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 6.8 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world – and over 397,000 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 113,702 with 40,819 cases in Punjab, 41,303 in Sindh, 14,527 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 7,031 in Balochistan, 974 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 5,785 in Islamabad and 444 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The virus has claimed at least 2,216 lives while around 35,070 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.
1:09am: Door-to-door virus testing collapses in Karachi South district
Given the rapidly rising number of Covid-19 cases, the provincial government’s attempt to conduct door-to-door tests for the virus in the Karachi’s South district has almost collapsed as officials are now refusing to entertain new suspected patients, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Sources privy to the matter said around 25 health department staff members deputed in the South district to deal with the coronavirus situation have been tested positive, therefore, door-to-door testing has been temporarily halted.
"My mother was showing symptoms of the virus, so we called the government’s coronavirus helpline numbers to avail the home-testing facility. However, we were told that the service has been suspended. They then asked us to visit Jinnah hospital,” a resident of Saddar town said.
Read more here
11:28pm: 22 new cases take G-B Covid-19 tally to 974
At least 22 new cases were reported in Gilgit-Baltistan in the last 24 hours, taking the region’s tally to 974.
Hunza has confirmed 15 new Covid-19 cases while Gilgit three, Ghizer three and Astore one case.
As much as 19 patients have recovered – Gilgit 18 and Skardu one.
11:07pm: 32 more people contract coronavirus in AJK
The health authorities in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) have reported 32 additional cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing the regional tally to 444.
The virus has claimed nine lives while 217 patients have recovered from the contagious disease.
The AJK government is taking all possible initiatives to stem the spread of the contagious disease.
10:00pm: WHO recommends intermittent lockdown in Punjab
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended to the Punjab government to implement a 2-week strict lockdown, intermittently, to stem the exponential spike in novel coronavirus cases in the province.
In a letter to the Punjab health minister, the UN health agency said that the virus had spread all over the country, and a large number of cases had been recorded in big cities. The cases had increased sharply after the easing of lockdown. It ranks Pakistan was among top-10 most affected countries.
The letter appreciated the Pakistan’s efforts in fighting Covid-19, but warned that recent statistics suggest its current strategy was not paying off. It recommended the government adopt a 2-week-on, 2-week-off lockdown, as it offerred the most chance of continuing economic activities while ensuring public health.
Read more here
9:00pm: Balochistan reports four Covid-19 deaths, 243 new cases
At least 243 people have infected with the novel coronavirus in Balochistan, bringing the provincial tally to 7,031.
Four more patients have succumbed to the contagious disease, taking the fatalities to 62 so far.
As much as 2,462 patients have removed from the virus since the outbreak of the virus in the province.
7:42pm: Coronavirus claims 23 lives, infects 521 more people in K-P
At least 521 more coronavirus cases emerged in Khyber-Pakhtunkhaw (K-P), taking the provincial tally to 14,527.
The contagious disease has claimed 23 more lives, bringing the provincial death toll to 610 so far.
According to health authorities, 52 more patients have recovered from the virus.
521 new cases confirmed taking the total to 14,527. 23 more lives were lost (12 Peshawar, 3 Abbottabad, 3 Dir Lower, 2 Swat, 1 Mardan, 1 Malakand, 1 D I Khan) taking total to 610. 52 patients have recovered taking the tally to 3,631. 84,407 total tests conducted. pic.twitter.com/mFju6Mcb3j— Health Department KP (@HealthKPGovt) June 9, 2020
7:18pm: ‘Coronavirus transmission from asymptomatic patients rare’
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that transmission of the novel coronavirus from asymptomatic patients is rare.
The head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, said during a press briefing: “From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual”.
She added that governments should focus on tracing and isolating people who are infected with Covid-19 and anyone who have been on contact with them.
“We have a number of reports from countries that are doing very detailed contact tracing,” she said. “They’re following asymptomatic cases. They’re following contacts. And they’re not finding secondary transmission onward. It’s very rare.”
Read more here
5:42pm: 'Help the government save its life and the lives of others'
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday announced 1,748 fresh Covid-19 cases and 17 deaths in the province in the last 24 hours.
As per the CM's statement, “6,995 tests were conducted in last 24 hours. So far 246,517 tests have been conducted in total in which results of 41,303 came as positive. The provincial death toll has risen to 696”.
The chief minister added that 466 patients were in a critical condition, whereas 71 patients were currently on ventilators.
“As of now 20,711 patients are under treatment,” he said adding, that 19,201 were being treated in their homes, whereas 41 were in isolation centres. Another 1,461 patients were said to be undergoing treatment in different hospitals of the province.
