr Zafar Mirza.

He claimed the defacto health minister did not reduce medicine prices - despite Prime Minister Imran Khan's orders - and instead continued to increase the prices.

Dr Furqan further alleged Dr Mirza smuggled over 20 million face masks and protective gear out of Pakistan.

Read story here

line-945-15248325222:50pm: Pakistan receives $1.4bn additional finance from IMF

Finance Adviser Dr Hafeez Sheikh called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and informed him about the planned approval of an additional $1.4 billion concessionary financing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to deal with the economic impact of the virus.

Read story here

line-945-15248325222:15pm: Education minister urges teachers, students to avail online learning

The Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood urged teachers and students to avail online learning opportunities productively during the lockdown.

ÔÇ£It is necessary to work out new methods of imparting education to students by connecting them with teachers in this extraordinary situation,ÔÇØ the minister said while talking to a news channel.

Read more here.

line-945-15248325221:30pm: PM Imran meets SAPM on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Dr Sania Nishtar briefed Prime Minister Imran Khan about the progress of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme.

The premier lauded the transparency of the programme and said the federal government is taking steps to provide relief to the citizens.

He said information should be shared with the public to ensure that more people benefit from the programme.


1:00pm: Pakistan to get debt relief from May 1

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said about 76 developing countries including Pakistan will get debt relief from May 1, initially for a period of one year.

ÔÇ£The 76 developing counties including Pakistan would benefit from billions of dollars from loan restructuring,ÔÇØ FM Qureshi said. ÔÇ£This would help Pakistan immensely as the country spends one-third of its revenue on debt repayments.ÔÇØ


12:45pm: 340 fresh cases emerge in Sindh

Adviser to Sindh chief minister Murtaza Wahab reported four new casualties and 340 new cases of the deadly disease across the province.

He said the total number of deaths is 45, while at least 576 patients have recovered - 16 in the past 24 hours.

18,900 tests have been conducted in Sindh, he added.

line-945-152483252212:30pm: PM Imran meets Punjab Trade Minister Mian Iqbal

Prime Minister Imran Khan called on Punjab Industries and Trade Minister Mian Muhammad Iqbal and discussed the impact the coronavirus has had on the industry.

The minister lauded the federal government's decision to open the construction industry and thanked the premier on behalf of the business community.

The premier said the government is determined to take necessary steps to curb the spread of the virus but at the same time, the government has to take steps to reduce poverty and maintain the economy of the country.

He said comprehensive standard operating procedures (SOPs) have been shared with provinces for industries that the government has allowed to operate, to ensure the safety of workers.

line-945-152483252212:00pm: Revenue minister lauds PM Imran's call for debt relief

Federal Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar said the world has started taking positive steps towards debt relief and lauded Prime Minister Imran Khan's call for a global initiative.

line-945-152483252211:40am: Total number of cases in Punjab are 3,232

Health authorities in Punjab said the total number of coronavirus cases in the province are at 3,232 - with the highest number in Lahore.

34 persons succumbed to the virus and at least 550 have recovered.

According to the spokesperson, 701 pilgrims, 1,236 people associated with Raiwind Tableeghi Ijtima, 91 prisoners and 1,204 others tested positive for the virus.

Punjab health department reported that 59 inmates in Lahore, 14 in Sialkot, nine in Dera Ghazi Khan, seven in Gujranwala and two in Bhakkar have tested positive for the virus.

The spokesperson said 457 pilgrims in Multan, 221 pilgrims in DG Khan, and 23 pilgrims in Faisalabad have tested positive.


11:35 am: CM Mahmood Khan visits Swat

Chief Minister Mahmood Khan visited Saidu Sharif's quarantine centre at the Government Post Graduate Jahanzeb College and the isolation centre at PTDC Motel.

The chief minister visited the Saidu Hospital for the inauguration of the coronavirus testing laboratory.

mahmood khan

line-945-152483252211:30 am: CM Murad arrives in Sukkur

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has arrived in Sukkur to review the lockdown and developments pertaining to the virus.

line-945-152483252211:10 am: Balochistan CM urges citizens to stay home

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal said the province has seen a rise in the number of confirmed cases and cases have also emerged in Jafforabad district.

The chief minister urged citizens to avoid leaving the house unnecessarily, reduce public contact and use face masks.


10:45am: Threat of virus still remains despite ease of restrictions, says SAPM

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the premier's decision to ease restrictions was to ensure ease of life and timely supply of essential goods and items.

The threat of the virus still remains and it is our responsibility to protect each other, she added.

Awan said the only cure for the virus, as of now, is caution and avoidance. She urged citizens to follow precautionary measures and maintain social distance.

line-945-15248325221o:40am: UNSG supports PM Imran's call for debt relief 

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres supported┬áPrime Minister Imran KhanÔÇÖs call for a global initiative for debt relief┬áfor developing countries.

The UN chief believes that debt relief must be an important part of the response to the virus, including immediate waiver on interest payments for the current year.

Read more here.

line-945-152483252210:10am: Punjab govt bans pillion riding

The Punjab government has announced a ban on pillion riding, exempting elderly persons, women and law enforcing agencies, with immediate effect until April 25.

punjab govt

line-945-15248325229:45am: Nationwide tally crosses 6,500 

After Punjab reported 201 fresh cases and five new cases emerged in Islamabad, the nationwide tally crossed 6,500.

The virus has claimed 124 lives and at least 1,645 patients have recovered.

In the last 24 hours, there have been over 520 new cases in the country and 17 reported deaths.

line-945-15248325228:45am: Priority of K-P govt to help traders run businesses

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said it was a priority of the government to find a way for traders to run their businesses.

Jhagra had a marathon session with representatives of K-P traders at the K-P secretariat. He thanked traders for working with the government, adding that the country cannot afford unrest at a time like this.

line-945-15248325228:35am: Partnership between govt, society

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said a partnership between the government and society is essential at this crucial time.

He said although the lockdown has given the country extra time and prevented faster infection rates, the people will have to live like this until a vaccine is developed.

line-945-15248325228:00 am: K-P's tally stands at 912

K-P Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said the total number of cases in the province stands at 912.

In the last 24 hours, four patients succumbed to the virus, raising the provincial tally of deaths to 42.

At least 191 patients have recovered from the virus, he added.

The minister expressed concern for Peshawar and said new cases emerge in the city every day. The total number of cases in Peshawar stands at 235.

Peshawar has the third-highest number of confirmed cases - after Karachi and Lahore, he added.

The number of cases in Mardan has also slowed down.


7:50 am: K-P health minister congratulates healthcare professionals

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra congratulated healthcare professionals for their hardwork and effort to contain the virus.


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