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 3.2 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world – more than 230,000 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 stands at 17,699 with 6,340 cases in Punjab, 6,675 in Sindh, 2,799 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 1,136 in Balochistan, 340 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 343 in Islamabad and 66 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The virus has claimed at least 408 lives while at least 4,315 coronavirus patients have recovered.
The number of cases has continued to soar despite the country being under lockdown for the sixth 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.
12:20am: One more tests positive for Covid-19 to bring G-B tally to 340
The Gilgit-Baltistan health department has confirmed one more patient of coronavirus in the region to bring the tally to 340.
There are 82 active cases while 255 patients have recovered from the deadly virus. Three people on the other hand have succumbed to it in the region so far.
11:45pm: Islamabad has the highest test rate, lowest mortality rate in Pakistan
The federal capital has the highest test rate for Covid-19 in Pakistan. It has one of the lowest death rates and comes 8th in number of coronavirus positive cases across the country.
These are the area wise positive cases across Islamabad:
11:30pm: President asks parliamentarians to keep in touch with people amid coronavirus crisis
President Dr Arif Alvi said on Friday coronavirus pandemic was spreading in Pakistan and reiterated that this global challenge could only be addressed by adopting necessary precautionary measures.
In a letter to members of the National Assembly (MNAs), the president asked the lawmakers to remain in close contact with the people in their respective constituencies, share their grievances in these testing times and raise awareness among them about precautionary measures.
Read more here
11:00pm: ‘Economy to remain sluggish in coming months’
The coronavirus pandemic has started a trend of low purchasing, fear of losing jobs and low returns on investments that will not only persist in the country but will increase in the coming months, said the Pakistan Prosperity Report (PPR) launched on Friday.
The report, launched by the Policy Research Institute of Market Economy (PRIME), aims at providing a monthly review of Pakistan's macroeconomics based on the analysis of four variables – industrial production, trade volume, price levels, and private sector lending.
The concept of the PPR is intuitive – higher level of industrial output, increases in trade volumes, more lending to the private sector and an improvement in purchasing power of individuals are indicators of a strong economy, signaling prosperity of both firms and households.
Read full story here
9:25pm: Two more succumb to Covid-19 in Balochistan as death toll rises to 16
The Balochistan health department, in its daily situational report, has confirmed two more casualties due to coronavirus to bring the provincial death toll to 16.
87 fresh cases of Covid-19 have swelled the province’s tally to 1,136.
183 patients have recovered from the deadly virus in the province so far.
9:10pm: Scavengers take flight from skies amid lockdown
As the lockdown led to a drop in human activity around Sindh’s urban areas, it appears that thousands of the scavenger birds, such as black kites and crows, that normally swoop through the skies are fast disappearing.
In light of this phenomenon occurring during the breeding season, bird lovers and wildlife experts have expressed concerns that most of the bird population in urban centres would be badly affected in the coming months.
The apprehension arises out a previous trend, witnessed during the past few weeks, of birds finding it hard to survive the unusual circumstances following the lockdown.
Read more here
8:45pm: 87 new local transmission cases raise Balochistan’s Covid-19 tally to 1,136
Balochistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani has said that another 87 people have contracted coronavirus in the province to bring the tally to 1,136.
86 of these patients belong to Quetta and one from Pishin, he said in a tweet, adding that this brings the total number of local transmission cases to 985 in the province.
بلوچستان میں کورونا وائرس سے متاثرہ افراد کی تعداد 1136 ہوگئی— Liaquat Shahwani (@LiaquatShahwani) May 1, 2020
آج مذید 87 مقامی افراد میں کورونا وائرس کی تصدیق ہوگئی ہے ۔
86 کا تعلق کوئٹہ آور 1 پشین سے ہے۔
کل مقامی متاثرہ افراد کی تعداد 985 ہوگئی ۔#coronavirusinpakistan #CoronaInPakistan #CoronaTigerForce #CoronaUpdate
8:30pm: Karachi’s Covid-19 count nears 5,000 – over quarter of country’s tally
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said on Friday that 662 more cases were reported in the province on the day, raising the virus tally to 6,675, while six people succumbed to Covid-19 as the death toll climbed to 118.
In a video statement, the CM said that the 662 persons found infected also included 190 passengers among 438 who had arrived from Dubai, Sharjah and Colombo. Among them, he said, 92 passengers belonged to Sindh, 56 to Punjab, 24 to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and 18 to Balochistan.
"If we don't consider these 190 cases, the number reported on the day reduces to 472, showing that the pandemic is still playing havoc in Sindh," he said, urging citizens to strictly observe social distancing and pandemic guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation.
