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. 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 6.1 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world ÔÇô and over 373,000 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.
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┬á78,516 with 27,850 cases in Punjab,┬á31,086 in Sindh, 10,897 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 4,740 in Balochistan, 779 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 2,893 in Islamabad and┬á271 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The virus has claimed at least┬á1,652 lives while about 27,110 coronavirus patients have recovered.
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.
12:54am:┬áWhole nation pays homage to health workers: PM Imran
Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday the whole nation praised and paid homage to the doctors and other health workers who are performing their duties on the frontlines in the fight against coronavirus pandemic.
Chairing a high-level huddle on meeting the requirements of the healthcare workers, Imran said that all the needs of medical staff would be met by the government on a priority basis. ÔÇ£Doctors and health care staff are our first line of defence against the global epidemic, like coronavirus,ÔÇØ he said.
ÔÇ£The whole nation pays tribute to the doctors, who are fighting to keep the nation safe from this epidemic,ÔÇØ the prime minister said, adding that no stone would be left unturned in meeting the requirements of the doctors and healthcare staff.
Read more here
11:50pm: 226 new Covid-19 cases take Balochistan tally to 4,740
At least 226 new cases of Covid-19 emerged in Balochistan in the last 24 hours, raising the provincial tally to 4,740.
According to health authorities, as much as 1,733 patients have also recovered from the respiratory disease so far.
11:24pm: G-B records one more death, 41 new Covid-19 cases in last 24 hours
At least 41 more people have contracted the novel coronavirus in Gilgit-Baltistan, bringing the regionÔÇÖs tally to 779.
According to the G-B Health Department, the virus has claimed another life in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 12 so far.
8:22pm: Punjab extends lockdown till June 16
The Punjab government has extended the coronavirus-induced lockdown till June 16 in light of the recommendations of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting held on Monday.
In a notification issued on Tuesday, the provincial government said the businesses will be allowed to operate five days a week from Monday to Friday.
However, the business timings have been reduced to 9am to 7pm and the complete lockdown will remain in place on Saturdays and Sundays.
8:12pm: Sindh minister Murtaza Baloch succumbs to coronavirus
Sindh Human Settlements Minister Ghulam Murtaza Baloch on Tuesday succumbed to Covid-19, provincial government spokesperson Murtaza Whab has confirmed.
Baloch was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Karachi after he tested positive for the contagion last month and reportedly had been taken off ventilator after his condition improved, though he remained in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the hospital.
"Haji Ghulam Murtaza Baloch, our colleague in #Sindh Cabinet has passed away today. He was suffering from #COVIDÒâ╝19. He was a genuine political worker & a very polite and humble human being. May Allah SWT bless his soul," Wahab said in a tweet.
Haji Ghulam Murtaza Baloch, our colleague in #Sindh Cabinet has passed away today. He was suffering from #COVIDー19. He was a genuine political worker & a very polite and humble human being. May Allah SWT bless his soul.— SenatorMurtaza Wahab (@murtazawahab1) June 2, 2020
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7:48pm: K-P reports eight deaths, 412 new coronavirus cases
At least 412 new Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of infections to 10,897.
According to health authorities, 112 patients have also recovered in the province.
The virus has also claimed eight lives in the province.
412 new cases confirmed (4 from Torkham returnees) taking total to 10,897. 8 more lives were lost (3 Peshawar, 1 each in Mardan, Swat, Kohat, Abbottabad, Dir Lower) taking total to 482. 112 new patients recovered taking the tally to 3,085. 66,112 tests conducted in total. pic.twitter.com/h1MtKizmho— Health Department KP (@HealthKPGovt) June 2, 2020
4:25pm: Balochistan extends 'smart lockdown'
State radio has reported that the provincial government of Balochistan has extended the ÔÇ£smart lockdownÔÇØ in the province till June 16.
According to a notification, all shops and markets will remain open six days a week from 9am to 7pm while there will be a complete lockdown on Fridays.
3:30pm: Sindh transport minister addresses the media
Live: Sindh Minister for Transport talking to media in #Karachi. #COVID19Pandemic https://t.co/o0XWVR0yOC
ÔÇö Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) June 2, 2020
2:45pm: Sindh reports 1,439 new cases
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah reported 1,439 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking the provincial tally to┬á31,086.
The chief minister confirmed 23 new deaths and 953 recoveries in Sindh. Sindh's death toll stands at 526, while at least 15,538 patients have recovered.
Out of the 1,439 new cases, 1,035 emerged in Karachi.
Read more here
1:55pm: FM Qureshi, Asad Umar review steps taken to contain┬ávirus
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar reviewed steps taken to contain the virus.
The foreign minister said the pandemic has affected the world but developing countries such as Pakistan are faced with serious challenges.
He said steps are being taken to enhance the healthcare system in the country and urged people to follow precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus.
The planning minister lauded the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the repatriation of stranded Pakistanis worldwide.1:30pm: Ride-hailing services allowed to resume in Karachi
Sindh┬áTransport Minister┬áAwais Qadir Shah said ride-hailing services in Karachi┬áare allowed to resume.
The provincial transport minister said only two passengers will be allowed to sit in the vehicle at a time, adding that in the case of an emergency, one more person may be allowed to sit.
The minister┬ámaintained that┬áonline bus services will be allowed seat-to-seat service, adding that airconditioning will not be allowed.
He said transporters that will switch on the air-conditioner will be allowed to seat one passenger per seat.
