Coronavirus updates, March 23: Latest news on the coronavirus pandemic from Pakistan and around the world

Sindh lockdown comes into effect; Saudi imposes curfew to curb coronavirus spread; UAE suspends passenger flights

By
Web Desk


KARACHI / LAHORE / ISLAMABAD / PESHAWAR / QUETTA: The number of confirmed cases in Pakistan rose to 882 on Monday after new cases were reported in Gilgit Baltistan. 

The province-wide break up of cases as of 19:53, March 23, is as follows:


Total confirmed cases: 882

• Sindh: 394

• Punjab: 246

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 38

• Balochistan: 108

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 15

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 80

• AJK: 01

Deaths: 06

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 03

• Sindh: 01

Balochistan: 01

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 01


Globally, 192 countries have been affected, more than 14,000 people have died and more than 337,00 infected by the disease as it spreads rapidly to new territories.

The epicentre of the outbreak has now shifted to Europe, especially Italy, which is recording a rapid rise in new cases and deaths every day.

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

Disclaimer: There may be some discrepancy in the number of confirmed cases reported at the country level due to differences in figures quoted by federal and provincial authorities.

Geo News is constantly gathering fresh information from concerned authorities and striving to keep our readers up to date with the most accurate information available.

Orange: All general updates coming in from Pakistan

Red: All reports on new cases in Pakistan

Maroon: All reports on new deaths in Pakistan

Read more: Coronavirus 'a danger we have never seen in our lifetimes;: DG ISPR

Lockdown in Pakistan: Army called in for help amidst coronavirus outbreak



END OF LIVE UPDATES FOR MARCH 23

Live updates for March 24 will continue here. 


11:58pm — Tokyo, Japan — IOC member Dick Pound says Olympics 2020 Games will be postponed

The International Olympic Committee has decided to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games because of the coronavirus pandemic, IOC member Dick Pound told USA Today, Reuters reported.

“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound was quoted as saying by the US newspaper. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”

The report said the games, scheduled for July 24-Aug. 9, were likely to be held in 2021, with the details to be worked out in the next four weeks.

11:28pm — Cambridge, UK — May/June 2020 CIE exams cancelled


11:25pm — Geneva,Switzerland — Coronavirus is 'accelerating': WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the coronavirus pandemic is "accelerating".

“It took 67 days from the first reported case to reach 100,000 cases, 11 days for the second 100,000 cases, and just four days for the third 100,000 cases,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said while speaking at a press briefing in Geneva.

He said he will address G20 heads of state and government this week to ask them to work together to boost production of protective gear.


11:12pm — Beijing, China — Face masks donated by Alibaba founder to arrive on Wednesday 

Face masks donated by Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma will arrive in a chartered plane on Wednesday, Chinese Consul General Li Bijian said on Monday.

Bijian said, “in order to show our solidarity and support, Alibaba group will donate 500,000 face masks to the people of Sindh on behalf of the Government of China.”

“The chartered aircraft will arrive at Karachi airport at 11:00am on Wednesday,” he said.


10:43pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — Police start enforcing lockdown orders, force shops to close

The Islamabad police has started enforcing lockdown orders. According to reports, police officers have started forcing shopowners to close their shops in I-9 area of the city. 

Cafes, hotels, restaurants and service centers have been closed in the city as well. 


10:33pm — German Chancellor Angela Merkel tests negative for coronavirus

German Chancellor Angela Merkel tested negative for the coronavirus on Monday, according to her spokesperson. 

The German leader got tested after she went to a doctor who tested positive for the coronavirus. Further tests will also be conducted, her spokesperson added. 


10:12pm — Lombardy, Italy — Number of doctors dead due to coronavirus climbs to 23

As the days pass by, the number of doctors who've lost their lives to the coronavirus in Italy have swelled to 23. Among the 23, 19 doctors who lost their lives belonged to Lombardy. 

The other four worked in Naples (South Italy), Emilia Romagna (north Italy) and Marche (central Italy).


