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 8.7 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world – and over 461,000 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 179,634 with 65,739 cases in Punjab, 69,628 in Sindh, 21,997 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 9,475 in Balochistan, 1,288 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 10,662 in Islamabad and 845 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The virus has claimed at least 3,558 lives while around 68,098 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.
12:58am: Covid-19's name explained in 200 words
After Climate Change Minister Zartaj Gul purported that Covid-19 means that the virus has 19 points that can be applied to countries based on respective immunity levels, The Express Tribune looked to put such claims to rest once and for all.
What does it stand for?
Covid-19 is an acronym for coronavirus disease 2019 that was given by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the disease caused by coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
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11:10pm: G-B reports another Covid-19 casualty, 10 new infections
Another Covid-19 patient died in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) during the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 22.
According to G-B health authorities, 10 more cases emerged in the region, taking the total number of cases to 1,288. As many as 865 patients have recovered from the virus, they added.
10:24pm: Balochistan reports another 147 Covid-19 cases, 2 more deaths
Balochistan reported 147 more coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking the provincial tally to 9,475.
According to health authorities, the province on Sunday reported two more death due to the deadly virus, the total fatalities in the province now stands at 102.
The province has so far conducted 43,104 tests in total.
9:44pm: 13 more die due to Covid-19, 553 new cases surface in K-P
At least 553 more Covid-19 cases were recorded in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, taking the provincial tally to 21,997.
According to K-P health authorities, 821 people have lost their lives due to the deadly disease so far with 13 more patients succumbing to it during the last 24 hours.
They also said that 473 new patients recovered, taking the tally to 6,536 in the province.
553 new cases recorded (67 from Int'l flights) taking total to 21,997. 13 more lives were lost (8 Peshawar, 2 Kohat, 1 each in Khyber, Dir Lower, D I Khan) taking the total to 821. 473 new patients recovered taking the tally to 6,536 in KP. Active cases stand at 14,640. pic.twitter.com/pE7GeKjqxM— Health Department KP (@HealthKPGovt) June 21, 2020
9:26pm: High dependency unit set up at Expo Centre as Covid-19 cases spike
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah inaugurated the newly-established 140-bed high dependency unit (HDU) at the Expo Centre isolation facility for coronavirus patients on Sunday.
The HDU has been established in collaboration with the Pakistan Army. The move comes amid reports of shortage of space in HDUs and ICUs of the hospitals catering to Covid-19 patients across the city, with several people claiming to have been turned away because of a lack of vacant beds.
Expressing gratitude towards the army, the CM claimed it was the best facility located in the heart of Karachi. "The establishment of the new HDU at the Expo Centre will help reduce pressure on other hospitals of the city," he said, adding that highly-trained healthcare workers had been posted by the Pakistan Army at the medical facility, while the Indus Hospital will also help to operate the unit.
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9:12pm: Islamabad laboratories ordered to display Covid-19 test rates
The Islamabad Healthcare Regulatory Auhtority (IHRA) has directed all private laboratories to display Covid-19 test rates at all prominent places including on websites and reception areas.
In a notification issued on Sunday, the regulatory warned that those laboratories not fulfilling the requirements will be penalised which include imprisonment and de-registration of licence.
8:23pm: AJK reports one more Covid-19 death, 32 fresh cases
Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) has reported 32 new Covid-19 cases, taking the tally to 845.
AJK health officials said that 20 people have so far died from the respiratory disease with one succumbing to it during the last 24 hours.
They said that 12 more people have recovered from the disease, taking the total to 348 in the region.
4:30pm: Sindh reports 2,275 fresh Covid-19 cases
According to a statement issued by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, 2,275 fresh Covid-19 cases were reported in the province. This raised the provincial tally to 69,628
Another 41 people succumbed to the virus, whereas 2,166 recovered.
4:10pm: MNA Alamgir Khan tests positive for coronavirus
The famed Fixit campaigner and PTI MNA from Karachi's NA-243 constituency revealed on Twitter that he had tested positive for Covid-19.
I have been tested positive for Covid-19— Alamgir Khan (@AKFixit) June 21, 2020
3:45pm: Former provincial health minister contracts Covid-19
Former Punjab health minister Dr Tahir Ali Javed was reported to have contracted Covid-19 on Sunday.
