Coronavirus updates, April 2: Latest news on the coronavirus

KARACHI / LAHORE / ISLAMABAD / PESHAWAR / QUETTA: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 2,291 on Thursday after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The province-wise break up of the total number of cases as of 11:00am, April 2, is as follows:

Total confirmed cases: 2,360

• Sindh: 743

• Punjab: 941

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 276

• Balochistan: 169

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 62

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 187

• AJK: 9

Deaths: 31

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 8

• Sindh: 9

• Balochistan: 1

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 2

• Punjab: 11


Globally, more than 42,000 deaths from the virus have been recorded so far, of which most have been in Europe since the disease first emerged in December.

Meanwhile, more than 860,000 cases of the virus have been registered in 203 countries and territories.

Read on for the latest updates from Pakistan and around the world.


LIVE UPDATES

08:37pm — Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan — Educational institutes to remain closed till May 31

08:22pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh reports 11 more recoveries

According to Murtaza Wahab, adviser to the Sindh chief minister on law, another 11 patients have recovered and their tests have come back negative.

With this, the total number of recoveries in Sindh have risen to 65.

07:45pm — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab CM approves Rs4,000 disbursement to 170,000 families

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has announced he has approved the disbursement of Rs4,000 in aid to more than 170,000 families who were registered as deserving of zakat donations.
“I have also directed authorities to quickly collect data and verify it” so that more families can benefit.The total relief package is Rs10 billion and will benefit 2.5 million families.

07:41pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh reports another death, total death tally hits 11

Sindh’s Minister for Health and Population Welfare Dr. Azra Pechuho has confirmed one more death in Sindh, with which the total number of deaths in the province now stands at 11.

The 86-year-old patient was a resident of Karachi. 

The patient tested positive on April 1 and was a case of local transmission of COVID-19. The patient had a history of hypertension.

07:25pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh starts ‘anti septic fumigation’

Sindh information minister Nasir Hussain Shah has revealed that an “anti septic fumigation” drive has begun in the province “to protect citizens amid the spread of COVID-19”.He urged citizens to “stay home to save lives”.

07:12pm — Lahore, Pakistan — Break down of cases in Punjab

6:50pm — Geneva, Switzerland — Global air passenger demand sees steepest decline since 9/11: IATA

The coronavirus pandemic sent global air passenger demand plunging 14% in February, marking the steepest decline in traffic since the September 11 attacks in 2001, the global aviation association has said.

“Airlines were hit by a sledgehammer called COVID-19 in February,” Alexandre de Juniac, head of the International Air Transport Association, said in a statement, pointing out that global numbers had slumped 14.1% year-on-year in February, while the drop for carriers in the Asia Pacific region was 41%.


06:46pm — Bangkok, Thailand — Kingdom imposes nationwide curfew to curb virus spread

Thailand will introduce a six-hour night curfew in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus, authorities said Thursday, warning anyone who breached the order faced a two-year jail term.

According to AFP, the curfew from 10pm to 4am (1500 to 2100 GMT) will begin on Friday and bars everyone in the country from leaving their homes.

Exemptions will be made for essential staff, including medical workers, food and fuel transport staff, and postal services.

The number of infections in Thailand has soared past 1,800 — up more than 80% from a week ago — and the death toll has nearly quadrupled to 15 as of Thursday.


06:41pm — Washington, USA — US virus deaths pass 5,000: Johns Hopkins

The US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 5,000 late Wednesday, according to a running tally from Johns Hopkins University.

At about 0235 GMT Thursday, 5,116 people had died, the tally showed, on the same day the United States set a one-day record of 884 people killed in 24 hours.

The US death toll is lower than those of Italy and Spain but above the 3,316 recorded for China, where the pandemic first emerged in December.

According to Johns Hopkins, the US leads the world in number of cases of new coronavirus, with 215,417.

06:29pm — Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — Kingdom enforces 24-hr daily curfew in Makkah and Madina ‘until further notice’

06:23pm — Washington, USA — Coronavirus drives 6.65 mn to file for US jobless benefits

Another 6.65 million US workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, the most ever recorded, as the coronavirus forces businesses to shut down nationwide, AFP has reported, citing the Labour Department.

The figure for the week ended March 28 was double the number of first-time applications for jobless benefits registered in the previous week, the report said.

“Nearly every state providing comments cited the COVID-19 virus,” the statement said, noting a wider impact across more industries, especially hotels, but also manufacturing and retail.

