April 29: Govt prepares to ease lockdown, considers 15,525 Covid-19 cases as ‘below projections’

The virus has claimed at least 343 lives while at least 3,425 coronavirus patients have recovered

​ Our Correspondents April 29, 2020
The federal government is preparing to loosen coronavirus lockdown restrictions as the number of infections and deaths are 'well below previous projections'. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

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 3 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world ÔÇô more than 210,000 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 15,525 with 5,827 cases in Punjab, 5,695 in Sindh, 2,313 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 978 in Balochistan, 333 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 313 in Islamabad and 66 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The virus has claimed at least 343 lives while at least 3,425 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.live-updates-9451

1:00am: Pakistan, Norway agree to work closely on debt relief initiative

Sharing concerns┬áover the adverse impact of Covid-19 on developing countriesÔÇÖ economies, Pakistan and Norway have agreed to work closely on Prime Minister Imran KhanÔÇÖs global debt relief initiative and remain engaged.

The development comes┬áafter Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with his Norwegian counterpart┬áIne Eriksen S├©reide on Wednesday.

FM Qureshi┬áalso offered condolences over the loss of lives in Norway due to the outbreak of coronavirus. He briefed on the measures taken by the Pakistan government to contain the pathogen and ÔÇ£underscored the need for solidarity within the international community during these challenging timesÔÇØ.

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11:40pm: Nationwide coronavirus tally reaches 15,525

The nationwide tally of coronavirus cases in Pakistan has reached 15,525 while the virus has claimed 343 lives, according to the governmentÔÇÖs official website.

According to National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), 5,827 cases were diagnosed in Punjab, 5,695 in Sindh, 2,313 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 978 in Balochistan, 333 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 313 in Islamabad and 66 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

3,425 patients have also recovered from deadly virus.

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11:04pm: President, Sindh CM to discuss ÔÇÿfateÔÇÖ of lockdown tomorrow

After endless controversy over the lockdown in Sindh, with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leaders and traders demanding to bring it to an end, President Dr Arif Alvi is scheduled to hold a meeting with Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to discuss the ÔÇ£fateÔÇØ of the lockdown on Thursday.

However, the government denied that any decision had been made to end the lockdown, albeit acknowledging that discussions about easing it had been carried out.

According to sources, the meeting, which will start at 11am, is meant to discuss different options pertaining to the lockdown in the province.

ÔÇ£The concerns of traders demanding to reopen business activities, as well as the matter of prayers and Taraweeh at mosques and the overall ÔÇÿsmart lockdownÔÇÖ will be brought under consideration,ÔÇØ a Sindh government official told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity. ÔÇ£It is premature to say whether or not the lockdown will be called off completely, but different options will come under discussion."

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9:20pm: Govt set to ease lockdown as countrywide coronavirus cases ÔÇÿbelow predictionsÔÇÖ

The federal government is preparing to loosen coronavirus lockdown restrictions as the number of infections and deaths are ÔÇ£well below previous projectionsÔÇØ, officials said on Wednesday.

Pakistan despite registering more than 15,500 cases of Covid-19 including 340 deaths has already granted exemptions to dozens of sectors to open up over the last few days.

ÔÇ£The mortality numbers are nowhere near the same as we see in other countries,ÔÇØ Planning Minister Asad Umar, who oversees the response to the virus, told journalists.

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9:00pm: Four more contract coronavirus in Balochistan

With four new cases of Covid-19, BalochistanÔÇÖs tally has risen to 978. According to the daily situational report, 180 patients of coronavirus have recovered in the province so far.



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8:50pm: Coronavirus pandemic reaches new high in Sindh

The emergence of 404 more coronavirus cases in Sindh ÔÇô the highest reported here in a day thus far ÔÇô and the infection death toll hitting 100, with the virus claiming another eight lives, is indicative of the worsening pandemic crisis in the province, pointed out Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.

