Coronavirus updates 3 April : Latest news on the COVID-19

KARACHI / LAHORE / ISLAMABAD / PESHAWAR / QUETTA: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 2,441 on Friday after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The province-wise break up of the total number of cases as of 08:50am, April 2, is as follows:

Total confirmed cases: 2,450

• Sindh: 783

• Punjab: 920

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 311

• Balochistan: 169

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 68

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 190

• AJK: 9

Deaths: 35

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 9 

• Sindh: 11

• Balochistan: 1

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 3

• Punjab: 11


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3:34pm – Madrid, Spain — Spain’s daily coronavirus death toll falls for first time since March 26

Spain’s coronavirus death toll rose to a total of 10,935 from 10,003 on the previous day, the Health Ministry said on Friday, but showed the first fall in a daily death toll since March 26.

A total of 932 people died from the disease in 24 hours, down from 950 people in the previous daily toll, the figures showed.

The number of registered cases rose to 117,710 on Friday up from 110,238 on Thursday, the ministry said.


3:32pm – Karachi, Pakistan — Wahab thanks law enforcing agencies for enforcing lockdown 

Spokesperson for the Sindh government Murtaza Wahab has thanked the law enforcement agencies for ensuring that people follow the lockdown in the country.

The spokesperson also paid a tribute to those people taking part in the war against coronavirus.


3:27pm – Tehran, Iran — Iran’s coronavirus death toll rises to 3,294: Health Ministry

Iran’s death toll from the new coronavirus rose on Friday to 3,294 as it claimed 134 lives in the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpur.

The total number of people confirmed to be infected is 53,183, he said on state television, adding that 4,035 ware “under observation”, a term that may mean they are in critical condition.

Of the total number of people who were diagnosed with the disease, 17,935 have recovered, he said.

Iran is the country most affected in the Middle East by the pandemic.


3:30pm – Karachi, Pakistan — Viral video shows teenager getting haircut during online class

3:15pm – Karachi, Pakistan — Violent scenes as police try to restrict Friday prayer at Ghousia Mosque in Liaquatabad

3:10pm – Lahore, Pakistan — Confirmed virus cases in Punjab rise to 928, nationwide tally at 2,458

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Punjab rose to 928 on Friday afternoon after eight more cases were reported across the province, according to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority.

Five of the new cases were reported from Lahore, the authority added.


2:50pm – Berlin, Germany — Athletes find novel ways to train at home during virus lockdown

2:45pm – Karachi, Pakistan — CM Sindh instructs health minister to ensure thalassemia patients are not affected by virus lockdown

Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah on Friday afternoon instructed Sindh Minister for Health Azra Fazal Pechuho to make special arrangements to ensure that patients suffering from thalassemia across the province are not affected by a coronavirus lockdown.

“Thalassemia patients should be provided with what they need on time,” CM Shah said on Friday. “Thalassemia patients in the province should not be in any discomfort at all,” he added.


2:38pm – London, United Kingdom — Read about the impact of the coronavirus crisis on food supplies

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted global food supplies and is causing labour shortages in the agriculture sector worldwide. Panic buying by shoppers cleared supermarket shelves of staples such as pasta and flour as populations worldwide prepared for lockdowns.

Meat and dairy producers as well as fruit and vegetable farmers struggled to shift supplies from restaurants to grocery stores, creating the perception of shortages for consumers.

Retailers and authorities say there are no underlying shortages and supplies of most products have been or will be replenished. Bakery and pasta firms in Europe and North America have increased production.


2:35pm – Islamabad, Pakistan — Strict lockdown across country to restrict Friday congregations

Police in Pakistan have enforced a strict lockdown to prevent people from going to mosques to offer Friday prayers and fuel a rise in coronavirus infection, Reuters reported, quoting officials.

Health experts have warned of an epidemic in South Asia, home to a fifth of the world’s population, that could easily overwhelm its weak public health systems.

The Sindh government has enforced a “curfew-like” lockdown for three hours beginning from 12pm to deter people from coming out of their homes for prayers, officials said.


2:30pm – New York, United States — UN adopts resolution calling for ‘cooperation’ on virus

The UN General Assembly approved a resolution calling for “international cooperation” and “multi-lateralism” in the fight against COVID-19, in the first text to come out of the international body since the outbreak began, AFP reported.