5:59pm – Islamabad, Pakistan — PM Imran launches emergency cash programme worth Rs 144 billion 

5:46pm – Amsterdam, Netherlands — Coronavirus deaths increase to 1,339 

The number of deaths caused by an infection with the new coronavirus in the Netherlands has increased by 166 to 1,339, health authorities said on Thursday, reported Reuters.

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the country increased by 8% to 14,697, the Dutch Institute for Public Health said.

4:58pm – Quetta, Pakistan — Universities in Balochistan to remain closed till May 31   

The Balochistan has closed universities till May 31 and said that the public sector educational institutions will conduct online classes.

4:44pm – Jakarta, Indonesia — Virus death toll rises to highest in Asia outside China

 Indonesia’s coronavirus death toll rose to 170 on Thursday as the world’s fourth most populous nation passed South Korea as the country with the highest number of recorded fatalities in Asia after China, reported Reuters.

Indonesia reported a further 13 deaths and 113 new cases, taking its total number of infections to 1,790. South Korea has reported 169 deaths and 9,976 infections, according to the latest figures released there.

The data comes amid alarm expressed by some medical experts and officials that President Joko Widodo’s government has been slow to bring in measures similar to those in other countries to curb the spread of the virus.

Indonesia only reported its first case of the virus one month ago, but epidemiologists say a relatively low level of testing means the number of cases appears to have been vastly underreported.


4:38pm – Zurich, Switzerland — Coronavirus cases top 18,000, death toll rises to 432

The Swiss death toll from the coronavirus has risen to 432, the country’s public health agency said on Thursday, from 378 people on Wednesday, reported Reuters.

The number of positive tests increased to 18,267 from 17,139, it said.


4:29 – Dubai, UAE — Emirates Airline to resume limited number of outbound flights from April 6

4:26 – Geneva, Switzerland — COVID-19 cases and deaths rising, debt relief needed for poorest nations: WHO

4:19pm – Manila, Philippines — ‘Shoot them dead’: leader says won’t tolerate lockdown violators

4:16pm – London, UK — British Airways talks to union about suspending 32,000 employees

4:05pm – Peshawar, Pakistan —  Friday prayers in the city limited to five people

Assistant Commissioner Peshawar announced that Friday prayers would be limited to five people as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus pandemic.


3:57pm – Madrid, Spain — Coronavirus death toll tops 10,000 after another record daily toll

Spain’s death toll from coronavirus surpassed the 10,000 threshold after a record 950 people died overnight, the country’s Health Ministry said on Thursday.

The number of cases registered rose to by about 8% from Wednesday to 110,238, the ministry said. The proportional daily increases have been slowing down in the past few days.

The total death toll reached 10,003, rising by just over 10%, about the same rate as the previous day. Over 6,000 people were in intensive care, the data showed.

3:45pm – London, United Kingdom — Wash hands to stay safe from the coronavirus

3:30pm – Lahore, Pakistan — Coronavirus cases in Punjab top 900, total cases in country increase to 2,360

Punjab on Thursday afternoon confirmed another 69 cases of the novel coronavirus, according to provincial health department spokesperson Qaiser Asif, taking the provincial total to 914.

With the new cases, the total number of confirmed virus cases in Pakistan has risen to 2,360.


3:15pm – Brussels, Belgium — Coronavirus death toll tops 1,000

The number of deaths attributed to the global coronavirus epidemic in Belgium has increased sharply and passed the 1,000 mark, AFP reported.

The official toll in the country of 11.4 million has doubled over the past three days, in part because figures have been updated with a backlog of fatalities from retirement homes.

There have now been 1,001 deaths and 15,348 officially recorded cases in the country since the start of the outbreak, officials said.


3:00pm – Islamabad, Pakistan — India taking advantage of virus pandemic to advance sinister agenda in occupied Kashmir: FO

The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday said that New Delhi was taking advantage of the international community’s focus on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to advance the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s “sinister” Hindutva agenda.

The FO urged the United Nations and the international community to take “immediate cognizance” of the Indian actions in occupied Kashmir. It added that India should be prevented from changing the demography of the occupied territory. 


2:45pm – Beijing, China — Chinese companies, welfare bodies have donated to virus relief in Pakistan: Hashmi

Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, Naghmana Hashmi, on Thursday said that Chinese companies, welfare bodies, and friends had donated to coronavirus relief efforts in Pakistan.