10:00pm — Copenhagen, Denmark—  Lockdown extended till April 13

The Danish government extended the countrywide lockdown till April 13 on Monday. Schools and restaurants have been closed throughout the country and most public sector workers have been told to stay home as Denmark bolsters its precautionary measures against the spread of the coronavirus. 


9:53pm — Pakistan Ulema Council urges people to follow government's directives, stay indoors

The Pakistan Ulema Council called on the masses to follow the government's instructions and stay indoors to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. 


9:40pm — Karachi, Pakistan — SBP announces new bank timings

The State Bank of Pakistan on Monday announced a change in bank timings as several cities of the country are under a lockdown owing to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a notification, the SBP announced banks will remain open from 10:00AM to 4:30PM till further notice with "bare minimum staff". 




9:30pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Murad urges federal govt to waive off Rs3bn debt servicing collection

Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah urged the federal government to waive off debt servicing collection from Sindh government's resources until Coronavirus pandemic is under control. 

The finance department, on CM Murad's directives, wrote a letter to the federal Secretary Finance to stop debt service payment in view of shortfall during the coronavirus crisis.

The federal government collects around Rs3 billion as debt service charges from Sindh government every month. 


8:58pm — Harare, Zimbabwe — First coronavirus patient death reported in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's health minister, Obadiah Moyo, announced that a person had died from the coronavirus on Monday. He said that the victim was a 30-year-old man with a pre-existing condition who had recently travelled abroad. Moyo urged the nation not to panic.  

"He had other concurrent serious medical conditions, which made him vulnerable. I wish to urge the nation not to panic because of this death," Moyo told media. 


8:44pm — European Union to provide $21mn in aid to Iran

The European Union on Monday agreed to provide $21mn as humanitarian aid to the coronavirus-struck Iran. 

"We've not been able to provide a lot of humanitarian help but there is some 20 million euros in the pipeline ... that we expect to be delivered over the next weeks," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a video news conference on Monday.

EU also said it will support Iran's request to the International Monetary Fund for financial help to defeat the coronavirus. 


8:40pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh government prohibits employers from firing workers

The Sindh government issued directives for employers, prohibiting them from laying off workers as the coronavirus continues to create economic hurdles for the country.

In a notification issued by the Sindh Home Department, it was stated that workers will not be laid off "during the ban period" and that employers will pay workers their due salaries, remunerations and wages. 



8:10pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP government decides to extend closure till March 28

The Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa decided to extend public holidays till March 28, 2020, according to a notification released by the provincial government. 



8:00pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — PTA to send messages to all who may have come into contact with coronavirus patients

The PTA announced on Monday that it was sending messages to all those who may have come into contact with coronavirus patients during travelling. 


7:55pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — Government decides to help 72 stranded Pakistanis at Doha airport



7:49pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — Mass public transport in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa closes

"All mass public transport in Pakhtunkhwa is now closed. In buses, wagons etc. you risk getting infected and infecting others. Don't do this. For your family. For loved ones. For the nation. Let's #FlattenTheCuve," tweeted KP Finance and Health Minister Taimur Jhagra.



7:40pm — Nine more coronavirus cases emerge in Gilgit-Baltistan

Nine more cases of the coronavirus have emerged in Gilgit Baltistan as the toll of affected persons rose to 80 in the province. The total number of affected persons in the country has risen to 882. 


7:30pm — Rawalpindi, Pakistan — DG ISPR says Pakistan faces severe challenge amid coronavirus outbreak

DG ISPR held a press conference during which he said that the nation was facing a severe challenge in the face of the novel coronavirus. The military spokesperson said that even developed countries were having trouble tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

"As a nation, we can defeat the coronavirus," he said. 

The DG ISPR said that the armed forces were standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the nation and will ensure all available resources are dedicated to fighting the virus.  

He urged people to stay in their homes to ensure that they remained safe from the virus and said that those who did not pay heed to the precautions, action will be taken against them. 


