LIVE: Govt makes face masks compulsory in public as Covid-19 tally soars to 68,307

Virus has claimed at least 1,443 lives while around 24,131 patients have recovered

​ Our Correspondents May 30, 2020
A man wears a protective mask as he gets sanitized before entering a shopping mall in Karachi. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

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 5.9 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world – and over 365,000 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 68,307 with 24,104 cases in Punjab, 27,360 in Sindh, 9,540 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 4,193 in Balochistan, 678 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 2,192 in Islamabad and 240 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The virus has claimed at least 1,443 lives while about 24,131 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.


11:12pm: Local transmission cases  make up 93% of total infections in Sindh

Local transmission cases are accounted for over 93 per cent of total Covid-19 infections in Sindh, according to the figures issued by the health department on Saturday.

Out of total 27,360 positive cases, 13,272 coronavirus patients have recovered so far, said the report.

Summary of Covid-19 Sindh patients


10:36: 21 hospital staff test positive for Covid-19 in Sehwan

At least 21 employees, including four doctors, paramedics, a security guard and a cook, at the Syed Abdullah Shah Institute of Medical Sciences in Sehwan were found to be infected by the coronavirus on Saturday.

Following the diagnosis, the employees have been quarantined. The hospital is located at a distance of approximately 15 kilometres from Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah’s native village.

Details here


10:30pm: 106 more contract Covid-19 to raise Balochistan tally to 4,193

The Balochistan health department, in its daily situational report, has confirmed 106 new cases of coronavirus to bring the provincial tally to 4,193.

The virus has claimed 46 lives while 1,471 patients have recovered in the province so far.


10:15pm: Virus tally, deaths soar ever higher in Sindh

Revealing on Saturday that 38 more people had died due to the novel coronavirus in Sindh while 1,247 new cases had been reported in the past 24 hours, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah expressed worry that the pandemic situation was going from bad to worse.

With the 69 deaths reported on Friday and Saturday, the death toll in Sindh has reached 465, while the total number of coronavirus cases has soared to 27,360.

Full story here


9:30pm: 13 fresh Covid-19 cases raise AJK tally to 240

The health officials have confirmed 13 new cases of Covid-19 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), bringing the state’s tally to 240.

New cases were reported among residents of various districts, including nine in Muzaffarabad, three in Bagh and one in Rawalakot, health officials confirmed.

The AJK government has decided to increase the testing capacity to 250 tests per day.


8:25pm: Transporters in Karachi to resume services on Monday

Karachi Transport Ittehad (KTI) has announced that transporters will resume intra-city public transport services on Monday, bringing their vehicles, including minibuses and coaches, back on the roads.

Addressing a press conference of Saturday, KTI president Irshad Bukhari warned of staging a sit-in if they were not allowed to operate, adding that they were willing to be arrested for restarting their services.

Full story here


8:00pm: G-B reports two more deaths, 18 new Covid-19 cases

The Gilgit-Baltistan health department, in its daily situational report, has confirmed two more casualties due to coronavirus to bring the region’s death toll to 11.

It also reported 18 new cases to raise the Covid-19 tally to 678. 490 patients have so far recovered and active cases stand at 177 in the region.


7:30pm: Balochistan to investigate suspected Covid-19 deaths

The Balochistan government has revised its policy with regards to the data of deaths caused by Covid-19 in the province and decided to include the fatalities at homes likely to be caused by the contagious virus in the official data.

The provincial health department has initiated a survey to compile data of deaths at hospitals as well as at homes, officials said.

According to provincial health authorities, around 30 people in the province likely died by coronavirus at homes during the past two weeks.

Read more here


6:45pm: K-P reports eight more deaths, 473 new cases of Covid-19 in 24 hours

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) health department, in its daily situational report, has confirmed eight more deaths in the past 24 hours to bring the provincial death toll to 453.

Four deaths were reported from Peshawar, and one each from Charsadda, Swat, Buner and Abbottabad.

473 new cases – 13 from Torkham and 74 from Int'l flights center – were also reported, taking the total to 9,540.

78 more patients recuperated to take the recoveries tally to 2,809.


4:20pm: Strictly follow social distancing measures, Dr Mirza appeals to masses

In view of growing number of coronavirus cases and deaths due to the disease, the government has appealed to the masses to strictly follow precautionary protocols and social distancing measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Wearing face masks at crowded places has been made mandatory to prevent the spread of coronavirus which has so far infected more than 67,000 and killed over 1,400 people across Pakistan.

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad on Saturday, Prime Minister's Special Assistant on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza said owing to a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, the government was left with no option, except to declare wearing of masks a must at mosques, markets, shopping malls, public transport, and other crowded places.

Read more here


3:30pm: Advisor to Chief Minister KP on Information Ajmal Wazir Khan talks to media


3:15pm: Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid addresses media

line-945-15248325222:30pm: 'Pakistan Railways lost Rs100 million in five days'

Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed said Pakistan Railways incurred losses worth Rs100 million in five days, as only 60 per cent of trains were operational.