“The donations include K-9 masks, surgical masks, and protective suits to fight the virus epidemic in Pakistan,” she said in a statement on Thursday.


2:35pm – New Jersey, United States — Pakistani-origin doctors skip big wedding, delay honeymoon to fight coronavirus

A Pakistani-origin couple in the United States, namely Kashif Chaudhry and Naila Shereen, wed in a private ceremony at a mosque in Hawthorne, New Jersey, last Friday without guests or fanfare, USA Today reported.

It was a far cry from the lavish multi-day Pakistani-style wedding they’d planned. They were to host 400-plus people in London, followed by a reception in a bucolic English village and a honeymoon in Dubai and the Maldives.

Instead, after a Saturday dinner and a second ceremony at her parents’ home, with relatives joining in online, they said their goodbyes and went to work at their respective hospitals – 1,000 miles apart. 

They are medical doctors, and their life as newlyweds would have to wait amid the raging pandemic, they both agreed.

2:15pm – Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan — Kitchen staff at a quarantine centre prepare meals for pilgrims

2:08pm – New Delhi, India — Infection rate steepens as India searches for 9,000 exposed to Delhi cluster

India has reported its biggest single-day increase in coronavirus cases as officials raced to track down some 9,000 people exposed to the country’s biggest infection cluster during a missionary group’s gathering in the capital last month, according to Reuters.

The number of cases jumped on Wednesday fuelled by infections among people who either attended prayers and lectures at a religious gathering in a densely-packed Delhi neighbourhood or came into contact with them later. 

A government official said about 9,000 people were unaccounted for, of which 2,000 were identified as officials of the religious gathering and the rest were described as primary contacts.


2:05pm – Karachi, Pakistan — Virus relief fund of Sindh government has received more than Rs41mn in private donations: Wahab

Adviser to Chief Minister Sindh on Law and Environment Murtaza Wahab on Thursday said that the coronavirus relief fund of the Sindh government had received Rs41m from private donors.

“Fund as on 1st April had received a contribution of Rs 2,849,315,486 from Sindh Govt & Rs 41,325,671 from private donors. Every day we will mention the total donation received & also mention the expenses incurred in respect of corona relief,” he wrote on Twitter.

1:55pm – Shenzhen, China — Eating of cats and dogs banned after coronavirus

The Chinese city of Shenzhen has banned the eating of dogs and cats as part of a wider clampdown on the wildlife trade since the emergence of the new coronavirus, Reuters reports.

Scientists suspect the coronavirus passed to humans from animals. Some of the earliest infections were found in people who had exposure to a wildlife market in the central city of Wuhan, where bats, snakes, civets and other animals were sold.

The disease has infected more than 935,000 people around the world and killed some 47,000 of them. Authorities in the southern Chinese technology hub said the ban on eating dogs and cats would come into force on May 1.


1:45pm – Gilgit, Pakistan — GB reports one more death, nationwide toll at 33

The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus rose to three in Gilgit Baltistan on Thursday after one more death from the virus was reported in the area.

The death in GB took the nationwide death toll from the virus to 33.

1:30pm – London, United Kingdom — Worldwide coronavirus deaths cross 46,900

More than 935,000 people have been reported infected by the novel coronavirus across the world and 46,906 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 200 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

12:47 – Karachi, Sindh — Disinfection campaign kicks off in Sindh

Officials in Sindh have started a disinfection spray drive on the orders of Minister for Local Government Nasir Hussain Shah.

“In the first stage, the spray campaign will focus on Karachi and Hyderabad,” said the minister. He added that a spray campaign is also underway in Nawabshah. Sukkur and Larkana.


12:42pm – Qureshi telephones Qatari counterpart

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday spoke to his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.

The two leaders discussed the steps taken to stop coronavirus in their respective countries.

Qureshi during the conversation also told the Qatari official about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s request to restructure the debt of developing nations. According to the statement, Thani voiced support to the PM’s initiative.


12:35pm – Tel Aviv, Israel — Israel’s health minister tests positive, officials self-isolate

Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and his wife were diagnosed with coronavirus and are in isolation following guidelines, his ministry said on Thursday.

Several other senior officials, including the head of Israel’s foreign intelligence agency Mossad, were also self-isolating due to contact with Litzman, Israeli media reported.

Litzman, 71, an ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has appeared regularly alongside the premier to provide updates on the pandemic and measures to combat it.

12:24pm – Islamabad, Pakistan — Government working to reach out the poor segment through Ehsas programme: PM

Prime Minister Imran Khan once again reiterated that the poor segment is the most affected by the virus and the government is working through the Ehsas programme to reach out to them.