Read more here
4:50pm: 'Helpline for voluntary plasma donation in the works'
National Disaster Management Authority Chairman Lieutenant General Muhammad Afzal met with the head of the National Institute of Blood Diseases Dr Tahir Shamsi on Tuesday.
As per a spokesperson of the NDMA, the two discussed broadening medical facilities through the plasma donation therapy.
The NDMA chairman stated that the authority would help by providing all required equipment needed for the plasma therapy. He also said that a helpline for voluntary plasma donations was also in the works.
4:10pm: Emirates resumes scheduled services from Pakistan
Emirates has resumed its scheduled services from Pakistan, operating flights from Karachi and Lahore to Dubai.
The first scheduled flight from Islamabad will take off on Thursday. The resumption comes after over two months of travel restrictions imposed globally due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Emirates is operating 14 weekly flights to Dubai, including seven from Karachi, five from Lahore and two from Islamabad using its modern Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
“We are extremely pleased to resume services successfully from Pakistan, and thank the authorities for the arrangements and their assistance. Emirates has implemented a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the traveller’s journey to ensure the health and safety of customers and employees at all touchpoints. Our customers travelling with us will find these measures reassuring and comforting,” Emirates Vice President Pakistan Mohammad Sarhan said.
4:05pm: NIH teams conduct the “Sero-epidemiological Survey for COVID-19”
NIH teams are facilitating the “Sero-epidemiological Survey for COVID-19” at Islamabad. pic.twitter.com/PhyUdjcUU3— NIH Pakistan (@NIH_Pakistan) June 9, 2020
3:57pm: 734 prisoners across Pakistan contract virus
According to the Justice Project Pakistan, 734 prisoners across Pakistan have contracted the coronavirus.
35 prisoners infected in Badin prison, 1 infected in Peshawar Central Jail.
The organization provides a complete breakdown of cases in prisons across Pakistan.
3:45pm: Federal Cabinet reviews coronavirus situation
A meeting of federal Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan is underway in Islamabad.
The cabinet will deliberate over the political and economic situation of the country. Budgetary proposals for the next fiscal year will also come under discussion.
The meeting will also review the steps taken to stifle the spread of coronavirus.
3:30pm: Steps being taken for safe repatriation of overseas Pakistanis: Ajmal Wazir
Advisor to Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Information Ajmal Wazir says the government is taking serious steps for safe repatriation of overseas Pakistanis.
Briefing the media in Peshawar on Tuesday, he said 40 dead bodies have so far been reached from Gulf States and handed over to the bereaved families.
He said government has eased the lockdown in order to provide relief to the masses.
However, he once again appealed to the traders and people to follow SOPs to contain the spread of coronavirus.
3:15pm: Sindh reports 1,748 new cases
Adviser to Sindh chief minister Murtaza Wahab reported 1,748 new cases in the province, raising the provincial tally to 41,303.
The Sindh government's spokesperson took to microblogging website Twitter and said 17 persons succumbed to the virus and 759 patients recovered from the virus in the last 24 hours.
Following information is relevant to assess situation of #COVIDー19 in Sindh as of 9th June 2020:
Total Tests 246,517 (today 6995)
Positive Cases 41303 (today 1748)
Recovered Cases 19,896
Deaths 696 (TODAY 17)
In the last 24 hours, 759 people have recovered from corona in Sindh
— SenatorMurtaza Wahab (@murtazawahab1) June 9, 2020
2:45pm: Adopting precautionary measures is the only solution to prevent Covid-19, says Dr Yasmin Rashid
Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said the provincial government is taking strict action against those violating SOPs issued by the government to contain the virus.
She said the number of cases have increased because people are violating government orders.
The health minister said adopting precautionary measures is the only solution to prevent the virus.
2:40pm: NCOC meeting discusses special package for medical staff
A meeting of the NCOC discussed a special package for medical staff fighting Covid-19.
The meeting, chaired by Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, discussed 102 testing laboratories operating across the country and considered a short-term action plan in June and July to meet additional requirements.
It also discussed assistance for treatment at home, after 5,823 persons moved applications for remote medical consultation. 188 doctors offered medical advice to 1,374 persons.
Read story here
2:30pm: FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi addresses media
2:20pm: 26 employees of K-P's govt secretariat have contracted Covid-19
26 employees of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa's government secretariat have tested positive for Covid-19.
Samples were taken from 104 employees and 73 tested negative for the deadly disease. Affected employees have quarantined at home.
