LIVE: PM calls for gradual lockdown easing as Covid-19 tally crosses 21,000

The virus has claimed at least 476 lives while at least 5,635 coronavirus patients have recovered

​ Our Correspondents May 04, 2020
Men break their fast amidst closed shops at a market during lockdown in efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease, in Karachi on May 2. PHOTO: 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 3.5 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world – more than 248,000 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 21,044 with 7,646 cases in Punjab, 7,882 in Sindh, 3,288 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 1,321 in Balochistan, 372 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 464 in Islamabad and 71 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The virus has claimed at least 476 lives while at least 5,635 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.

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12:00am: 49 fresh cases raise Islamabad’s Covid-19 tally to 464

49 new cases of the novel coronavirus has been reported in the federal to raise its Covid-19 tally to 464, according to the government's official website for coronavirus statistics.

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11:43pm: Balochistan extends lockdown till May 19

The Balochistan government has extended the ongoing lockdown till May 19 after more than 100 fresh coronavirus cases emerged in the province.

"The looming threat of coronavirus spread still exists and restrictions on social distancing and precautionary measures are still required to be put in place for safety of human lives," according to the notification issued by the Home and Tribal Affairs Department Balochistan.

The order shall remain in force in the entire province for a period of 15 days, it added.

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9:40pm: Daily situational report on Covid-19 in Balochistan



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9:25pm: Another doctor succumbs to coronavirus in Karachi

Another doctor passed away due to the coronavirus in Karachi on Sunday evening, a few days after being diagnosed with the deadly disease.

Dr Furqanul Haq, a retired practitioner at the Karachi Institute of Heart Diseases, is the third doctor in the city to succumb to the virus, while his wife has also contracted the disease. He had isolated himself at his residence after testing positive for Covd-19.

Though reports circulated that he had died due to the unavailability of ventilators in Pakistan’s largest city, raising questions about the condition of the city’s health sector and its capacity, the Sindh health department denied this after initiating an inquiry into the matter.

Read more here

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8:55pm: Sindh High Court issues notices to federal government

The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued on Monday notices to the federal government over a plea pertaining to the signing of the Sindh Coronavirus Emergency Relief Ordinance draft by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed, was hearing the plea.

The petitioner maintained in the plea that the draft of the proposed ordinance was sent to the governor for approval on April 8, but he did not sign it even after several days.

The ordinance aims to give relief to citizens during the ongoing lockdown, with concessions in the payment of rents, school tuition fees and utility bills while also barring employers from withholding worker salaries or firing them.

Read more here

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8:45pm: 221 stranded Pakistanis arrive in Karachi from Nairobi

221 stranded Pakistani nationals have been repatriated on Monday from Nairobi, Kenya to Karachi via PIA flight 8762, following the suspension of flight operations due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Kenya, while seeing off the fellow countrymen, lauded efforts of Pakistan government, Foreign Ministry, PIA, Tableeghi Jamaat administration and Kenyan government for making the repatriation possible.

PHOTO: EXPRESS

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8:40pm: 417 new coronavirus cases surface in Sindh

Claiming that the pandemic situation was worsening in Sindh, provincial chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah disclosed on Monday that 417 new coronavirus cases had been reported in the previous 24 hours, while seven more people had died as a result of the virus.

In a statement, the CM revealed that 2,571 tests had been conducted on the day, with those infected accounting for around 16.2 per cent of this number. He added that in total, the Sindh government had tested 66,623 samples so far and diagnosed 7,882 cases, accounting for 11.83 per cent of all those tested.

He further expressed grief that with the seven deaths reported on Monday, the virus had claimed 137 lives in the province so far, adding that 1.7 per cent of the reported patients had succumbed to the contagious disease.

Read more here

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8:15pm: G-B reports eight more cases to bring Covid-19 tally to 372

The Gilgit-Baltistan Health Department has said eight more people have contracted the coronavirus to bring the region’s tally to 372. Three Covid-19 patients have succumbed to the deadly disease so far.

279 patients have recovered as number of active cases stands at 90 in the region.

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8:00pm: 103 fresh cases swell Balochistan’s Covid-19 tally to 1,321

Balochistan government’s spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani has confirmed 103 new cases in the province to bring the coronavirus tally to 1,321.

Out of today’s 103 cases, 92 were reported from Quetta, four in Lasbela, three in Sibi, two in Chaghi and one each in Noshki and Qila Abdullah.

Number of local transmission cases stands at 1,170 and 151 among pilgrims in the province.



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6:45pm: PM Imran discusses coronavirus challenges with Ethiopian counterpart

Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Ethiopian counterpart Abiy Ahmed Ali discussed the situation arising out of coronavirus pandemic and the challenges the developing countries are facing amid the crisis over telephone on Monday.

In the context of Pakistan’s “engage Africa” policy, PM Imran emphasised the importance of closer bilateral ties with Ethiopia. He also reiterated his felicitations to Premier Abiy on winning the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.

He also conveyed Pakistan’s solidarity with the government and people of Ethiopia, and commended their effective measures to control the spread of Covid-19.

Read more here

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6:05pm: K-P reports five deaths, 159 new Covid-19 cases in last 24 hours

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Health Department has confirmed five more casualties due to coronavirus in the last 24 hours to take the provincial death toll to 185.

159 new cases – only one from quarantine centres – were also confirmed in the last 24 hours, taking the tally to 3,288.

