June 11: Sindh sets new record for Covid-19 testing as national tally hits 117,260

More than 5,000 new cases reported during the last 24 hours while countrywide death toll reaches 2,317

​ Our Correspondents June 10, 2020
A porter, also known as a coolie, wears a protective mask as he waits for passengers to offer his service at a railway station, as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Karachi, Pakistan June 9, 2020. REUTERS

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 7.2 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world – and over 410,000 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 117,260 with 43,460 cases in Punjab, 43,790 in Sindh, 15,206 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 7,335 in Balochistan, 1,018 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 5,963 in Islamabad and 488 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The virus has claimed at least 2,317 lives while around 36,308 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.


12:56am: 'Over 75,000 active Covid-19 cases in the country'

Pakistan currently has more than 75,000 active cases of coronavirus, as the nationwide tally of infections topped 110,000 on Wednesday, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) was informed during a regular daily meeting on Wednesday morning.

The NCOC, headed by Planning Minister Asad Umar, serves as the nerve centre of the country’s unified fight against the global pandemic. The meeting was also informed that out of these active cases, 5,546 had been admitted to different hospitals.

With 5,385 new cases the total active Covid-19 cases in Pakistan were 75,139 on June 9 (Tuesday), said a statement issued after the meeting. It said a total of 113,702 cases had so far been registered, while 36,308 patients had recovered.

Read more here


11:30pm: PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal, PTI’s Khurram Sher Zaman contract Covid-19

Senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Kurram Sher Zaman have joined the long list of politicians who are diagnosed with novel coronavirus.

Former federal minister Ahsan Iqbal, in a tweet on Wednesday, said he has tested positive for the virus and would spend the next 14 days in self-quarantine.

Zaman, president of the PTI’s Karachi chapter, also shared the news on Twitter, saying he was experiencing Covid-19 symptoms for the past five days spent in self-isolation at home. His test result came positive today, he added.


11:15pm: 44 new Covid-19 cases raise G-B tally to 1,018

Another 44 people have contracted coronavirus in Gilgit-Baltistan to bring the region’s tally to 1,018.

A total of 14 people have succumbed to the deadly virus to G-B.

17 more patients have recovered, taking the total to 633. Active cases stand at 371.


10:45pm: Turkish defence company distributes aid in Pakistan

Turkey’s leading defence company Roketsan on Wednesday distributed food packages among 1,000 families in Pakistan through the Turkish Red Crescent.

The food packages distribution event held in Rawalpindi which was attended by Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan Ihsan Mustafa Yurdakul and the country’s head of the Turkish Red Crescent Carlos Camilo.

The ongoing coronavirus crisis and earlier lockdown has deprived a large number of poor families and daily wage workers of their source of income in Pakistan.

Details here


10:40pm: AJK govt to impose 'complete lockdown' in Muzaffarabad from Friday

As 44 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, surfaced in a single day, the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government on Wednesday decided to impose almost a week-long complete lockdown in Muzaffarabad from June 12 (Friday) to contain the further spread of the global pandemic.

Dr Mustafa Bashir, minister for information technology and AJK government’s spokesman, said that initially the complete lockdown will continue for six days and decision for its continuation or relaxation will be taken later keeping in view the developing situation of the pandemic.

The state government also decided to start a mass campaign across AJK to motivate the people for taking all necessary precautionary measures including wearing of face mask in public places.

Full story here


9:35pm: Balochistan reports 11 more deaths, 304 new Covid-19 cases

The Balochistan health department has confirmed 11 more casualties due to coronavirus in the past 24 hours to bring the provincial death toll to 73.

Health officials also confirmed 304 new Covid-19 cases to raise the province’s tally to 7,335.

2,596 patients have recuperated from the respiratory disease in the province so far.


9:15pm: Nine more die, 679 new Covid-19 cases surface in K-P

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa health department has confirmed nine more fatalities due to coronavirus in the past 24 hours to bring the provincial death toll to 619.

Five deaths were reported from Peshawar, two from Abbottabad and one each from Dir Upper and Karak.