The minister said five more trains will be operational, adding that a total of 140-142 trains will run.

line-945-15248325222:20pm: PDMA dispatches relief goods to 49 hospitals in K-P

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has dispatched safety equipment to 49 hospitals in Khyber-Pakthunkhwa.

The goods included N95 masks, surgical face masks, safety suits, gloves and other protective equipment.

line-945-15248325221:50pm: JI member Inayatullah Khan tests positive 

A member of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and the K-P provincial assembly Inayatullah Khan has tested positive for Covid-19.

He urged others to take precautionary measures.

line-945-15248325221:45pm: Sindh reports 1,247 new cases

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah reported 1,247 new cases, taking the provincial tally to 27,307.

In the last 24 hours, 38 people succumbed to the virus, while at least 522 patients recovered. The province's death toll stands at 465.

176,703 tests have been carried out in Sindhline-945-15248325221:10pm: Federal Minister for Railways Shiekh Rasheed addresses a press conference

line-945-15248325221:05pm: NCOC meeting underway to discuss short/long term anti-Covid strategy 

A meeting of the National Coordination and Operation Centre (NCOC) chaired by Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar is underway.

The meeting will discuss short term and long term anti-Covid strategy.

line-945-152483252212:35pm: Railways minister discusses resuming more train services from Monday

Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed chaired a meeting in Lahore today.

The minister discussed resuming more train services from Monday.

line-945-152483252212:10pm: Sindh Assembly members to be tested

The Sindh Health Department has decided to make special arrangements for testing members of the Sindh Assembly.

Members of the assembly will undergo testing on June 1. The corona response team will be sent to their homes.

Testing for Sindh Assembly Secretariat employees will also be held on the same day.

The Sindh Assembly is scheduled to meet on June 3.

line-945-152483252212:00pm: Punjab tally stands at 24,104

Punjab health authorities reported 1,140 cases, taking the province's tally to 24,104.

The province reported 29 new deaths, raising the provincial death toll to 429.

228,541 tests have been carried out in Punjab since the first case was reported in the country.

line-945-152483252211:50am: MPA Rana Arif Iqbal tests positive

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MPA Rana Arif Iqbal tested positive for Covid-19 and has self-quarantined at home.

His wife and four children also contracted the virus.

line-945-152483252211:30am: FM Qureshi telephones Punjab energy minister to inquire about his health

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi telephoned Punjab Minister for Energy Dr Akhtar Malik to inquire about his health after he tested positive for Covid-19.

Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari, Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid and Punjab Industries and Trade Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal also called to speak to the minister.

Dr Akhtar Malik appreciated the concern and said he is feeling much better.

line-945-152483252211:00am: Shehryar Afridi tests positive for Covid-19

Minister of State for Narcotics Control Shehryar Afridi has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The minister took to Twitter and said he has isolated himself at home as per orders of medical staff.


10:45am: Special PIA plane departs from Jeddah to Islamabad

A special Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight carrying 255 passengers departed from Jeddah for Islamabad today.

Consul General Khalid Majid and Deputy Consul General Shaiq Ahmed Bhutto were at Jeddah International Airport to see off the passengers.

This is the seventh special flight from Jeddah to Islamabad.

At least 1,450 stranded Pakistani nationals have been repatriated from Jeddah through these special flights.


line-945-152483252210:10am: Shehbaz Sharif blames govt's ignorance for rapid increase in cases

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif has expressed his condolences over the death of 78 persons on Friday due to the pandemic.

The opposition leader blamed the government's ignorance for the rapid increase in cases.

He said a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) should immediately convene and the federation and provinces should review the situation and discuss necessary steps to contain the disease.

line-945-15248325229:40am: UK provides assistance to Pakistan in its fight against Covid-19

The United Kingdom (UK) is providing more assistance to Pakistan to fight the coronavirus, besides the £4.3 million package provided earlier.

The British High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Christian Turner said the package will support emergency response systems and provide assistance to food security, sanitation and hygiene, mental health and psychological issues.

The British Minister of State for South Asia and Commonwealth Tariq Ahmed said supporting the most vulnerable segments of society will save lives.

line-945-15248325229:10am: 'Effective measures taken to contain spread of Covid-19'

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal said a committee will be established to check facilities being provided to Covid-19 patients in public sector hospitals of the provinces.

He said effective measures have already been taken to contain the virus.

The chairman urged people to follow SOPs, maintain social distancing, stay at home, wear face masks and gloves and avoid shaking hands.

line-945-15248325228:40am: Pakistan's tally stands at 66,457

The National Command and Operation Centre said Pakistan's Covid-19 tally stands at 66,457.

The centre reported 1,395 deaths, while at least 24,131 patients have recovered since the virus first emerged in Pakistan. 707 patients are in critical condition.

A total of 532,037 tests have been carried out.

line-945-15248325228:00am: International flight operations resume 

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said international flight operations have resumed.

In a statement, the Aviation Division Spokesperson Abdul Sattar Khokhar mentioned that both national and foreign airlines will be allowed to operate from all international airports of Pakistan except Gwadar and Turbat.

He said standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the government must be strictly adhered to, including disinfection of planes.

Read more here.

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