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. 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 2.9 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world ÔÇô more than 200,000 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 stands at 13,952 with 5,526 cases in Punjab, 4,957 in Sindh, 1,984 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,┬á853 in Balochistan, 320 in Gilgit-Baltistan,┬á245 in Islamabad┬áand┬á67 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The virus has claimed at least 293 lives while at least 3,029 coronavirus patients have recovered.
The number of cases has continued to soar despite the country being under lockdown for the fifth 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.
11:24pm: Sindh Governor Imran Ismail tests coronavirus positive
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail has confirmed that he tested positive for Covid-19 and vowed to fight the highly contagious disease.
"I believe this is nothing against what we [are] prepared for,"┬áthe governor┬áwrote on┬áhis official Twitter handle.
"I have just been tested Covid 19 positive, Allah Kareem inshallah will fight it out. @ImranKhanPTI thought [taught] us to fight out the most difficult in life and I believe this is nothing against what we r [are] prepared for. May Allah give strength to fight this Pandemic inshallah," he said in a tweet.
I have just been tested Covid 19 positive, Allah Kareem inshallah will fight it out. @ImranKhanPTI thought us to fight out the most difficult in life and I believe this is nothing against what we r prepared for. May Allah give strength to fight this Pandemic inshallah.— Imran Ismail (@ImranIsmailPTI) April 27, 2020
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10:54pm: Two more cases take G-B coronavirus tally to 320
Gilgit-Baltistan has reported two more cases of coronavirus, taking the regionÔÇÖs tally to 320, according to officials of the health department.
Total number of active cases as of now is 95 while 222 patients have recovered. G-B has reported┬áthree deaths so far from the coronavirus.
10:32pm: Eight member of a family contract Covid-19 in AJK
The number of coronavirus cases has continued to soar in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) as eight members of a family tested positive for Covid-19 in Sarwawa area of Kotli district, bringing the tally in the region to 67.
The family was in quarantine since April 21 after burial of a woman's husband who had died of cardiac arrest in Sargodha.
9:34pm: Balochistan reports 72 new cases, one death due to coronavirus
Balochistan has reported 72 new coronavirus cases with one more fatality, according to a statement issued by the health department.
The total number of Covid-19 cases in the province has reached 853 while the death toll has swelled to 14, it added.
9:14pm: Punjab to conduct 'smart sampling' to assess coronavirus spread
The Punjab government will start random testing from tomorrow in the province to assess the spread of coronavirus and estimate the number of Covid-19 patients.
"We are going to start "Smart Sampling" in Punjab from tomorrow [Tuesday]. A committee consisting of eminent experts has been formed to examine the results and give feedback on future decisions and strategies," Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said on Monday in a tweet from his official handle.
He went on to say that initially the government's focus is on to test people in quarantine centres.
"Now, with the increase in testing capacity and the burden on system is relatively low, we will be able to better evaluate the presence of coronavirus in the local community via smart sampling," the CM said in a follow-up tweet.
ہم کل سے پنجاب میں "Smart Sampling" شروع کرنےجا رہےہیں جس کےنتائج کو پرکھ کر مستقبل کےفیصلوں اور لائحۂ عمل کے حوالے سے آراء دینے کے لیے مایہ ناز ماہرین پر مشتمل کمیٹی بھی تشکیل دے دی گئی ہے.— Usman Buzdar (@UsmanAKBuzdar) April 27, 2020
شروع میں ہماری زیادہ توجہ مختلف quarantines میں ٹھہرائے گئےافراد کےٹیسٹ کرنے پر تھی. 1/2
7:46pm: KarachiÔÇÖs Abbasi Shaheed Hospital emergency reopens
The emergency ward at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital in Karachi has been made operational, after being closed for 24 hours.
Karachi Metropolitan Corporation senior medical director Dr Salma Kausar claimed that the ward had been disinfected with an anti-bacterial chemical spray.