The resolution, approved by consensus, also stresses “the need for full respect for human rights” and that “there is no place for any form of discrimination, racism and xenophobia in the response to the pandemic”.

The UN resolution emphasises the central role of the body in the global health and economic crisis.


2:25pm – Lahore, Pakistan — Medical experts from China arrive in city

An eight-member team of doctors from China arrived in Lahore on Friday afternoon to visit different hospitals in the city and advise health professionals regarding the coronavirus outbreak in the country. 

According to sources, the team of medical experts from China will also meet Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar.

2:08pm – Islamabad, Pakistan — Public interest over individual rights in extraordinary times: IHC

Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Friday remarked that extraordinary times call for the prioritization of the public interest over individual rights.

The judge issued the remarks while dismissing a petition challenging a government decision to convert private hotels into quarantine centres. 


2:05pm – Lahore, Pakistan — LCCI donates Rs10mn to virus relief fund 

Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industries on Friday donated Rs10 million to the Chief Minister Punjab’s relief fund for coronavirus.

The officials of the LCCI gave the cheque in this regard to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar in a meeting on Friday.


1:55pm – Singapore — Singapore closing workplaces, schools in latest coronavirus measures

Singapore will close schools and most workplaces, except for essential services and key economic sectors, for a month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday, as part of stricter measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“We have decided that instead of tightening incrementally over the next few weeks, we should make a decisive move now, to pre-empt escalating infections,” Lee said in a speech.

Food establishments, markets and supermarkets, clinics, hospitals, utilities, transport and key banking services will remain open. The city-state will also move to full home-based learning in its schools and universities.

Lee urged everyone to stay home as much as possible and to avoid socialising with others beyond their own household.


1:49pm – Manila, Philippines — Country reports 29 new deaths, highest in a single day

The Philippines’ health ministry on Friday reported 29 new coronavirus deaths, marking the single largest daily increase in casualties.

The latest figures brought total deaths in the country to 136, while 385 new cases were reported, increasing the tally to 3,018, the health ministry said in a bulletin.


1:45pm – Beijing, China — Beijing autoshow postponed to September 

Organisers of the Beijing autoshow, which was scheduled to be held in late-April, said on Friday the event would be held between September 26 and October 5 due to the coronavirus pandamic.

Several other auto shows globally have been cancelled or postponed due to the outbreak, including those in New York, Geneva and Sao Paulo.


1:40pm – Islamabad, Pakistan — Roads leading to Faisal Mosque closed

Roads leading to Faisal Mosque in Islamabad have been closed and no one will be allowed to enter the premises of the mosque, said the district administration.


1:38pm – Peshawar, Pakistan — 583,000 families to be given financial aid 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in a letter to the federal government has said that 583,000 families will be given Rs3,000 in financial aid for four months.

The government said that the provincial government will take decision at the district level. The letter stated that the district administration will be in touch with one person of each family. It added that their data will also be provided to the concerned banks.

1:25pm – Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid shares breakup of tests in Punjab 

1:00pm — Mountain View, United States — Google publishes reports on coronavirus lockdowns

Technology giant Google on Thursday published reports for 131 countries showing whether visits to shops, parks and workplaces dropped in March, when many governments issued stay-at-home orders to rein the spread of the novel coronavirus, reported Reuters.


12:45pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — Confirmed virus cases in country rise to 2,450

The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus across Pakistan rose to 2,450 on Friday morning after new cases were confirmed in Islamabad Capital Territory and Gilgit Baltistan (GB), according to the national dashboard keeping track of virus infections.

66 new cases of the virus have been confirmed from across Pakistan in the past twenty-four hours, including five from Islamabad and at least 23 from GB. A spike in confirmed cases was also seen in Punjab late Thursday.


12:40pm — Lahore, Pakistan — Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar takes aerial overview of virus lockdown

12:30pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh minister Wahab thanks minority community for donations to virus relief

Adviser to Chief Minister Sindh on Law and Environment Murtaza Wahab on Friday afternoon thanked a minority community for their contributions to the coronavirus relief fund of the provincial government. 

“On behalf of the #SindhGovt & our people, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Dawat e Hadiyah & Bohra Community for its generous contribution of Rs 20 Million into the #CoronaReliefFund,” he wrote on Twitter.