45 more patients recuperated from the mysterious disease to take the total number of recoveries to 856 in the province.



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4:45pm: 'Lockdown to be eased in coming days'

Prime Minister Imran Khan informed members of the national and provincial assemblies on Monday that the government has decided that lockdown will gradually be eased in the coming days keeping in view the ground realities, especially the economic situation of the country and the problems of the common man.

Subsequently, the premier directed the MNAs and MPAs to not only play their full role in providing relief to the people in this hour of need but also encourage the people to take precautionary measures so that the spread of the coronavirus could effectively be stopped.

Read story here

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4:15pm: PM Imran addresses Tiger Force members 



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3:40pm: Punjab reports new cases 

Punjab's Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department reported 152 new coronavirus cases in the province, taking the tally to 7,646.

The health department also confirmed five more deaths and said 25 patients are in critical condition.

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3:10pm: Tiger Force made operational

The Corona Relief Tiger Force, a voluntary organisation formed by Prime Minister Imran Khan to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak in the country, was made operational on Monday.

The main duties of Tiger Force are to facilitate the functioning of utility stores, implement SOPs at mosques, help in the management of isolation and quarantine centres, identify hoarders, profiteers and the deserving people in their locality and distribution of ration.

Read story here

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2:45pm: Govt’s handling of coronavirus outbreak irks SC

The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday again expressed complete dissatisfaction over the federal and provincial governments’ performance in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.

A five-member apex bench, presided by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed, resumed the hearing of coronavirus suo motu case.

The chief justice also had serious reservation regarding the transparency process of spending billions to control the pandemic.

Read story here

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2:20pm: Sindh reports new cases

Provincial authorities in Sindh reported 417 new novel coronavirus cases in the province. Authorities further said seven more people succumbed to the virus over the last 24 hours.



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1:45pm: Ideal time for elected reps to help their people: PM Imran

Addressing his party MNAs, Prime Minister Imran Khan said it was the best time for public representatives to be of service to the people.

"The current situation requires for us to forget all conflicts and work in unison," the PM told assembly members.

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1:30pm: PM to address Tiger Force before it begins operations

A meeting of PTI MNAs, held with Prime Minister Imran Khan in chair, it was decided that the volunteer Tiger Force would begin operations following an exclusive address of the PM.
Top provincial bureaucracy and administration will support the volunteer force in provinces, it was further decided.

The party's MNAs also informed the premier about the measures taken by the in their respective constituencies to contain the spread of coronavirus.

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1:00pm: PM Imran to conduct session of party MNAs 

Prime Minister Imran Khan will address a session of PTI MNAs today. The session will be conducted over a video link and the premier is expected to take his party members into confidence over the current handling of the coronavirus outbreak. He will also consult the MNA on how best to employ the volunteer Tiger Force members.

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12:15pm: District judge in K-P tests positive for coronavirus

A district judge in Khyber-Pakhtunkwa has tested positive for coronavirus. The judge, from Tank, has placed himself in quarantine, said a statement from the Peshawar High Court.

The statement added courts are working at a bare minimum capacity in the province and judicial officers are performing their duty in rotations.

"As per reports received till date no other Judicial Officer or staff of District Judiciary Tank has been found positive for Corona (Covid-19)."

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11:35am: 'Pakistan has achieved sufficiency in PPE production'



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11:00am: PM Imran to address Tiger Force members today

Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the volunteer Tiger Force today. Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar will brief the premier on the deployment and use of Tiger Force members.

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10:30am: Nadra offices open across the country

National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) offices, including the three megacentres in the metropolis, are to be opened across the province from Monday.

The working hours for NADRA offices will be from 10 am to 4 pm, four days a week from Monday to Thursday. The offices will be open from 10 am to 1 pm on Fridays.

According to the standard operating procedures, social distancing must be maintained. Citizens will have to wear face masks, while the staff must wear both face masks and gloves.

Read story here

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9:30am: President to represent Pakistan at virtual summit of NAM today

President, Dr Arif Alvi will represent Pakistan at the virtual Summit of Non-Aligned Movement being held today.

The Special Online Summit of the Heads of State and Government of NAM Member States has been convened at the initiative of President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, in his capacity as the current chair of the movement.

The summit will conclude with a political declaration of the movement "Uniting Against COVID-19" as well as identified measures for enhanced coordination among NAM Member States in their common fight against COVID-19.

line-945-15248325229:00am: National tally crosses 20,000 mark

The National Command and Operation Centre on Monday reported 1,083 new cases taking the national tally to 20,186.

These include 7524 cases in Punjab, 7465 in Sindh, 3129 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 1218 in Balochistan, 364 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 415 in Islamabad Capital Territory and 71 in Azad Kashmir.

After at least 22 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours the Covid-19 death toll has reached 462 across the country.

cases May 4

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8:30am 733 more recover

With over 773 recoveries being made on the previous day the total number of patients recovered now stands at 5,590.

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8:00am Lockdown relaxation leaves Punjab govt anxious

The lockdown relaxation and the subsequent increase in the number of patients in Punjab are dragging the hospital administrations to a point where a shortfall of beds and ventilators could risk the lives of coronavirus patients.

A day earlier, the Covid-19 patient count was nearly 7,500 and now the hospitals are bracing for the worst to come. With little equipment and space, and no chance of a cure in sight, the health authorities are worried about life-saving equipment falling short compared to the growing number of patients.

Read story here

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