679 new cases – 64 at Torkham and 17 at the international flights center – were also confirmed, taking the total to 15,206.

140 patients recovered, taking tally to 3,771. A total of 87,528 tests have been conducted in the province so far.


8:20pm: 44 fresh Covid-19 cases swell AJK tally to 488

Another 44 people have contracted coronavirus in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) to raise the region’s tally to 488.

Nine people have lost lives while 219 patients have recovered from the respiratory disease in the region so far.


6:55pm: Punjab reports 34 more deaths, 2,641 new Covid-19 cases

Punjab reported 2,641 new Covid-19 cases during the past 24 hours, taking the provincial tally to 43,460.

According to a spokesperson of the health department, 34 more patients died as the death toll reached 807 in the province.

He further said that 8,643 people have recovered from the deadly disease in Punjab.


6:50pm: Pandemic hits new high in Sindh

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah sounded alarm bells on Wednesday as the province saw the emergence of an astounding 2,487 cases and 42 infection-related deaths – the highest single-day numbers recorded so far.

Raising concerns over the worrying numbers, the CM said, “This is the highest number of cases reported in a day yet. The situation is turning out to be alarming.”

“The province has boosted its testing capacity, with 9,100 samples being tested between Tuesday and Wednesday, resulting in 2,487 more cases – 27.3 of the tested samples and the highest ratio of single-day positive cases against tested samples recorded so far,” he said, adding that collective efforts were required to control the spiralling tally.

Read more here


4:40pm: Pakistan to get Paris Club debt relief

The Paris Club of creditor nations have agreed to suspend debt service payments from Pakistan, Chad, Ethiopia and the Republic of Congo as part of a G20 debt relief deal, the group said.

The Group of 20 leading economies and the Paris Club, an informal group of state creditors coordinated by the French finance ministry, agreed in April to freeze debt payments of the 77 poorest countries this year to free up cash to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Read story here


4:00pm: Hayatabad Medical Complex limits plasma therapy

Owing to the increasing number of cases in Peshawar, Hayatabad Medical complex on Wednesday announced to limit its plasma therapy for patients under treatment in the hospital.

It further said that the hospital will only carry out plasma theray for people in the ICU.

The hospital has so far carried out plasma therapy on five patients.


3:30pm: Sindh records 2,487 new cases

Sindh on Tuesday conducted 9,100 tests out of which 2,487 were positive—the highest single-day cases reported by the province.

The provincial tally now stands at 43,790.

With 42 deaths reported in the past 24 hours, the death toll has now risen to 731.

493 patients are said to be critical in the province while 77 are said to be on ventilators.

According to the Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah’s briefing, 20,478 people have self-quarantined at home while others are being treated at quarantine centres.


3:02pm: Advisor to CM K-P on Information Ajmal Wazir talking to media


1:45pm: Pakistan Judo Federation to conduct online coaching course from June 11

Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF) will conduct its educational activities online through "Online National Referee & Judges Coaching Course" from June 11-13.

Judo being a different Martial Art sport cannot be competed individually. Thus maintaining the mandatory protocol of the current pandemic scenario, it was decided to kick off the activity covering educational aspects, said a spokesman of the PJF while taking to APP here on Tuesday.

"Later the Judokas will be incorporated to get the abreast with modern trends and regulations ", he added.

The online event will be conducted among senior technical officials, referees and coaches of PJF.

Meanwhile, Col Junaid Alam, President PJF said that the first video link Referee and Judges course would facilitate gathering of the entire Pak-Judo coaches, referees and technical personnel all over the country.


2:45pm: NDMA provides 90 more portable ventilators to all provinces, AJK, G-B & ICT

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has provided 90 more portable ventilators to all provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Gilgit-Baltistan and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

According to a statement issued by NDMA, Punjab and Sindh have been given 25 portable ventilators each while Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have been provided 15 and 10 ventilators respectively.

It said five portable ventilators were provided to hospitals in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Islamabad while Gilgit-Baltistan has already received five ventilators of different types.