7:25pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — British High Commission in Islamabad urges citizens to contact travel agents to leave for home country

7:19pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — Economic team finalising package, says Hammad Azhar

Federal minister Hammad Azhar said that the economic team was finalising the economic package for the coronavirus-hit masses. He paid credit to the prime minister and members of the cabinet for their efforts in coming up with the plan. 


7:10pm — Sukkur, Pakistan — Sindh reports new cases

Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah has been informed of new cases emerging in the province, taking the tally to 394. The total number of cases in Pakistan have risen to 873 as a result. 


7:03pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP reports 7 new cases

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has reported 7 new cases, bringing the total tally to 38, the provincial health department said.

"7 new cases have been confirmed in KP in the last 24 hours taking the total tally to 38. There was a big increase in suspected cases mostly because of the Zaireen that have arrived in D I Khan.

"130 suspects have been cleared. Results of rest are awaited," it added.



6:56pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — ECP postpones all by-elections

The Election Commission of Pakistan has postponed all by-elections amid the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the country.

The by-elections in Umerkot have also been delayed, the ECP said in a statement.


6:55pm — Madrid, Spain — Coronavirus death toll shoots up by 462

The coronavirus death toll in Spain has reached 2,182, adding 462 fatalities overnight, the health ministry said Monday.

The number of cases registered in Spain rose to 33,089 up from 28,572 cases on Sunday.


6:45pm — Karachi, Pakistan — PCB announces setting up of sanctuary for paramedics

The Pakistan Cricket Board on Monday announced that the Karachi high-performance centre — the Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre — has been turned into a temporary sanctuary for the paramedics on duty.

According to a press release, the PCB approved the move on the Sindh government's request and turned the centre into "a temporary living area for paramedic staff working at the makeshift hospital at Expo Centre, Karachi".

"All the paramedic staff are our heroes," PCB COO Salman Naseer said, adding that this was "a small token of our appreciation and acknowledgement to these unsung heroes".


6:40pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — PM Imran meets economic team

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday chaired a meeting of the government's economic team, sources said, adding that the premier has approved a major relief package in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the package, Rs3,000 per month would be given to 7 million daily-wagers, the sources said, while a Rs200-billion relief package was approved for the exporters.

Sources further informed that the prime minister would announce a relief package for the construction industry tomorrow.


6:30pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Bilawal reaches out to political leaders to form national narrative

PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari starts reaching out to political leaders, including BNP and ANP, to call an All-Parties Conference (APC) to form a national narrative on the novel coronavirus.

The PPP chair has so far called Shehbaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Pervaiz Elahi, Akhtar Mengal, and Aimal Wali Khan in this regard. "All political parties need to be on one page with regard to the coronavirus," he said.


6:15pm — Karachi, Pakistan — 472 arrested on first day of Sindh lockdown: report

At least 472 people were arrested and 72 cases filed on the first day of the lockdown in Sindh, a report indicated. Of these, 222 were detained and 33 cases registered in Karachi.

Some 161 people were arrested in District South, 60 in East, and one in West, while 13, 19, and one case were registered, respectively.

In Mirpurkhas, Sukkur, and Larkana, respectively, six, eight, and 236 people were arrested, and two, one, and 36 cases filed.


6:02pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — President consults Ulema, scholars for virus prevention measures

Former religious affairs minister Pir Muhammad Aminul Hasnat Shah has offered assistance to the country amid the coronavirus outbreak after President Dr Arif Alvi reached to the Ulema and other religious scholars.

Pir Hasnat Shah said 40,000 students were ready to become volunteers after the government provides them training for the virus-related measures. "We don't have to fear coronavirus but we have to cautiously fight it," he said.

"I will go and tell others pirs [religious leaders and scholars] to tell their disciples not to shake hands with or hug each other," the former minister added, noting that the government could use the pirs' assistance to help in coronavirus awareness campaign across the country.

In addition, Darul Uloom Muhammadia Ghousia has offered 350 institutions and 10,000 rooms for quarantine facilities.