While addressing an event in Islamabad, the PM said that the government will send them money through a text message.

PM Imran also said that the business community need to support them and that without them the government cannot move forward.

12:13pm – Karachi, Sindh — Sindh reports one more death, coutrywide tally rises to 32

Pakistan’s death toll due to the coronavirus rose to 32 after one more death was reported in Sindh.

According to Sindh’s Minister for Health and Population Welfare Dr. Azra Pechuho the 65-year-old patient was a resident of Tando Muhammad Khan and was brought to the hospital in Hyderabad on March 28 where he was tested positive and was under treatment. 

“The patient was a member of the Tableeghi Jamaat. The patient had a history of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and was on a ventilator,” said the minister.

11:50am — Islamabad, Pakistan — President Alvi urges people to take part in virus relief efforts

President Arif Alvi on Thursday urged citizens to take part in coronavirus relief efforts as they spend more time with their families while quarantining in order to contain the spread of the contagion. 

The president also stressed on the importance of exercising, maintaining a routine, and taking up hobbies during time spent at home.

11:40am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Young people helping the society are all tigers: Awan

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan on Thursday said that the word ‘tiger’ should not be associated with any political group in the country. 

Awan made the statement via video in reference to the Corona Relief Tiger Force being set up on the directives of Prime Minister Imran. The force has come under criticism from sections of the society that believe the government is not doing enough to fight the virus epidemic. 

“Every young person helping the society at large is a tiger,” Awan said. She requested that political parties in the country concentrate on supporting the cause instead of criticising the brand name of relief efforts aimed at tackling the spread of the coronavirus.

11:15am — Canberra, Australia — Pre-clinical testing for coronavirus vaccine begins

Australia’s national science agency has said it has commenced the first stage of testing potential vaccines for Covid-19, as it joins a global race to halt the coronavirus pandemic.The first phase of testing would take around three months, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Health Director Rob Grenfell told Reuters, adding that any resulting vaccine would not be available to the public before late next year.“Were still sticking to the optimistic 18 months for delivery of vaccine to the general consumers,” Grenfell said. “There’s a lot of technical challenges that were having to go through.”


11:07am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Number of deaths from coronavirus in Pakistan rise to 31

The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus across Pakistan rose to 31 on Thursday after five more deaths were reported from the country in the past twenty-four hours, according to the National Command and Control Centre.


11:05am — Islamabad, Pakistan  — Confirmed coronavirus cases across country rise to 2,291

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases across Pakistan rose to 2,291 on Thursday after 252 new cases were reported over the past twenty-four hours, according to the National Command and Control Centre.


10:55am — Warsaw, Poland — Government expects April peak in coronavirus infections

Poland may face a peak in coronavirus infections in April, government spokesman Piotr Muller told state radio, adding that further curbs on people’s movements could not be ruled out.

According to Reuters, 2,554 people had been infected with the virus by Wednesday, with 43 dead in the country of 38 million people.


10:50am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Plane carrying relief goods from China lands at airport

A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight carrying coronavirus relief goods from China arrived at Islamabad airport on Thursday morning. 

A spokesperson for the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said that the good include at least 100 thermal scanners and personal protective equipment. 

The relief goods also include at least 900,000 masks, 60,000 protective goggles, 3,300 protective suits, among other items, the spoksperson added.


10:45am — Lahore, Pakistan — PHF gives ‘homework’ to national squad amid virus lockdown

Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on Thursday gave diet, physical, and skill plans to players in the national squad as they remain indoors to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

National team coach Khawaja Junaid said that the players have been advised to strictly adhere to government instructions regarding social distancing. 

“Players have been given diet, physical, and skill plans as homework during the lockdown. The players will share daily progress on these tasks via WhatsApp,” he said.


10:40am — Lahore, Pakistan — Bowling legend Waqar Younis lauds completion of 1,000-bed hospital at Expo Centre

10:38am — Pyongyang, North Korea — North Korea insists it is free of coronavirus

North Korea remains totally free of the coronavirus, a senior health official in Pyongyang has insisted, despite mounting scepticism overseas as confirmed global infections near one million, according to AFP.

The already isolated North quickly shut down its borders in January after the virus was first detected in neighbouring China, and imposed strict containment measures.