The statement said these ventilators can be installed in ambulances and can also be moved from one bed to another bed as per requirement.


2:00pm: NIH team conducts tests Sero-Prevalence Survey of COVID-19


1:30: 455 doctors contracted virus in K-P

As many as 455 doctors in K-P have so far contracted Covid-19.

According to the provincial doctor’s association, 170 nurses have also tested positive for the virus.

It further said that around 375 other health workers and paramedical staff have also contracted the virus.

So far six doctors and one nurse have lost the battle against coronavirus in K-P.


1:15pm: Bodies of 479 Pakistanis brought back, Ghulam Sarwar tells NA

Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar on Wednesday told the National Assembly that about 56,000 stranded Pakistanis have been brought back from different parts of the world by operating 285 flights.

He said out of 12, five flights were operated to the US to bring back 1,200 Pakistanis. He said 479 bodies of overseas Pakistanis have also been brought back.


12:30pm: Rs120b disbursed under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme

Over Rs120 billion have so far been disbursed among over 99,34,000 people across country under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme.


12:30pm: Rs120b disbursed under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme

Over Rs120 billion have so far been disbursed among over 99,34,000 people across country under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme


12:00pm: NDMA launches helpline for plasma donations

The National Disaster Management Authority launched a helpline to facilitate volunteers willing to donate plasma for Covid-19 therapy.

The helpline number is 0304- 111-01-61. A focal person of the NDMA has been made in charge of entering the data of those willing to donate their plasma.


11:00am: Pakistani envoys role commendable amid Covid-19: FM

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has underlined the need for formulating strategy in view of the changing world to better achieve the foreign policy goals.

Addressing senior officers at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad on Wednesday, he said coronavirus pandemic has changed the world, and we will have to prepare ourselves to move ahead in the changing environment.

The minister said while important meetings and conferences in the world are being held through video link, we need to digitize ourselves to effectively present our viewpoint.

He stressed the need for joint efforts to further enhance the capacity of Pakistan’s ambassadors, who are known in the world for having better understanding of diplomacy.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistani ambassadors are facilitating the Pakistani community in the entire world during the coronavirus pandemic, which is being appreciated by people through social media. He said this appreciation has heightened our morale.

line-945-152483252210:30am: Govt pursuing holistic strategy to combat Covid-19: Dr Zafar Mirza

In response to the World Health Organisation’s letter suggesting that Pakistan should reimpose intermittent lockdowns to curb the spread of Covid-19, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza has said that the government was pursuing a “holistic strategy to combat the coronavirus”.

In a statement issued on Wednesday the SAPM said that the National Command and Operation Center, established under the auspices of National Coordination Committee for Covis-19, meets every morning at ministerial level and with the help of technical experts reviews the disease data and trends very minutely and take a holistic view of the situation along with the provinces and develop recommendations for the NCC that is chaired by the Prime Minister and participated by all the Chief Ministers and the Prime Minister of AJK he said.

“All decisions are made in NCC with consensus,” he said.

The advisor stated that conscious of the disease spread and mortality and having put in place a very robust national coordinating and decision making mechanism at the highest level Pakistan has made best sovereign decisions in the best interest of the people.

“We have to make tough policy choices to strike a balance between lives and livelihoods,” Dr. Zafar said adding that the lockdown was consciously but gradually eased but at the same time the government  focused on enforcement of SOPs in shops, industry, mosques and public transport etc.

“Mask donning has been made compulsory in the country. Along with this we have developed a robust Tracing, Testing and Quarantine policy to identify hotspots and cordon-off them. Currently there are more than 700 such smart lock-downs in place. Other plank of our strategy is ramping up of our health system capacity to cater to the growing number of patients,” he said.

He added that the policies have been guided by the best evidence available about the disease spread and best assessment of the fast deteriorating socio-economic conditions in Pakistan.

Read story here

line-945-15248325229:35am: Nationwide tally stands at 113,072

The National Command and Operation Centre reported 5,385 new cases surfacing in the country in the last 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 113,072.