12:15pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — Science minister orders removal of sub-standard sanitizers from stores

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Friday shared a list of companies that were found involved in making sub-standard hand sanitizers. 

The demand for sanitizers has sky-rocketed in recent weeks as people stock up on the commodity to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus.

Chaudhry had last week asked the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Board to sample sanitizers being sold in the open market and compile a report on their quality. 

12:00pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — PM Imran, COAS Gen Bajwa to visit National Command and Control Centre

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan on Friday said that Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan will visit the National Command and Control Centre later today.

“Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa will accompany PM Imran on the visit,” Awan told the media in a statement.

“The civil and military leadership of the country is committed to providing relief to people amid the lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” she said.


11:47am — Beijing, China — Surveillance systems have come to the fore in fight against coronavirus

11:35am — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP cabinet meeting to review virus-related measures underway

A meeting of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) cabinet to review progress on the measure adopted by the provincinal administration to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus is underway in Peshawar.

Chief Minister KP Mehmood Khan is chairing the meeting. According to sources, the cabinet will also discuss future provincinal strategy to deal with the outbreak of the virus.


11:25am — Islamabad, Pakistan — IHC reserves judgement in petition challenging order to turn private hotels into quarantine centres

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday morning reserved judgement into the admissibility of a petition challenging government orders to turn private hotels into quarantine centres to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah reserved judgement into the admissibility of the petition challenging the government order. “How can the court interfere in the steps the government is taking for the protection of the people?” Justice Minallah said in his remarks. 


11:15am — Madrid, Spain — Data show the curve has stabilised, says health minister

“The data show the curve has stabilised” and the epidemic has entered a “slowdown” phase, Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa has said.

Europe has been at the centre of the crisis for weeks, but there have been signs that the epidemic could be approaching its peak there, AFP reported.

Italy and Spain together account for almost half of the global death toll, but experts say the number of new infections in both countries is continuing to slow. Spain and Britain saw record numbers of new deaths in a 24-hour period; 950 and 569, respectively.


11:11am — Islamabad, Pakistan — President Alvi urges people to pray at home

President Arif Alvi on Friday morning advised citizens to offer prayers at home instead of participating in large congregations to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

“I pray that all of you stay healthy and safe. Doctors around the globe have unanimously supported social distancing as the best way to stop the spread of the disease,” he said in message on Twitter. 

10:58am — Chaman, Pakistan — Border remains closed for 32nd straight day to contain virus spread

The Chaman border with Afghanistan remained closed for a 32nd straight day on Friday to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.

“The movement of goods and people across the border remains suspended on the orders of the government,” Deputy Commissioner Chaman told the media on Friday morning.


10:53am — Lahore, Pakistan — 1,311 cases registered in connection with virus lockdown so far: DIG Operations

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Operations in Lahore on Friday morning said that 1,311 cases had so far been registered in connection with offenses related to Section 144 in the city. 

“2,844 cars and motorcycles have been seized so far in connection with offenses related to Section 144,” the DIG added.

The city of Lahore has been under a virtual lockdown since late March to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Large gatherings have been forbidden and Section 144 imposed to curtail movement of people.


10:45am — Beijing, China — Ministry plans to ease restrictions on foreign investment amid virus pandemic

China’s commerce ministry said on Friday that it will minimise the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on foreign investment into the country and encourage further investment of foreign capital into various industries including technology.

The ministry said in a statement that it will further ease restrictions against foreign investment into China by revising the so-called negative list and will closely monitor the progress of key foreign investment projects in the country.


10:38am — London, United Kingdom — Here are some tips on practicing social distancing

10:35am — Canberra, Australia — Global coronavirus infections could be as high as 10 million

As many as 10 million people globally may have been infected by the new coronavirus, Australia’s chief medical officer said, according to Reuters.

“Worldwide we have passed 1 million infections. But we believe the true number is five or 10 times as much,” Brendan Murphy told reporters.


10:32am — Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — Curfew in three areas advanced over coronavirus fears

Saudi Arabia has advanced to 3pm (1200 GMT) its curfew in three areas, starting from Friday until further notice, state news agency SPA said, citing a senior official of the interior ministry, reports Reuters.

The measure in the city of Dammam, and the governorates of Taif and al-Qatif, aims to rein in the virus, as the kingdom has recorded 1,885 infections and 21 deaths, the most among any of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.