ÔÇ£This is a very serious situation as we [continue] to detect more cases and [bury] more bodies [by each passing day], despite the recovery ration increasing to 20.5 per cent,ÔÇØ the CM remarked in a video statement issued on Wednesday. While the increase in the recovery ration was encouraging, he said, ÔÇ£We have to [continue to work towards] saving the lives of our people.ÔÇØ

Speaking with regard to the detection of 404 more cases on Wednesday, the CM said it was worrisome that of those, 332 belonged to Karachi. ÔÇ£Coronavirus cases and deaths are on the rise in Karachi [in particular],ÔÇØ he added.

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8:00pm: Balochistan reports 59 new coronavirus cases; tally rises to 974

Balochistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani has said that 59 more people have contracted Covid-19 disease in the province to bring the total number of such cases to 974.

58 of the new cases emerged in Quetta and one in Qilla Abdullah.



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7:45pm: Eight more succumb to Covid-19, 153 new cases surface in K-P in last 24 hours

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) health department has confirmed eight more casualties due to coronavirus, bringing the provincial death toll to 122.

With 153 new cases, total number of Covid-19 patients has risen to 2,313 in the province, according to the daily situational report.

Meanwhile, another 52 patients have recuperated from the virus to raise the total number of recoveries to 614.



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6:30pm: Murtaza Wahab appeals masses not to misbehave with LEAs personnel

Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab has made an appeal to the masses not to misbehave with personnel of law enforcement agencies (LEAs) who are deployed on roads to limit public movement amid lockdown imposed to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

ÔÇ£Our policemen, Rangers and traffic wardens are working day and night for our protection,ÔÇØ he can be heard saying in a video message.

Wahab said 45 personnel and officers of police have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in the province so far. Four Rangers soldiers have also contracted the virus for Gods sake, dont misbehave with police and Rangers, he said.

ÔÇ£LetÔÇÖs fight together against coronavirus pandemic by staying at home,ÔÇØ he said.



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5:30pm: Eight family members of JI MPA test positive for Covid-19

At least eight family members of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) MPA Abdul Rasheed have been diagnosed with Covid-19, a week after the lawmaker was tested positive for the virus.

In a video message, he said that there is nothing to worry about and appealed to the masses to pray for their early recovery.

Rasheed further said that his family had gone into self-isolation after the diagnosis.



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4:55 pm: Interior ministry extends the validity of all visas



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4:30 pm: At least 22 FBR officials test positive in Quetta

As many as 22 employees of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) field office in Quetta tested positive for coronavirus.

Health teams visited the Regional Tax Office Quetta and collected 164 samples from the employees, out of which 22 returned positive.

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4:00 pm: KP health department asks officials to submit Covid-19 test results

The health department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has directed all officials to submit their coronavirus test results.

It urged the officials to get tested, those who have yet to, on an urgent basis or salaries will be stopped in ÔÇ£public interestÔÇØ.

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3:30 pm: Balochistan launches Qarz-e-Hasna scheme



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3:00 pm: UAE arrives ambassador lauds his country for sending medical supplies

https://twitter.com/ALZAABI82/status/1255199118009479168

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2:15 pm: Sindh reports new cases

Sindh reported 408 new cases and eight deaths over the last 24hr period. The provincial tally is now at 5,695 cases. The province conducted 3,729 tests during the same period.



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1:50 pm: President Alvi reaches Quetta, to review progress

President Arif Alvi reached Quetta and was received by the provincial governor and chief minister. The president will preside over a session to review the progress of BalochistanÔÇÖs coronavirus response and the Ehsaas program.

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1:20 pm: Punjab reports 97 new cases

PunjabÔÇÖs Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department reported 97 new coronavirus cases in the province. The total number of Covid-19 patients in Punjab now stands at 5,827.

The department also reported five deaths, taking the number of people of have died in Punjab to 100.

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12:45 pm: Turkish agency provides rations to families in Pakistan

TurkeyÔÇÖs state-run aid agency provided ration to 1,000 families in several parts of PakistanÔÇÖs southern Sindh province, affected by the ongoing lockdown imposed to stem the surging coronavirus cases in the country.