The secretariat is currently implementing sanitation gates, masks and other necessary measures.2:10pm: 'Govt has made Covid-19 an economic issue, not a health issue'
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal said every country in the world has made Covid-19 a public health issue, while the federal government has made it an economic issue.
The PML-N leader said Prime Minister Imran Khan has completely ignored that it is a public health issue.
دنیا میں ہر ملک نے کورونا کو پبلک ہیلتھ کا ایشو سمجھ کر اس سے نپٹنے کی کوشش کی جبکہ ہماری “افلاطون” قیادت نے اسے معیشت کا مسئلہ بنا کر پبلک ہیلتھ زاویہ کو مکمل نظرانداز کیا- نتیجہ یہ نکلا کہ مرض اور معیشت دونوں ہاتھ سے نکل گئیں- اب ہم کورونا کے رحم وکرم پہ ہیں-
— Ahsan Iqbal (@betterpakistan) June 9, 2020
2:00pm: Covid-19 testing of K-P assembly members to begin on June 12
For the budget session of the Khyber-Pakthunkhwa (K-P) Assembly starting from June 19, Covid-19 testing will begin on June 12.
Members of the assembly will be tested till June 15.
Tests of all ministers, advisers and special assistants will also be carried out, as per instructions issued to the provincial Health Department.
1:40pm: Punjab health minister addresses the media
Live: Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid talking to media in #Lahore. #COVID__19 #Covid_19 #CoronavirusPandemic #CoronaFreePakistan #PakistanFightsCorona @Dr_YasminRashid https://t.co/Ugza1jC0gv
— Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) June 9, 2020
1:30pm: Covid-19 recovered patients in Karachi can donate plasma to NIBD
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza said Covid-19 recovered patients from Karachi can donate plasma by contacting the National Institute of Blood Disease and Bone Marrow.
Clinical Trails are being undertaken by National Institute of Blood Disease & Bone Marrow, Karachi. Recovered patients from Karachi can donate plasma by contacting NIBD https://t.co/bpucRSW9fr
— Zafar Mirza (@zfrmrza) June 9, 2020
1:20pm: 168 cases registered for violating SOPs in Lahore
In the past four days, 168 cases have been registered for violating standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the government.
Divisional officers reviewed 293 markets and 6,76o shops in Lahore and sealed over 1,156 shops for violating government orders.
Warnings were issued to 3,884 vendors for violating SOPs and challan tickets were issued to 5,648 drivers for driving without a mask.
Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore Zulfiqar Hameed said government guidelines are being strictly implemented, adding that those violating orders will be dealt with immediately.
1:05pm: NCOC discusses short-term action plan for Covid-19, package for healthcare workers
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) meeting chaired by Federal Minister for Planning and Development discussed the short term action plan to combat Covid-19, incentive package for healthcare workers, update on laboratory testing and update on employment of volunteer healthcare workers for capacity building of hospitals.
Federal Minister @Asad_Umar headed the NCOC meeting. Following agenda points were discussed
1. Epi Curve Chart 2. Short term action plan 3. Incentive Package for Health Care Workers 4. Update on Lab Testing #Covid_19
— Prime Minister's Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) June 9, 2020
12:30pm: US commits $21m to Pakistan to fight Covid-19
The United States has committed a total of $21 million so far in the fight against Covid-19 in Pakistan.
Thanks for taking our poll! The correct answer was C: The United States has committed a total of 21 million dollars so far in the fight against coronavirus in Pakistan. Congrats to those of you who knew the right answer!#COVID #COVID19 #COVID2019 #USPAK #USinPAK https://t.co/GzAFzZ0ea0
— U.S. Embassy Islamabad (@usembislamabad) June 9, 2020
12:15pm: Patients who are resting well, isolating themselves are recovering in high numbers, says Murtaza Wahab
Adviser to Sindh chief minister Murtaza Wahab said 750 patients have recovered from the virus in the last 24 hours.
People who are resting well and isolating themselves are recovering in high numbers, he added.
He urged the public to wear face masks and avoid leaving the house unnecessarily, adding that senior citizens and children should remain home at all times.
In #Sindh 750 people have recovered from #COVID19 in the last 24 hours. People who are isolating themselves, resting well are recovering in high numbers. Plz wear masks & dont leave ur houses unnecessarily. Senior citizens and children should remain home at all times
— SenatorMurtaza Wahab (@murtazawahab1) June 9, 2020
11:50am: Punjab reports 1,916 new cases
Punjab health authorities reported 1,916 new cases, taking the provincial tally to 40,819.