She added that it had started functioning as per routine and all medical staff were present on duty. The ward was temporarily closed for fumigation on Sunday after a doctor at the hospital tested positive for Covid-19.
6:43pm: K-P confirms six more deaths, 120 new cases of coronavirus
More 120 cases of coronavirus emerged in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, taking the provincial tally to 1,984.
According to the health department, the contagious disease has claimed six more lives in the last 24 hours. At least 18 more patients have also recovered from Covid-19.
5:05 pm:┬áECC approves relief package for small businesses, daily wage workers
The┬áEconomic Coordination Committee (ECC) has allocated Rs75 billion to provide relief to labourers and daily wage workers who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus outbreak.
The┬áECC┬áalso approved an Rs50.69 billion package to provide indirect cash flow support to the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through pre-paid electricity.
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4:25 pm: Sindh cabinet members not to take salary till June 30
Sindh Cabinet Ministers, due to the current financial constraints, have unanimously decided not to take their salaries till 30th June 2020.— Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui (@murtazawahab1) April 27, 2020
3:55 pm: Alvi visits National Institute of Health┬á
President Dr Arif Alvi visited the National Institute of Health where he was briefed about the testing protocols.
He was given a tour of the testing section and the testing procedure and ordered┬áfor enhancing the quality and efficiency of the tests.
President Dr. Arif Alvi @ArifAlvi visits and talks to media at National Institute of Health, Islamabad. pic.twitter.com/WXdM9KYgDG
ÔÇö The President of Pakistan (@PresOfPakistan) April 27, 2020
3:50 pm: Chinese companies distribute relief packages
Chinese companies are working with Pakistan to mitigate the virus. All-Pakistan Chinese Enterprises' Association distributed relief packages to PCRS and Pakistan Baitul Mal for those affected by the pandemic.
Chinese companies are together with Pakistan in fighting coronavirus: All-Pakistan Chinese Enterprises' Association presents relief packages to PCRS and Pakistan Bait-Ul-Mal for the needy families hit by #Covid_19 pandemic for them to have a healthy, safe and happy Ramadan pic.twitter.com/5ZJpplga9G
ÔÇö Chinese Emb Pakistan (@CathayPak) April 27, 2020
3:25 pm: Govt providing basic sustenance to┬áthose affected
Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar said the provincial government is ensuring the provision of basic sustenance to the masses suffering from the outbreak.
He said financial assistance worth Rs12,000 is being distributed among over 11 million families under the Ehsas Emergency Cash programme.
3:00 pm: Tandoors, push-cart┬áowners┬áto remain open after 4pm
Adviser to Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Information Ajmal Wazir said the government has allowed push-cart┬áowners┬áand tandoors to remain open after 4pm.
2:45 pm: Punjab testing capacity to increase, says chief minister
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said the provincial government will increase daily testing from 5,000 to 10,000.
In a letter to members of the NA, CM Buzdar said quarantine centres, hospitals, isolation wards and high dependency units have been established across the province.
2:20 pm: PM orders parliamentarians to provide relief to those affected
Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed parliamentarians to play an active role in providing relief to those affected by the coronavirus.
He met with the Minister for Power Division Omar Ayub Khan and members of the National Assembly Prince Muhammad Nawaz and Ali Khan Jadoon.
The parliamentarians briefed the premier about the coronavirus development in their constituencies and ongoing relief activities to help those in need.
2:15 pm: ECC approves relief package┬á
Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said the┬áEconomic Coordination Committee (ECC) approved the package that will benefit┬á3.5 million small businesses.
95% of all commercial and 80% of all industrial connections in the country will benefit from this, he added.
ECC has today approved the package that shall benefit 35 lac small businesses.
For those with 5KW commercial or 70 KW industrial connections, the govt will pay their electricity bills for up to 3 months after they restart.
Consumption data from past will be used as a benchmark.