5:50pm — Lahore, Pakistan — CM Buzdar launches 'Stay Home, Stay Safe' campaign

Punjab CM Usman Buzdar launched the 'Stay Home, Stay Safe' campaign to promote coronavirus awareness.

Initially, under the campaign, 250 motorcycles and 50 rickshaws would reach every street and town of Punjab to create awareness regarding COVID-19. The representative would inform citizens about precautions regarding coronavirus.

He added that they will use 850 motorcycles and 500 rickshaws to spread awareness specifically in the provincial capital. “We will spread awareness throughout Punjab with 4,130 motorcycles,” he said.

Read more here


5:40pm — Rawalpindi/Islamabad, Pakistan — Army called in, deployed across country

The Pakistan Army's troops have been called in across the country for deployment to help deal with the emergency measures against coronavirus, a notification from the interior ministry for Punjab read.

Similar notifications were issued for Islamabad, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan. The development comes at a time when the number of affected cases in the country have soared past 800 and six people have succumbed to the infection in Pakistan.

The Army's services have been sought under Section 131-A of the Constitution.

Read more here


5:15pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani tests positive for COVID-19

Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said he has tested positive for coronavirus. In a video on Twitter, he said he did not feel like he had any of the COVID-19 symptoms.

"I have no cough, no flu, no fever, and no ache in body. I feel 100% fit and normal," Ghani said. "Since my test came positive, I have put myself in isolation and I'm at my home.

"I am fulfilling my duties from home and will continue to do so. I believe it was necessary to tell everyone, including my friends and acquaintances, who has met me over the past few days to observe themselves [for symptoms] and stay in self-quarantine."

Ghani reiterated the advice to follow the government's instructions and asked people to stay safe and pray for his recovery.

Read more here


4:57pm — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab's total cases rise to 246

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar's spokesperson, Musarrat Jamshed Cheema, said Monday evening the total number of cases in the province were 246, of which 177 were in Dera Ghazi Khan and 52 in Lahore.

"We are trying our best to contain the spread of the virus. Please stay indoors and ensure safety of our loved ones," Cheema added.


4:55pm — Rawalpindi, Pakistan — COAS statement on Pakistan Resolution Day

"Pakistan Resolution Day symbolises struggle for Pakistan," COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said, according to Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar.

"While paying glowing tribute to our ancestors, we reaffirm our resolve and commitment to defeat all challenges including Covid-19 pandemic with Faith, Unity and self Discipline,” the army chief added.


4:40pm — Lahore, Pakistan — Buzdar announces important decisions amid virus outbreak

Punjab CM Usman Buzdar announced a province-wide closure of non-essential services and shops, effective March 24.

“During this time shopping malls, public transport, public places and tourist spots will remain closed. In the larger interest of the public, we have also banned pillion riding, although families will be exempted.”

Buzdar added essential service providers such as bakeries, medical stores, and groceries will remain open.

Read more here


4:27pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — NDMA boss talks availability of medical equipment

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chairperson Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal details the availability of medical equipment, as well as the phase-wise plans over the next two months.

"I assure you that the government of Pakistan is putting its best possible resources to help those affected by coronavirus. The NDMA has been given sufficient funds so it can intervene," he said.

"We have distributed our plans into three phases; the first phase starts from April 3, the second till April 30, and the third one will start from May, and will be reviewed on May 30.

"We have kept three objectives for Phase 1. Our first step is to ensure good checking at airports. Till April 5, we will ensure all health workers are give PPE [personal protective equipment].

"This phase will be completed on March 30. The negotiations are ongoing with vendors, with the Chinese embassy through a video link. At the end of the day, the NDMA will send all the money required for procurement to the Pakistani embassy in Beijing.

"We are in touch with the PIA and will bring the equipment by Friday. By next week, all health workers will have PPE.

"In this phase, we will have 120 ventilators [arriving] from Beijing by Friday. The Chinese envoy told me today that 14 tonnes of PPE and ventilators will be given to Pakistan by Friday.

