ISLAMABAD / KARACHI / PESHAWAR / LAHORE / QUETTA / 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 5.1 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world – and over 335,000 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.
Nearly one and a half months after imposing the lockdown across the country, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced to ease the lockdown in phases.
The nationwide tally of Covid-19 patients stands at 53,651 with 18,730 cases in Punjab, 21,645 in Sindh, 7,685 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 3,306 in Balochistan, 607 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 1,457 in Islamabad and 221 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The virus has claimed at least 1,123 lives while at least 16,851 coronavirus patients have recovered.
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.
9:40pm: Balochistan reports 108 more cases to raise Covid-19 tally to 3,306
The Balochistan Health Department, in its daily situational report, has confirmed 108 more cases of coronavirus to bring the provincial tally to 3,306.
860 patients have recovered with 39 deaths in the province so far.
9:15pm: 762 new Covid-19 cases, 14 more deaths in Sindh
As many as 762 new coronavirus cases have been detected after 4,336 tests were conducted, while 14 more patients have died, according to a statement issued by Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah on Saturday.
Shah revealed that with the addition of the 4,336 tests the total number of tests conducted by the Sindh government has reached 153,902, and the resultant positive cases are 21,645, which constitutes 14 per cent of the total tests.
The CM also stated that with the 14 new deaths, the provincial death toll had risen to 354 which accounts for 1.6 per cent of the total patients.
8:30pm: 26 fresh Covid-19 cases raise AJK tally to 221
With 26 more persons testing positive for Covid-19, the total number of patients in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) has risen to 221.
97 patients have recovered while 124 are being treated in different hospitals of the state, health sources told The Express Tribune on Saturday.
7:00pm: Punjab reports 14 deaths, 275 new cases of Covid-19 in last 24 hours
The Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department of Punjab has confirmed 14 more casualties due to coronavirus in the past 24 hours to bring the provincial death toll to 324.
It also reported 275 new cases to raise the province’s tally of Covid-19 patients to 18,730.
5:35pm: K-P reports eight more deaths, 294 fresh cases of Covid-19 in last 24 hours
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Health Department, in its daily situational report, has confirmed eight more casualties due to coronavirus in the past 24 hours to bring the provincial death toll to 389.
Two deaths were reported from Peshawar, and one each in Swabi, Swat, Buner, Abbottabad, Haripur and Kohat.
294 new cases – 64 from Torkham and 34 from Int'l flights center – were also reported, taking the total to 7,685.
99 more patients recuperated, taking the total number of recoveries to 2,396 in the province.
294 new cases confirmed (64 from Torkham, 34 from Int'l flights center) taking total to 7,685. 8 more lives were lost (2 Peshawar, 1 each in Swabi, Swat, Buner, Abbottabad, Haripur and Kohat) taking total to 389. 99 new patients recovered taking the tally to 2,396. pic.twitter.com/KnQ5JCQ0y6— Health Department KP (@HealthKPGovt) May 23, 2020
4:00pm: Chinese province to donate more than $50,000 to Pakistan
3:30pm: Cases in Sindh cross 21,000
Coronavirus cases in Sindh crossed 21,000 after 762 new cases emerged in the province over the last 24 hours.
* کورونا کے آج 762 نئے کیسز آئے ہیں، وزیراعلیٰ سندھ— CMHouseSindh (@SindhCMHouse) May 23, 2020
* گذشتہ 24 گھنٹوں میں 14 مریض انتقال کرگئے، مراد علی شاہ
* 155 مریضوں کی حالت تشویشناک ہے، وزیراعلیٰ سندھ
2:45pm: Eid to be celebrated with simplicity: G-B CM
Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman said Eid-ul-Fitr will be celebrated with simplicity in the region due to coronavirus pandemic.
He directed the provincial home department to ensure the implementation of SOPs during Eid to contain the spread of Covid-19.2:15pm: Sindh reports 762 new Covid-19 cases
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said 762 cases of Covid-19 have emerged in the province whereas 14 more patients passed away in the last 24 hours.
He added that 155 patients are in critical condition while 198 have recovered.
2:10pm: Punjab CM, Health Minister discuss coronavirus situation
Punjab Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid met Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar in Lahore.
Measures for combating coronavirus were discussed during the meeting.
Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister said that the cooperation of people is important for stopping the spread of coronavirus.
“After the restoration of transport and train operations, economic activities are being restored in the province but we have to adopt precautionary measures,” he added.
CM Buzdar appealed to the people for maintaining social distance on forthcoming Eidul-Fitr.
1:55pm: NDMA sends sixth consignment of PPEs to all provinces
NDMA completes delivery of the sixth consignment of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to all provinces.
According to NDMA spokesperson 52,500 N-95 masks were sent to Sindh, 5,250 to Azad Kashmir and 8,750 masks were sent to Gilgit-Baltistan.
63,000 protective suits were sent to Sindh, 6,300 to Azad Kashmir and 10,500 to G-B, the spokesperson added.
Surgical gloves, shoe covers and safety goggles were also sent to all the provincial units.
The seventh consignment of safety equipment will be sent to hospitals of all provinces after Eid.
1:40pm: 112 stranded Pakistanis in Afghanistan repatriated via Torkham border
One-hundred and twelve stranded Pakistani nationals in Afghanistan were repatriated via Torkham border.
All these citizens would be sent to quarantine centres in Landi Kotal where they will be tested for Covid-19.
Authorities said that at least 400 more Pakistanis would also return to the country by end of the day.
The Eid of 2020 is not the Eid this generation has ever seen. The Corona Pandemic has changed everything about us: we can still celebrate but in a different way. pic.twitter.com/4ZImPKQuP9— Health Department Punjab (@HealthPunjabGov) May 22, 2020
11:45am: Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar addresses ceremony in Lahore
11:20am: Applications for Ehsaas Labour Portal to be closed by May 25: Dr Sania Nishtar
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Dr Sania Nishtar said that applications for Ehsaas Labour Portal would be closed by May 25 (Monday).
The portal would receive applications till 11:30pm
The funds for this purpose will be provided from PM's Covid Relief Fund.
احساس لیبر پورٹل (ضروری اعلان) pic.twitter.com/541xFVdhaH— Sania Nishtar (@SaniaNishtar) May 23, 2020
10:45am: Sindh govt issues new directives regarding Eid prayers
The Sindh government has announced new directives regarding Eid prayers.
The provincial Home Department has sent Interior Ministry's directives to commissioners and deputy commissioners of Sindh and ordered the implementation of 20-point standard operating procedures (SOPs).
9:00am: Nationwide tally stands at 52,461
The National Command and Operation Centre reported 390 new cases, taking the nationwide tally to 52,461.
In the last 24 hours, 34 persons succumbed to the virus. The country's death toll stands at 1,101. 412 patients are in critical condition.
At least 460,692 tests have been carried out since the start of the pandemic.