ÔÇö Hammad Azhar (@Hammad_Azhar) April 27, 2020
#Live:Minister for Industries and Production @Hammad_Azhar addressing a news Conference in #Islamabad https://t.co/BQImRBiqZv
ÔÇö Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) April 27, 2020
2:00 pm: Nine cases reported in AJK
Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Health Minister Dr Muhammad Najeeb Khan reported nine new cases. The provincial tally stands at 68.
Five of the patients belong to Kotli, three belong to Sargodha and one to Bagh.
The nine patients have been shifted to isolation centres.
1:40 pm: Punjab releases video on social distancing
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ÔÇö Government of Punjab (@GOPunjabPK) April 27, 2020
1:30 pm: 'Paramedics not provided with sufficient PPEs'
Paramedical Association┬áPresident Syed Roidad Shah said paramedical staff have not been provided with sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE).
He said over 20 paramedics have been tested positive for the coronavirus and staff over the age of 50 have not been discharged, despite government directives.
The problems faced by paramedics should be resolved on a priority basis, he lamented.
1:15 pm: Punjab reports 80 new cases
80 new cases emerged in Punjab, raising the provincial tally to 5,526.
According to health authorities, 786 pilgrims,┬á1,923 associated with Raiwind Tableeghi Ijtima, 86 prisoners and┬á2,749 others tested positive for the virus.
The provincial death toll stands at 84┬áwhile 1,183 patients have recovered and 22 are in critical condition.
71,726 tests have been conducted.
Punjab health authorities spokesperson requested the masses to take precautionary measures to protect themselves.
12:15 pm: CM Murad reports 341 new cases in Sindh┬á
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah briefed the provincial Cabinet over the coronavirus situation in the province.
The chief minister said 341 new┬ácases have emerged over the last 24 hours and four more people succumbed to the virus, raising the provincial death toll to 85.
The provincial tally stands at 4,956.
He added that 3,946 patients are undergoing treatment out of which 24 are in critical condition and 16 patients have been placed on ventilators.
ÔÇ£2,705 patients are being treated at home and 825 in isolation centres.ÔÇØ
CM Murad further said 90 new cases┬áhave emerged in KarachiÔÇÖs district East, 50 in South district, 40 in Korangi, 30 in Malir, 20 in Central and 12 each in Hyderabad and Larkana.
23 cases in Khairpur, eight in Ghotki, four in Sukkur and two in Matiari, the chief minister added.
Moreover, Murad said 600 beds have been added to Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Museum and 150 beds in Gadap Hospital.
He also ordered the establishment of a 100-bed isolation centre in every district.
11:50 am: PDMA provides medical supplies to hospitals, quarantine centres in K-P
Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA)┬áDirector-General┬áParwaiz Khan said protective items are being supplied to the health department, hospitals, concerned department and┬áquarantine centres to help tackle the coronavirus in┬áKhyber-Pakhtunkwa.
He said 53,000 different types of face masks, 860-litre of sanitiser, 15,140 personal protective kits, 127,000 gloves, 1,700 health-protective kits, 43,000 surgical caps, 9,270 gowns, 4,130 shoe covers, 48,000 protective suits, 8,200 beds along with bedsheets, 870-litre chlorine, 100 thermal guns and 4,500 biohazard bags have been provided.
"The PDMA is offering every possible facility to the frontline management," he added.
Essential edible items were supplied to quarantine centres for Ramazan, including 19,000 kg dates, 6,000 mineral water bottles, 14,000-gram lactogrow for children, 5,520 NF-1 juice packets, 32,400 powdered milk and 34,240 packets of cerelac, the PDMA director-general said.
11:15 am: 300 stranded Pakistanis┬áreach Islamabad
At least 300 Pakistanis stranded in Germany┬áarrived in Islamabad.
The passengers were screened at Islamabad International Airport and shifted to quarantine centres.
11:00 am: Sindh to establish more isolation centres
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has ordered the establishment of additional isolation centres in the province, particularly Karachi.
He said the isolation facility at Expo Centre would be enhanced from 1,200 to 1,500 beds and added that permission has been given to online businesses in Sindh to resume operations.