"Our programme was to increase the score of testing patients. All sanitisers and chemicals have been formed by our institution. In the coming one month, we will be ready to fight this disease.

"China has helped us a lot. And we will also have a team of Chinese who will visit the provinces and advise us to deal with the crisis and manage it.

"Ali Baba's owner [Jack Ma has said] to send 500,000 masks, which include 50,000 N95 masks by Wednesday," he said.


4:21pm — Islamabad, Pakistan —  Food minister tells people to refrain from panic buying

Food Security Minister Khusro Bakhtiar advised the public against panic buying, saying ample stocks of basic food items such as wheat and edible oil were in the country.

Pakistan was self-sufficient in poultry, livestock, and dairy items, Bakhtiar said, telling people not to indulge in panic buying and hoard items.

Read more here


4:00pm — Islamabad, Pakistan —  In contact with all countries to bring back passengers: Moeed Yousaf

SAPM to PM on National Security Moeed Yousaf on Monday said the government was in contact with different countries to bring back Pakistani passengers stranded there.

“In the next 24 hours, we will have formed a strategy for passengers in transit,” Yousaf told a press conference in Islamabad today.

“Pakistanis stranded in Doha will be arriving today. We are working on bringing those stranded in the UAE, while those in Istanbul have been given accommodation in Turkey,” he said.

“I request again that wherever Pakistani passengers are, please avoid travelling to Pakistan for the next two weeks,” he added.


3:56pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — SAPM Firdous Awan defends federal govt's policy on lockdown

SAPM on Information Dr Firdous Awan said the federal leadership did not agree with the Sindh government’s implementation of a province-wide lockdown but stressed that in the centre's interpretation, a lockdown meant utilising the law enforcement agencies' services to ensure people stay in their homes.

According to a summary sent to the premier, it was decided that the lockdown policy would be the provincial governments' prerogative, she said.

The SAPM said that the provinces could summon the army if the need arose.

Read more here


3:30pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Karachi records drastic improvement in World Air Quality Index rank

Karachi has improved to number 27 in a World Air Quality Index ranking on Monday, amidst a province-wide lockdown in Sindh.

According to the Air Quality Index, there is 45 per cent humidity in the air, with a wind blowing at 7.6 km/h. Environmental experts say, one of the biggest reasons behind the improvement in the air quality is the lack of vehicles on the road as the metropolis begins its 15-day lockdown in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Photo: airvisual.com

Last year in November, the air quality in Karachi had dropped dramatically to 227. 

Lahore also showed improvement as it climbed to 26 in the world ranking


3:00pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — PM Imran approves summary granting provinces powers to seek army’s help

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday approved a summary giving authority to the provinces to summon the army as per their requirement.

Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab had on Sunday sought the Pakistan Army's help in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, asking it to assist civil institutions as the number of confirmed cases in the country rose. 

“We have left the option of a partial lockdown with the provinces,” SAPM Firdious Ashiq Awan told the media in Islamabad. 

“A lockdown does not mean curfew. Provinces can ask for Pakistan Army’s help as per their requirement,” she said. “Under Article 131-A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) provinces can seek the army’s help.”


3:15pm —Tehran, Iran — Death toll climbs to 1,812 with 127 new deaths

Iran's death toll from the new coronavirus has increased to 1,812, with 127 new deaths in the past 24 hours, a health ministry spokesman told state TV on Monday, adding that the country's total number of infected people has reached 23,049.

Kianush Jahanpur said that in the past 24 hours, some 1,411 Iranians had been infected with the virus across the Islamic Republic, which has the worst outbreak in the Middle East. 


Robot designed in China could help save lives on medical frontline

Researchers at one of China’s top universities have designed a robot they say could help save lives on the frontline during the coronavirus outbreak.

Photo: Reuters

The machine consists of a robotic arm on wheels that can perform ultrasounds, take mouth swabs and listen to sounds made by a patient’s organs, usually done with a stethoscope.

Read more on this here.