Speaking with regards to the geographical incidence of the virus, the CM said that the highest number of cases among 662 newly-reported ones belonged to Karachi, numbering 446. Of these, 173 were detected in Malir, 92 in east district, 70 in South district, 56 in Central district, 33 in West district and 22 in Korangi, he said. The metropolis has had 4,873 cases reported so far.
Read full story here
8:10pm: NDMA dispatches fourth consignment of PPEs to health professionals
One million surgical masks, 39,200 N-95 masks, 178,600 PPE gowns and 54,800 hand gloves given to hospitals across the country
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has dispatched the fourth consignment of personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals and medical professionals fighting Covid-19 across the country.
According to a statement issued by NDMA on Friday, the consignment included nearly one million surgical masks, 39,200 N-95 masks, 178,600 PPE gowns and 54,800 hand gloves.
6:55pm: DRAP warns against using anti-malaria drug to treat coronavirus
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) has warned against using anti-malaria drug chloroquine and a related derivative, hydroxychloroquine – the medicine that is being touted as a potential cure for the novel coronavirus – on Covid-19 patients.
The regulator in an advisory on Friday said that clinical trials are underway to evaluate the effectiveness of chloroquine against Covid-19 and currently, the medicine is not being used to treat the contagious disease.
There are serious side effects of chloroquine including renal, liver and heart damage, Drap said in the advisory, adding that the medicine could also cause fits and lower the blood sugar level.
It strictly advised the people against self-medication.
Read full story here
6:38pm: K-P reports 15 more deaths, 172 new Covid-19 cases in last 24 hours
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) health department has confirmed 172 new cases – 12 from Torkham quarantine center – in last 24 hours, taking the provincial tally to 2,799.
15 new deaths were also reported – 10 in Peshawar, two from Nowshera and one each in Swat, Battagram and Kohat – taking the death toll to 161.
Meanwhile, 36 more patients have recovered to increase the total number of recoveries to 690 in the province.
172 new cases reported (12 from Torkham quarantine center) in last 24 hours taking the provincial tally to 2,799. 15 new deaths were reported (10 Peshawar, 2 Nowshera, 1 each in Swat, Battagram, Kohat) taking the tally to 161. 36 new patients recovered taking tally to 690 in KP. pic.twitter.com/EiGCG5mTCf— Health Department KP (@HealthKPGovt) May 1, 2020
6:20pm: Read ‘Lost Islamic History’ during lockdown, PM Imran advises youth
Prime Minister Imran Khan has advised the youth to read book “Lost Islamic History” by Firas Al Khateeb during coronavirus lockdown days.
The premier, in a tweet on Friday, said the book is an excellent brief history of the driving force that made Islamic civilisation the greatest of its time and then the factors behind its decline.
Read more here
6:00pm: 59 frontline doctors have contracted coronavirus in Balochistan so far
Doctors and healthcare workers continue to fall prey to coronavirus in Balochistan, as 59 doctors have been tested positive for Covid-19 till now.
Doctors in Quetta remained the most effected by the deadly virus, as eight more tested positive recently. Four nurses have also caught the virus, while performing duties in the provincial capital.
35 other medical staff members have also been infected with the virus till now, taking the total number of Covid-19 affected healthcare professionals to 98.
All the patients of coronavirus are home isolated with 10 of them already recovered. A senior dispenser in Sandeman Civil Hospital, Quetta has passed away due to coronavirus.
Balochistan is currently witnessing a sharp rise in the Covid-19 cases and healthcare workers are among the most affected.
Doctors, paramedics, other health department staff have been urging the government to provide them with basic protective gear to fight against the deadly virus.
4:39pm: PPP Chairman asks govt to stop criticism and support Sindh’s stance of staying home
Lashing out at the federal government Bilawal Bhutto said that if the government does not want to praise Sindh for its efforts it should at least stop criticizing the provincial government for its measures to curb Covid-19.
“Provinces and federal government have bare minimum work relations,” he said stressing that the prime minister should act as a leader of the entire nation.
4:28pm Bilawal asks who the ‘elites’ are who imposed the lockdown
The PPP chairman questioned that when it was a federal minister who announced the lockdown extension till May 9 who the premier was criticizing.
He further said that Pakistan has to fight the war against Covid-19 on two fronts—healthcare and economy—which the government has failed to address.
4:20pm: Bilawal Bhutto takes a jibe at govt for criticizing Sindh
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto has said that the government of Pakistan has let down all the provincial governments in the country.
“Balochistan was neither given the equipment to run tests on people nor were they given space to quarantine people in Taftan,” he said.
He further said that the Punjab government was let down by the federal government when it failed to pass any clear directives on the Raiwind Ijtema.
Bilawal stated that the government then did not even assist provinces in tracking the Tableeghi Jamaat members.