10:03am — Karachi, Pakistan — Perform prayers at home, urges Sindh minister Nasir Shah

Sindh Minister for Local Governments Nasir Hussain Shah on Friday morning said that the government had not imposed a curfew in Sindh to tackle the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“This is not a curfew, but a care for you,” Shah said while talking to Geo Pakistan. “People should perform prayers inside their homes. Religious scholars have also advised people to stay indoors,” Shah said.

The Sindh government has limited congregational prayers in the province and advised people to pray at home to contain the spread of the virus.

09:55am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Government supported steps taken by CM Sindh to tackle virus: Awan

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan on Friday morning said that the government had announced a Rs1200 billion relief package for the underprivileged amid the coronavirus crisis. 

Speaking to Geo Pakistan, Awan said that the government had supported the steps taken by Chief Minister Sindh to contain the spread of the virus. 

“People should not play politics on the Tiger Force. It is a volunteer force,” Awan said. The government has in recent days come under criticism for announcing the formation of a volunteer force to fight the virus that critics claim will be used to provide jobs to ruling party workers.

09:50am — Islamabad, Pakistan — International community appreciates Pakistan’s efforts to fight virus: FM Qureshi

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday morning said that the international community had appreciated the steps taken by the Pakistan government to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Talking to Geo Pakistan, the foreign minister said that the whole world was focused on fighting the global pandemic. 

“I had a productive discussion with the United Nations Secretary-General on the virus,” he said, referencing his conversation with the UN chief on Thursday night. “The UN chief shared suggestions to better fight the virus in the discussion,” he added.


09:27am — Hangu, Pakistan — Six more test positive for virus

Six more people have been tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Hangu, according to a statement released to the media on Friday by Deputy Commissioner (DC) Hangu.

The total number of confirmed virus infections in the area have risen to seven, the DC added, saying that the patients have been shifted to an isolation ward at DHQ Hospital.


09:10am — Zurich, Switzerland — Visual artist projects messages of hope on iconic mountain to support people during virus pandemic

09:02am — London, United Kingdom — Confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide surpass one million

The coronavirus pandemic has affected more than one million people globally, according to a Reuters tally of official data as the world grapples to contain the spread of the virus that has claimed over 52,000 lives.

Italy had the most deaths, more than 13,900, followed by Spain. The United States had the most confirmed cases of any country, more than 240,000, the data showed.

Since the virus was first recorded in China late last year, the pandemic has spread around the world, prompting governments to close businesses, ground airlines and order hundreds of millions of people to stay at home to try to slow the contagion.


09:00am — Washington, United States — Americans urged to wear masks outside as pandemic worsens

The Trump administration looked set to join local officials in advising Americans to wear masks when venturing out during the coronavirus pandemic, as the US death toll rose by 1,000 in a single day for the first time, Reuters reported.

Speaking at a White House briefing, Deborah Birx, a member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, said the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention would in the coming days add a recommendation on masks to guidelines on protective measures.


12:00am — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab tally of confirmed virus cases rises to 920

According to an update by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, there are now 920 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Punjab.

“We have lost 11 precious lives whereas, 5 people recovered,” wrote Buzdar on Twitter early Friday.

11:19pm/April 2 — Islamabad, Pakistan — FM Qureshi, UN Secretary General Guterres discuss ways to stem spread of coronavirus

Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi and UN Secretary General António Guterres spoke over the phone today and discussed the coronavirus situation as well as how the associated dangers can be mitigated, a statement by the Foreign Office said.

Both were in agreement over the fact that the pandemic is the greatest danger to humanity since World War II.

During the conversation, Qureshi reiterated Prime Minister Imran Khan’s suggestion that under-developed countries be given the benefit of debt restructuring to better fight off the crisis.


11:00pm/April 2 — Karachi, Pakistan — Police chief warns citizens to remain indoors from 12pm-3pm on Friday

The city police chief, Ghulam Nabi Memon, has warned all citizens to remain inside their homes from 12pm-3pm on Friday.

“Whoever steps outside will be turned back home,” he said, adding: “If anyone resists, they will be dealt with strictly.”

Memon has vowed that the government orders for a strict lockdown during those hours will be enforced to the letter.

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