“We have carried out preemptive and scientific measures such as inspections and quarantine for all personnel entering our country and thoroughly disinfecting all goods, as well as closing borders and blocking sea and air lanes,” Pak Myong Su, director of the anti-epidemic department, said.

10:35am — Quetta, Pakistan — 30 confirmed virus cases in Balochistan have no travel history, says health department

The health department of Balochistan on Thursday said that there were 164 confirmed cases of the coronavirus across the province, and 30 of these cases had no travel history. 

The department said that of the 2,113 virus tests conducted so far, 1,910 had come back negative. 


10:25am — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab to setup ten more tele-medicine helplines: Sarwar

Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar on Thursday announced that the provincial government would set up ten more tele-medicine helplines to assist people in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in the province.

The governor is also expected to inaugurate a tele-medicine centre in Sialkot via video-link today. “We will not leave the people alone in this time of crisis,” Sarwar affirmed in a statement to the media.

9:55am — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP did not abandon suspected patients from other provinces, says Jhagra

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Health and Finance Taimur Jhagra on Thursday has said that out of the 121 pilgrims that came to the province from the Pakistan-Iran border at Taftan, several were from Punjab, Sindh and Islamabad. 

“We did not abandon these people just because they were mistakenly transported here. We kept these people from Islamabad, Pindi, Karachi, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Jhang and Mandi Bahauddin because it was the right thing to do, despite our limited space and facilities,” he said in a tweet.

“Because once here transporting them back would have exposed many other people across Pakistan to risk,” he added.

“In this crisis, governments may not be able to fix the issues that have built up over 72 years, but we owe it to each other and to this country to act in national interest, not just in self-interest,” he said.

9:25am — Karachi, Pakistan — Two special PIA flights leave for Toronto 

The international flight operations of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Thursday started the path back to normalcy after two special flights left for Toronto on the request of the Canadian government. 

Pakistan had earlier this month suspended international flight operations to and from the country in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that has affected more than 2,000 and left tens of people dead. 


9:20am — Multan, Pakistan — Ten more test positive for coronavirus at quarantine centre

30 suspected coronavirus patients housed at a quarantine centre in Multan on Thursday received their virus test results, according to a spokesperson for the Nishtar Hospital in the city. 

10 people tested positive for the contagion, the spokesperson added. 

9:05am — London, United Kingdom — British Prince Charles gives first public address after recovering from virus

9:02am — London, United Kingdom — UK man jailed for 6 months for coughing on police officer

A man who coughed on a police officer and threatened to infect him with coronavirus has been sentenced to six months in jail in Britain, a police statement said.

Adam Lewis, 55, was stopped after allegedly trying the door handles of cars in central London on Tuesday afternoon by a policeman who then tried to stop and search him.

Lewis smashed a bottle of wine he was holding on the floor and then verbally threatened the officer. “I am Covid (19 positive) and I am going to cough in your face and you will get it,” he reportedly said, before coughing on the police officer.


9:00am — Washington, United States — Most Americans huddle indoors as coronavirus deaths keep spiking

Four new states have imposed sweeping stay-at-home directives in response to the coronavirus pandemic, putting over 80 per cent of Americans under lockdown as the number of deaths in the United States nearly doubled in three days.

The governors of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Nevada each instituted the strict policies on a day when the death toll from COVID-19 shot up by 925 to more than 4,800 nationwide, with 214,000 confirmed cases, according to a Reuters tally.

President Donald Trump said he saw no need for the federal government to issue a nationwide decree, with 39 states and the District of Columbia now requiring residents to stay home except for essential outings to the doctor or grocery store.


11:58pm/April1 — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab tally soars to 845

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has reported that the province has a total of 845 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, 178 of which are from Lahore.

The toll has shot up from 708 a day earlier.

“We understand the difficulties faced by our citizens and we are doing our best to bring life back to normal as soon as possible,” he said.


11:55pm/April1 — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP reports 2 more deaths, 19 more recoveries

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s focal person on COVID-19, Zain Raza, has said that 19 more people have recovered from the coronavirus in the province, taking the total recoveries to 29.

Two more deaths were also reported across the province in the last 24 hours.

The province’s total number of cases stand at 276.


10:50pm/April 1 — Quetta, Pakistan — Balochistan ‘surrenders’ 5 officers, lays off 4 health workers for poor work ethic

The Balochistan health department has said it has “surrendered” five officers for their unwillingness “to work in [an] emergency situation” and four health workers “on ground of misconduct” as the province battles the coronavirus outbreak.

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