4:10pm: WATCH: Bilawal addresses media
لائیو: پاکستان پیپلزپارٹی کے چیئرمین بلاول بھٹو زرداری سندھ اسمبلی آڈیٹوریم میں وزیراعلی سید مراد علی شاہ ودیگر کے ہمراہ پریس کانفرنس کررہے ہیں https://t.co/mRpiSQxy9r— PPP (@MediaCellPPP) May 1, 2020
4:00pm: Bilawal Bhutto pays tribute to health workers, daily wage earners on May Day
Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto paid tribute to the frontline health workers fighting the Covid-19.
He further said that over 400 health workers have so far contracted the virus and nine doctors have lost their lives due to Covid-19.
Bilawal lashed out at the federal government for not providing PPEs to the doctors.
“Is it possible to imagine sending our army to fight a war on the borders without giving them bullets or their uniforms?” he questioned adding that it was the responsibility of the government to provide the protective equipment required by medics and paramedics.
3:15pm: 622 new cases reported in Sindh
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah stated on Friday that 622 new cases were reported across the province taking the provincial tally to 6,675.
The chief minister also informed that six new deaths were reported taking the provincial tally to 118 across the province.
As many as 71 people have recovered from the virus in the past 24 hours while the Sindh government conducted 3,384 the previous day.
2:40pm: CM Punjab says to provide best facilities to patients
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar ordered health authorities to provide the best facilities to coronavirus infected patients.
He said to ensure provision of food to patients on time.
Taking notice of the protest at Expo Centre in Lahore, the chief minister ordered for an investigation.
2:25pm: NCOC directs RSPs to enhance mobilisation to contain virus
The National Command and Operation Centre directed the Rural Support Programmes (RSPs) spread across villages and districts of the country to enhance community mobilisation for effectively mitigating the spread of the virus.
The centre noted that community mobilisation was significant to cope with the crisis in the country and public awareness is important to overcome critical issues.
Read story here
2:10pm: PM Imran says employment, planting trees is killing two birds with one stone
Prime Minister Imran Khan said giving people employment and planting trees is "killing two birds with one stone" considering the situation in the country amid the pandemic.
Killing two birds with one stone: giving people employment as well planting trees. pic.twitter.com/ZrYs6ZarO3
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 1, 2020
2:05pm: Adviser to CM K-P for Information Ajmal Khan Wazir talking to media
Live: Advisor to the Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for Information Ajmal Khan Wazir talking to media in Peshawar. #COVID19Pandemic #CoronavirusPandemic #COVID19Pakistan #PakistanFightsCorona https://t.co/5WxPVZBTZU
— Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) May 1, 2020
2:00pm: Punjab reports 120 new cases, total at 6,340
Punjab health authorities reported 120 new cases, raising the provincial tally to 6,340.
According to health authorities, 768 pilgrims, 1,926 associated with Raiwind Tableeghi Ijtima, 86 prisoners and 3,560 others tested positive for the virus.
A total of 106 deaths have been reported in Punjab, while 1,850 patients have recovered and 27 in critical condition.
82,651 tests have been conducted since the start of the virus.
1:55pm: Punjab CM says unemployment is at an all-time high
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said owing to the lockdown across the globe, unemployment is at an all-time high.
He said under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the provincial government has opened up several industries following standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the protection of workers, while also distributing funds through the Ehsaas programme.
کورونا وائرس لاک ڈاؤن کی وجہ سے آج دنیا بھر کے مزدور بے روزگاری اور ذہنی اذیت کا شکار ہیں
وزیراعظم عمران خان کی قیادت میں ہم ناصرف مزدوروں کے تحفظ کے لیے SOPs کےساتھ مرحلہ وار انڈسٹری کھول رہےہیں بلکہ احساس اور "انصاف امداد پروگرام" کےذریعےکیش بھی ٹرانسفر کر رہےہیں#LaborDay2020
— Usman Buzdar (@UsmanAKBuzdar) May 1, 2020
1:45pm: 67 doctors across K-P suffering from the coronavirus
Young doctors reported 67 doctors across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have contracted the coronavirus.
Doctors are vulnerable to the virus because of a shortage of safety kits.
They denied a government spokesperson's statement that a large number of safety kits were provided to doctors.
"Most hospital kits do not have N95 masks or face shields," they said, adding that the district administration has failed to catch hoarders of kits and masks.
1:30pm: 481 confirmed cases in Rawalpindi
1:00pm: PM Imran says to read 'Lost Islamic History' during lockdown
Prime Minister Imran Khan advised the youth to read "Lost Islamic History" during the lockdown.