In the last 24 hours, 83 persons succumbed to the virus, raising the country's death toll to 2,255, while at least 36,308 patients have recovered.

line-945-15248325229:30am: CCPO Lahore says challan tickets issued to 8,693 drivers

Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore Zulfiqar Hameed said challan tickets were issued to 8,693 drivers for driving without a face mask in Lahore.

He said government orders are being strictly implemented and the public should follow precautionary measures to protect themselves and others from the deadly disease.

line-945-15248325229:25am: 176 cases registered in Lahore for violation of SOPs

176 cases were registered in Lahore for violating standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the government.

Divisional officers inspected 331 markets and 8,500 shops across the city and a total of 1,316 were sealed for violating government orders.

4,988 vendors were given warnings for violating lockdown restrictions.

line-945-15248325229:00am: Dr Tahirul Qadri telephones Sheikh Rashid, prays for his speedy recovery 

Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri telephoned Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid to inquire about his health after he tested positive for Covid-19.

Dr Qadri prayed for the minister's speedy recovery and said proper rest, a healthy diet and precautionary measures will help to eliminate the virus.

Dr Qadri said the public should not leave the house without wearing a face mask and should follow precautionary measures inside their homes as well.

line-945-15248325228:44am: Parliamentarians call for joint response against COVID-19

Parliamentarians from around the world have called for collective and joint response to overcome pandemic and chalk out strategies aimed at bringing life to normalcy.

This was decided by the participants during a webinar interaction, organized by Inter-Parliamentary Union, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Parliamentarians for Global Goals to connect parliamentarians from around the world with global experts in public health, economics and other fields.

Parliamentarians stressed the need for systemic control of the infection by testing and tracing. They also called for strict implementation of the SOPs.

Pakistani side actively participated in the webinar. They termed the initiative important and underlined the need for continued engagement at regional and global levels to overcome the pandemic.

It was pointed out that developing world is faced with resource constraints and needs immediate intervention from the global forums in the form of medical equipment, medicines and other technical support to better deal with Covid-19 and protect its population.

Parliamentarians from around the globe appreciated Pakistan's stance and called for collective approach to control the spread and restart economic activities.

Pakistani side was represented by Senators Mian Raza Rabbani, Sherry Rehman Farooq H. Naek, Zeshan Khanzada, Faisal Javed, and Sana Jamali.


8:30am: ‘Covid-19 is a threat to food security’

UN Chief Antonio Guterres, in his latest video message, warns of food insecurity.

He stated that without an immediate action against Covid-19 we could soon face a massive global food emergency with disastrous long term impacts on hundreds of millions of children and adults.


8:10am: First phase of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme to continue till July: Dr Sania

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar has said first phase of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme will continue till next month.

Talking to private channel, she said an amount of Rs12,000 was being provided to each deserving person to purchase edible items for their family members.

Dr Sania said second phase of the programme will take some time to start.

To a question about the relief programme for Sindh, she said Sindh was enjoying a lion’s share from Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme.

She made it clear that we should not link Benazir Income Support Programme with Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme as both the programmes have different methodology and limits.


7:45am: WHO recommends Pakistan reimpose intermittent lockdowns as Covid-19 cases rise sharply

The World Health Organisation has recommended Pakistani authorities reimpose "intermittent lockdowns" of targeted areas to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, stating the country did not meet the global body's conditions for lifting restrictions.

A surge of new cases has hit the South Asian nation after the government lifted its lockdown on May 9 citing economic pressures. A total of 108,316 cases and 2,172 deaths, have been recorded, with Monday seeing a single-day record of 105 fatalities.

In letters sent by the WHO on June 7 to health authorities of Pakistan’s two most populous provinces, Punjab and Sindh, it stressed the need to mitigate the risk of the health system collapsing.

More than one in five people have tested positive for Covid-19 over the last two weeks, compared with one in 10 before the lockdown was lifted, government statistics showed.

Read story here


7:30am: 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

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