At least 58 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours, raising the death toll to 773 in the province.
11:35am: Shehbaz Sharif prays for Maryam Aurangzeb's speedy recovery
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif prayed for the speedy recovery of party spokesperson Maryam Aurangzeb and her mother.
Learned about the Covid-19 infection of PMLN's spokesperson Maryam Aurangzeb & her mother. Sending my prayers and best wishes their way for a speedy recovery.
— Shehbaz Sharif (Stay at home to stay safe) (@CMShehbaz) June 9, 2020
11:05am: Punjab minister condoles death of police, doctors affected by Covid-19
Punjab Minister for Agriculture Nauman Ahmed Langrial expressed condolences to the police, doctors and families of the employees of the Health Department that have been affected by Covid-19.
He said police personnel and employees of the Health Department are fighting on the frontline against the contagion.
The minister said Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar is worried about the increasing number of cases.
He urged the masses to follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the government.
11:00am: Doctors in K-P demand govt take steps to combat Covid-19
Doctors Association of Khyber-Pakthunkhwa (K-P) has demanded the provincial government take steps to combat the virus in the province.
They said protective equipment and safety kits should be provided to doctors working in corona wars in hospitals.
The doctors asked the government to allot separate hospitals in each district of the province for Covid-19 patients.
10:50am: 'Improving health sector in Balochistan to be given top priority'
Balochistan Chief Minister Jamal Kamal said improving the health sector will be given top priority in the upcoming budget.
During a high-level meeting to review Covid-19 in the province, the chief minister said the health system will be strengthened amid the pandemic.
Provincial Health Secretary Dostain Jamaldini apprised the meeting that the treatment of Covid-19 patients through plasma therapy has started at the Regional Blood Centre (RBC) in Quetta.
10:35am: Federal cabinet to meet today to discuss Covid-19
The federal cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan will meet today to discuss the overall political and economic situation of the country.
The meeting will also review steps to contain Covid-19.
10:20am: PIA flight from Baghdad departs for Islamabad
A special Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight carrying 235 passengers has departed from Baghdad for Islamabad.
Ambassador to Iraq Sajid Bilal thanked the Iraqi government for their support in repatriating the stranded Pakistani nationals.
10:00am: Islamabad Bar Association President Zafar Khokar contracts virus
Islamabad Bar Association President Zafar Khokar has tested positive for Covid-19.
He confirmed the news and urged others to be careful.
9:25am: 'Clinical trial on plasma therapy yielding promising results'
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services said the government allowed a clinical trial on plasma therapy which is yielding positive results, according to investigators.
He said Covid-19 recovered patients can donate plasma at the following centres: Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Rawalpindi Medical University (RMU), Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC), Khwaja Safdar Medical College Hospital (KSMCH), University of Health Sciences (UHS), Pakistan Kidney Liver Institute (PKLI), Regional Blood Centre (RBC) and People's University of Medical and Health Sciences (PUMHS).
<317> Govt allowed sometime ago a clinical trial on plasma therapy which is yielding encouraging results according to the investigators. COVID-19 recovered patients can donate plasma at the following centers: pic.twitter.com/zGmFRJInst
— Zafar Mirza (@zfrmrza) June 9, 2020
9:05am: Special package for healthcare workers to be announced
The National Command and Operation Centre said 24,620 tests were carried out in the last 24 hours.
The centre said the total number of oxygenated beds in the country stands at 5,137 and 1,000 more will be provided to the provinces within the next 20 days.
1,400 ventilators have been allotted for Covid-19 patients and at least 332 patients are currently using them.
It said a special package for healthcare workers will be announced.
8:30am: NA speaker urges members to follow SOPs
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser urged all members of the assembly to adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the government to contain the virus.
The speaker said 13 members of the House and many staff members had tested positive for the contagion.
The meeting agreed that the assembly would sit for up to three hours with only 25% of total members present during each session.
8:00am: Nationwide tally stands at 108,317
4,646 new cases have surfaced in Pakistan over the last 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 108,317.
In the last 24 hours, the country reported 105 more deaths. Pakistan's death toll stands at 2,172, while at least 35,018 patients have recovered from the deadly disease.
7:40am: PM Imran says national economy is in a crisis due to virus
Prime Minister Imran Khan said the national economy is in a crisis due to Covid-19 and that government institutions are losing billions of rupees on a monthly basis.
In a meeting, chaired by the prime minister, he emphasised the need to restructure Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to save the national flag carrier from losing billions of rupees.
He called for reducing expenses and increase financial resources.