A great read for our youth during lockdown days. An excellent brief history of the driving force that made Islamic civilisation the greatest of its time and then the factors behind its decline. pic.twitter.com/XdTSLFmIjj
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 1, 2020
12:30pm: Punjab allows some industries to resume work
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said the provincial government has allowed some industries to resume work.
He said those industries which have resumed work must ensure implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs).
11:55am: Bilawal, Murad to address news conference today
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto will hold a news conference with Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah at the Sindh Assembly at 4pm today.
11:45am: Unemployed labourers planting saplings for PM's Billion Tree Tsunami initiative
In an attempt to curb the spread of the virus, Pakistan has been in lockdown since March 23.
Unemployed day labourers have been given new jobs of planting saplings as part of the premier's 10 Billion Tree Tsunami programme to deal with climate change threats.
Since #Pakistan locked down starting March 23 to try to stem spread of #COVID-19, unemployed day labourers have been given new jobs of planting saplings as part of #PMImranKhan #10BillionTreeTsunami programme to deal with climate change threats#APPNews #LabourDay @MoIB_Official pic.twitter.com/WjzCxDWW4K
— APP 🇵🇰 #StayHomeSaveLives 🇵🇰 (@appcsocialmedia) May 1, 2020
11:20am: Effective steps taken to provide relief to working class, says K-P CM
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan lauded the working class for their key role in the development of the country.
He said protecting the rights of the workers is one of the top priorities of the government, adding that effective steps are being taken to provide maximum relief to the working class amid the pandemic.
11:15am: Daily Covid-19 cases
11:10am: Covid-19 cases in the country
11:05am: Daily tests conducted
10:55am: Confirmed coronavirus cases at 16,817
10:50am: Stranded Pakistanis from Saudi Arabia arrive home
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight, carrying 250 Pakistani nationals from Saudi Arabia has arrived in Pakistan.
Another special flight from Jeddah has reached Lahore.
10:10am: Punjab govt issues packages for healthcare workers
The Punjab government has issued three different packages providing financial assistance to healthcare workers and Rescue 1122 personnel.
10:00am: Over Rs3 billion donations in PM's Covid-19 relief fund
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Senator Faisal Javed said over Rs3 billion have been donated to the premier's Covid-19 relief fund.
PM Relief Fund touches the 3 Billion Mark Masha'ALLAH. So far Rs 3,022 million have been deposited in PM's COVID19 Relief Fund.Hats off to your Generosity & Jazba for contributing towards this grt cause.Together we can & Together we must #KeepContributing#PakistanTheMostGenerous
— Faisal Javed Khan (@FaisalJavedKhan) April 30, 2020
9:30am: Sindh imposes ‘complete’ lockdown from 12 noon to 3pm on Friday
The government of Sindh will impose a ‘complete’ lockdown from 12 noon to 3pm to stem the spread of novel coronavirus in the province.
Transport and all business activities, including the ones exempted, would remain suspended.
9:00am: Nationwide cases at 16,817
According to the National Command and Operation Centre, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at 16,817.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) reported 314 new cases, raising the provincial tally to 2,627.
385 patients across the country have succumbed to the virus and at least 4,315 have recovered.
Over 210 recoveries have been reported over a single day.
8:45am: China donates 1,500 food packs for stranded Afghan refugees
China has donated 1,500 food packs for the Afghan refugees stranded in various camps of Pakistan amid the pandemic.
The donation was given by the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing.
Earlier, Minister for States and Frontier Regions Shehryar Khan Afridi had written several letters to the United Nations and requested assistance for the Afghan refugees trapped in the country.
7:30am: Alvi says Ehsaas programme launched to provide relief to poor
President Dr Arif Alvi, on the occasion of Labour Day, said the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme has been launched to provide relief to the lower segments of society.
Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated his government's commitment to improving the living condition of workers and to ensure the provision of better housing, education facilities and healthcare.
7:15am: At least 300 British nationals from Karachi return home
The United Kingdom (UK) charter flights from Karachi and Islamabad took hundreds of British nationals home today.
At least 300 British citizens were on board the charter flight back to the UK.
7:00am: K-P revises policy on testing for Covid-19
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said the province has revised the policy on testing for the coronavirus.
At least 1,500 tests are being conducted per day and the provincial government intends to increase the capacity to 2,000 by May.
He reiterated that healthcare workers are a priority for testing and will not be denied a test if they require one.
In case of contact with a Covid-19 patient, surveillance sampling may be carried out.
1. A quick update on testing. Our updated testing policy for KP, that will enable us to test more and smarter.
Just adding capacity is not enough, you need to know what to do with it.
We are making clear that healthcare workers are the first priority for testing at all costs. pic.twitter.com/sSALsgBZuR
— Taimur Khan Jhagra (@Jhagra) April 30, 2020