1:05pm: Lahore SSP Operations Faisal Shehzad tests positive for Covid-19
Lahore Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Operations Faisal Shehzad has tested positive for Covid-19.
According to sources, he received his test results at 10pm on Monday.
After experiencing symptoms, Faisal Shehzad had self-isolated two days ago.
12:40pm: China vows to┬áassist Pakistan amid outbreak
Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh thanked the Chinese government for providing medical equipment to Pakistan to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
During a meeting with Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing, the finance adviser appreciated China's efforts to help Pakistan.
Yao Jing┬áextended China's support to Pakistan to further strengthen ties and fight the deadly disease.
12:10pm: DIG operations Lahore says police will ensure complete lockdown on Saturday, Sunday
DIG Operations┬áWing Lahore Rai Babar Saeed said police will implement government directives and issue complete lockdown on Saturday and Sunday and allow businesses to work five days a week following standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the government.
He said effective measures will be taken to implement a complete lockdown on Saturday and Sunday, adding that the police will try to keep citizens confined to their homes during the lockdown.
From Monday to Friday, citizens should ensure precautionary measures. He said businesses may operate till 5pm and shops till 7pm.
DIG Operations Rai Babar maintained that establishing law and order, controlling crime and protecting citizens from the pandemic is a top priority.
12:00pm: Man accused of assaulting K-P doctor arrested
Police have arrested a man accused of┬áassaulting an ENT doctor┬áat Hayatabad Medical Complex incharge of taking Covid-19 swabs in Khyber-Pakthunkhwa.
The accused had brought his uncle to the hospital for treatment on Monday and the doctor on duty had asked the patient to get a coronavirus test.
After hearing about the test, the accused assaulted Dr Sanaullah in the outpatient department (OPD).
The accused will appear before the court today.
10:15am: Balochistan govt to launch programme to combat Covid-19
The Balochistan government has planned to launch a three-year development programme to combat Covid-19.
A meeting chaired by Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal reviewed the proposed programme that costs Rs13.33 billion.
The programme will be implemented in collaboration with the federal government and donor agencies.
10:05am: 'Govt's top priority to repatriate stranded Pakistanis in Gulf countries'
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan said a special Boeing-777 aircraft will depart for Saudi Arabia today to bring the bodies of overseas Pakistanis who lost their lives due to Covid-19.
He said it is the government's top priority to repatriate stranded Pakistanis in Gulf countries.
9:55am: Cabinet to review economic situation in country amid Covid-19
A meeting of the federal cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan will be held today to review the economic and political situation in the country.
The meeting will be briefed on Covid-19 developments in the country.
9:25am: PML-N spokesperson condemns lack of ventilators, safety equipment at hospitals in Islamabad
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb strongly condemned the lack of ventilators and safety equipment for doctors at hospitals in Islamabad.
10 non-functional ventilators were distributed to Pakistan Institute for Medical Sciences (PIMS) Hospital on Monday. However, the required cardiac monitors and infusion pumps were not available with the ventilators.
The spokesperson said the hospitals have claimed that they have 90 ventilators available, further questioning where those 90 ventilators are.
She maintained that it is wrong to only provide doctors working in isolation wards with personal protective equipment (PPEs), adding that doctors and medical staff working in other departments should also be┬ágiven protective gear.
8:50am: Nationwide tally stands at 76,398
The National Command and Operation Centre reported 1,921 new cases in the country, taking Pakistan's Covid-19 tally to 76,398.
The total number of deaths in the country stands at 1,621, while at least 27,110 patients have recovered and 824 are in critical condition.
A total of 577,974 tests have been carried out since the virus first emerged in the country.
8:20am: K-P health minister vows to ensure safety of healthcare workers
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra shared a picture of an ENT doctor at Hayatabad Medical Complex incharge of taking Covid-19 swabs, beaten by the public.
The minister said the person responsible┬áfor the attack has been arrested, adding that the government will do whatever they can to ensure the safety of healthcare workers.
Jhagra said the healthcare system is struggling but it is managing to cope amid the outbreak.
1. This is not a tweet to show how swiftly govt has taken action. This picture indeed breaks my heart. We arrested the culprit, & will do whatever we can to ensure that healthcare workers are secure. I have seen how hard and how professionally our sampling staff do their job.┬ápic.twitter.com/qhsZrOX423
ÔÇö Taimur Khan Jhagra (@Jhagra)┬áJune 2, 2020
2. The hysteria around Corona virus brings out the worst in some of us. The health system is under stress, but it is coping and doing a commendable job in difficult circumstances.
If required, we will rapidly bring in legislation to protect against such vandalism.┬ápic.twitter.com/2iJrUpd3bG
ÔÇö Taimur Khan Jhagra (@Jhagra)┬áJune 2, 2020
8:00am: Dr Shahbaz Gill warns majority of people may contract Covid-19 in June
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill urged the opposition leaders to take a unified stance to fight against the pandemic.
He maintained that the government and opposition should work together to contain the virus.
The special assistant said Prime Minister Imran Khan is reviewing the situation regularly.
He warned that the majority of people in Pakistan could be affected by the virus in June.
7:40am: 'All stakeholders are on the same page to fight Covid-19'
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Coordination Nadeem Afzal Chan said all stakeholders are on the same page to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
He said all decisions have been taken with consensus in the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) meetings.
The special assistant said the federal government has announced a relief package under the Ehsas Emergency Cash programme to help those affected by the virus.