He was diagnosed with the virus on June 18, and has been admitted to the Jinnah Hospital, according to family sources.
Dr Javed served has the Punjab Health Minister from 2002-07. He was elected to the assembly a second time in the 2008 elections.
2:10pm: Dr Zafar Mirza stresses need to initiate special care for elderly
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza has asked citizens to initiate special care for the elderly during the pandemic.
During a media briefing in Islamabad today, the special assistant stressed the need for wearing face masks, practicing social distancing, and frequently washing hands to stay safe from the deadly disease.
As of now, 72% of deaths in the country were people over the age of 50, Mirza said, adding that senior citizens should avoid public transport and crowded spaces.
1:20pm: K-P initiates action against medical stores, manufacturers for unregistered medical devices
Khyber-Pakthunkhwa (K-P) health authorities has initiated action against medical stores and manufacturers who are involved in the sale of unregistered medical devices bearing no prices on its labels.
A letter has been issued to the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) and Ministry of National Health Services stating that medical equipment is being sold in markets with fake labels, claiming to be manufactured in the United States but with no import documents.
The letter said medical devices are being sold at exorbitantly high prices as per demand in the market due to the pandemic, adding that it is a crime to sell these unregistered devices at such high rates.
12:10pm: DRAP ensures availability of medicine for Covid-19 patients
As per the directives of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has taken important steps to ensure the availability of medicines for Covid-19 patients.
Dr Zafar Mirza has issued an import and registration letter for emergency use of Remdesivir after DRAP authorised the use of the medicine.
Due to the increasing demand of the medication, DRAP has issued licences to two importers and 14 local manufacturers.
DRAP issued a no objection certificate (NOC) after the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom agreed to use the medicine.
DRAP spokesperson said an Emergency Registration Board meeting was called to ensure the prompt availability of injections.
A meeting of the Drug Pricing Committee was convened to propose a price of the drug, the spokesperson added.
He said an adequate quantity of medicine will be ensured by importers and manufacturers within two weeks after issuance of registration letters.
Under the terms of the registration letter, the injection will be available only at specific hospitals and institutions, instead of in the open market.
Local manufacturers have been directed to strictly monitor the clinical use of Remdesivir.
11:30am: Over 4,267 violations of health guidelines observed across Pakistan
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) reported more than 4,267 violations of health guidelines observed across Pakistan.
Over 721 markets, 1,408 vehicles and five industries were fined or sealed for violating government orders.
Punjab recorded the highest number of violations, followed by Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Balochistan, Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).
10:10am: Rawalpindi reports 91 new cases
Rawalpindi's district administration reported 91 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking the city's total to 5,086.
248 persons have succumbed to the deadly disease in the city, while 2,443 patients have recovered.
9:30am: PIA special flight to depart from New Jersey for Lahore on June 27
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) special flight for the repatriation of stranded Pakistanis will depart Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey for Lahore on June 27.
This will be the seventh special flight from the United States (US).
9:15am: Pakistan to reopen Ghulam Khan border terminal for trade with Afghanistan from Monday
Pakistan will open its border terminal at Ghulam Khan for bilateral trade with Afghanistan from Monday.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said the decision was made in view of the strong fraternal ties and due to the request of the Afghan government.
This arrangement will be operational six days a week. Saturdays will be reserved for pedestrian movement and steps will be taken to implement necessary protocols to contain the spread of the virus.
8:40am: 'International flights resumed to facilitate return of Pakistani expatriates'
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Syed Zulfikar Bukhari said the government has decided to reopen international flights to help facilitate the return of Pakistani expatriates.
Talking to a private news channel, the special assistant said the decision was made because the premier was concerned about the large number of Pakistani workers stranded across the globe, particularly the Gulf region.
8:20am: Pakistan to partially open airspace today
Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan will partially reopen its airspace for international flights today to repatriate stranded overseas Pakistanis.
In a tweet, the premier said this is particularly help overseas workers who have suffered that most due to the pandemic.
He assured them that the government will provide them with all the facilities, adding that they have shown great courage during this difficult time.
8:00am: Nationwide tally stands at 176,617
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) reported 1,906 new cases, taking the nationwide tally to 176,617.
119 more persons succumbed to the virus and Pakistan's death toll stands at 3,501 while at least 67,892 patients have recovered.
28,855 tests have been carried out in the 24-hour period.