Rations were distributed among the needy families in the remote towns of Dhabeji and Gharo at their doorstep, taking necessary safety precautions

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12:25 pm: K-P director public health recovers

Khyber-PakhtunkhwaÔÇÖs Director Public Health Dr Ikramullah has recovered after earlier contracting the novel coronavirus.

His second consecutive test came back negative and he was declared healthy by the authorities.

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11:55 am: K-P governor calls for philanthropists to come forward

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman urged philanthropists to come forward and help poor people as the country battles the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking to the media after distributing ration among the needy in Peshawar, he stressed the need for proper attention to providing relief to the poor community during the pandemic.

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11:25 am: CEAG advises against the use of disinfection tunnels

Punjab governmentÔÇÖs Corona Experts Advisory Group (CEAG) has recommended against the use of disinfection tunnels as ÔÇ£there was no scientific evidenceÔÇØ in the tunnelÔÇÖs use to prevent Covid-19.

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10:55 am: NDMA dispatches PPE to G-B, Balochistan

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is dispatching the fourth consignment of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for doctors and paramedical staff of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan.

According to the NDMA spokesperson, the consignment includes surgical masks, N-95 masks, protective gowns, gloves, shoe covers, surgical head covers, face shields, protective goggles, and sanitizers.

He added that the fourth consignment of PPE to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has already been sent and provision of PPE is also continuing to hospitals of Punjab, Sindh, and Azad Kashmir.

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10:00 am President Alvi urges people to play their role in preventing the spread of the virus

President Dr Arif Alvi has called upon all segments of the society to play their role in preventing the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

During his visit to various mosques in Constituency NA-61 along with Member National Assembly Aamir Mehmood Kiani in Rawalpindi, the President reviewed the precautionary measures being adopted by mosques administrations during prayers and Taraweeh.

He said the implementation of anti-coronavirus pandemic precautionary measures guidelines would have to be ensured both by the management of mosques and the people.

line-945-15248325229:30 am: Death toll rises to 327

The National Command and Operation Centre on reported 26 deaths in the past 24 hours taking the nationwide death toll to 327.

With 806 new cases, the national tally has now hit 14,885.

Meanwhile, 129 Covid-19 patients are said to be critical.line-945-1524832522

9:15 am: Over 3,400 people recover

As many as 3,425 have so far recovered from the novel coronavirus across the country.

According to the National Command and Operation Centre, 165,911 tests have been conducted across the country with 8,530 conducted on the previous day.

Over 3,600 patients are admitted across the country in the 717 hospitals with covid facilities.line-945-1524832522

9:00 am Pakistan Army distributes assistance packages

Pakistan Army has distributed 350,000 army assistance packages (containing basic food items ) purchased through contributions of armyÔÇÖs announced salary donation for Covid-19 affected people in various areas of┬á Pakistan to daily wagers, handicapped, labourers, widows and needy people including far-flung areas.

The relief packages were distributed in various parts of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Azad Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan.

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8:45 am: PPP MPA tests positive for Covid-19

A Tharparkar-based MPA of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Rana Hameer Singh, has contracted the coronavirus, according to a report issued by the diagnostic and research lab of the Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences.

The MPA reportedly met and spent time with Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) MPA Abdul Rasheed, who has also been tested positive, during the latter's visit to inaugurate an intensive care unit at an Al-Khidmat Foundation health facility in Tharparkar over a week ago.

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8:15am: Army, PAF to facilitate in PIAÔÇÖs repatriation flights

The military on Tuesday announced its support for the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight operation to bring back the Pakistanis stranded abroad during the coronavirus pandemic.

Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa announced the treatment facility at the combined military hospitals (CMHs) across the country if any PIA personnel fell victim to coronavirus during these flights, while Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan announced that C-130 planes would transport crews stranded in various cities due to lack of domestic flights.

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