10:55 am: Daily briefing at NCOC in progress┬á
The daily situation briefing at the National Command and Operation Centre is in progress.
The meeting is reviewing the implementation of Ramazan guidelines, particularly the opening of stores.
Interior Minister Brigadier┬á(retd)┬áIjaz Shah┬ásaid to educate store owners to allow only those people who are wearing surgical masks and practising social distancing.
Focal persons from all provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Islamabad commissioner also joined the meeting via video link.
10:30 am: PIA plane carrying medical equipment arrives in Islamabad
Another consignment of medical equipment purchased by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has arrived in Pakistan.
A special Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane carrying 18 tonnes of equipment reached Islamabad.
The equipment consists of 159 ventilators, 15 x-ray machines, 200 thermal guns and personal protective equipment (PPE) for doctors.
290,000 surgical masks, 15,000 protective suits, 30,000 pairs of gloves and 5,000 goggles were also delivered.
NDMA spokesperson said various medicines have also been ordered.
10:00 am: Alvi says social distancing practised in mosques
President Dr Arif Alvi said he made surprise visits to various mosques in the country, without informing the local and mosque administrations.
The president maintained that social distancing was practised everywhere.
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ÔÇö Dr. Arif Alvi (@ArifAlvi) April 27, 2020
9:30┬áam: Nationwide tally at 13,328
The National Command and Operation Centre reported 14 new cases, raising the nationwide tally to 13,328.
In the last 24 hours, 605 persons tested positive for the virus.
3,029 patients across the country have recovered while 281 patients succumbed to the virus.
In the last 24 hours, the virus has claimed 12 more lives.
9:20 am: Pakistani embassies providing assistance to overseas Pakistani nationals
Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said Pakistani embassies working in 100 different countries are providing all possible support to overseas Pakistani nationals.
She said the embassy staff has distributed food items among families in the Gulf countries, as well as offered financial assistance.
In Bangkok, Turkey and the United States, financial support has also been provided to Pakistanis.
9:10 am: Dr Zafar Mirza says complete lockdown is not a feasible option
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza said the demand of doctors for a complete lockdown is not a feasible option.
Mirza offered full support to the government for addressing grievances faced by doctors treating coronavirus patients.
He said the government is fully aware of problems the paramedical staff is dealing with due to the pandemic.
In order to protect the community, social distance and other precautionary measures should be taken, Mirza added.
8:55 am:┬áParliamentary committee on coronavirus to meet today
The parliamentary┬ácommittee on coronavirus, chaired by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, will meet in Islamabad today.
Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar will apprise the meeting on immediate steps required to protect the economy.
The committee also invited representatives of the business community to hear their issues.
8:30 am: Ministry of Industry and Production to present relief package today
Ministry of Industries and Production will present phase one of the relief package for small industries at the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) for approval today.
Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar believes millions of small businesses and industries will benefit from the package.
For phase two of the relief package, the ministry is working on collateral-free financing for small┬áand medium-sized┬áenterprises (SMEs).
Phase two will target relief measures for sectors affected by the pandemic, he added.
8:10 am: Dr Firdous distributes ration among families
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan┬ádistributed ration among families in Marakiwal and Kotli-Loharan.
She said the premier is fully aware of problems faced by the lower segment of society.
The de facto minister said the Ehsaas Cash Emergency programme reflects he premier's vision towards the cause.
7:30 am: Alvi visits mosques in Bara Kahu, reviews measures
President Dr Arif Alvi said the coronavirus can only be cured through effectively demonstrating precautionary measures.
He visited several mosques in Bara Kahu and reviewed measures taken by the administration during congregational prayers and Taraweeh in Ramazan.
He directed the administration to ensure the implementation of preventative measures, as stated in the 2o-point guideline by Alvi and the country's top religious leaders.
Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri and Special Assistant to the PM on CDA Affairs Ali Nawaz Awan accompanied the president.