2:30pm  — Hong Kong to ban all tourist arrivals

Hong Kong said on Monday it was stopping all tourist arrivals and transit passengers at its airport in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

The measures come two days after the government warned a spike in the number of people returning to the region infected with coronavirus could lead to a large community outbreak.

The ban on tourist arrivals would last for 14 days from Wednesday, with visitors from mainland China, Macau and Taiwan who had travelled elsewhere recently, also subject to the restriction.

The city government announced 39 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, 30 of which had a recent travel history, bringing its total to 357. Four people have died of the disease in Hong Kong.


2:15pm — Berlin, Germany — 22,672 new cases reported

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen to 22,672 and 86 people have died from the disease, a tally by public health agency Robert Koch Institute (RKI) showed on Monday.

That compares with 18,610 cases and 55 deaths on Sunday, when RKI warned that the actual number was likely higher as not all local health authorities had submitted their figures over the weekend.


1:45pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — Pakistanis stranded at Qatar airport to arrive tonight

The government on Monday decided to evacuate Pakistanis stranded at Doha airport by allowing Qatar Airways to operate a special flight and transport the transit passengers to Islamabad, Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said. 

According to Farooqui, the flight carrying the passengers who were in the transit at Doha will arrive in Islamabad at 8pm tonight.


1:30pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Passengers flock to Cantt Station on the first day of lockdown

Hundreds of passengers flocked to the Cantt Station in Karachi on Monday as the first day of the lockdown began in the province.

According to officials, at least 20 per cent of the passengers who arrived at the station were not wearing face masks or had taken any precautionary measures to keep themselves safe. 

Many citizens had reached the station last night after Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah announced a 15-day lockdown in the province. A passenger at the station said there were inadequate measures at the station. “We did not receive any kind of mask or sanitizer at the station,” he said.

Railway officials say passengers are being provided with sanitizers and face masks. 


1:15pm — Doha, UAE — Pakistani consulate shuts down, says will only be open for emergency service


1:00pm — Sukkur, Pakistan — 150 people arrested for violating Section 144

At least 150 people have been arrested for violating Section 144 in Sukkur, SSP Sukkur said.

Police have been patrolling the city to ensure people are staying inside their homes amid the virus outbreak in the country. 


12:30pm — Damascus, Syria — First case of virus confirmed in country

The Syrian government has announced the first case of the novel coronavirus in the war-torn country, days after starting measures to stem the spread of the pandemic.

Health minister Nizar Yaziji late Sunday said authorities had recorded the first case of the virus in Syria in a person coming from abroad.

"The appropriate measures have been taken to deal with the female patient aged around 20," state news agency SANA reported him as telling journalists.


Tom Hanks says 'better' after virus quarantine

Actor Tom Hanks said he and wife Rita Wilson were on the mend Monday, after two weeks in hospital and self-isolation with the coronavirus.

"Hey folks, two weeks after our first symptoms and we feel better," he posted in a social media message to fans, urging them to respect lockdown advice.

The multiple Oscar-winning actor was on Australia' Gold Coast to film an Elvis Presley biopic when he and Wilson, both 63, came down with the disease.


Harvey Weinstein tests positive for coronavirus in prison

Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who is serving a prison sentence for sexual assault and rape, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the head of the state corrections officers union.

Weinstein, 68, has been placed in isolation at Wende Correctional Facility, said Michael Powers, president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association.

Powers said he learned that the test came back positive on Sunday morning and is concerned about the corrections officers, who he said lack proper protective equipment.

A lawyer for Weinstein said on Sunday night that his legal team had not been notified of the coronavirus diagnosis.


12:15pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Police carry out snap checking as Sindh goes under lockdown

Law enforcement agencies have closed down the road to the airport in Karachi by placing containers as the province goes under lockdown.

A traffic police officer stands with a barrier on a deserted road of a business district during a partial lockdown after Pakistan shut all markets, public places and discouraged large gatherings amid an outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Karachi, Pakistan, March 23, 2020. Photo: Reuters

Sindh Rangers and police have been carrying out snap checking on the roads and sending residents back home. According to authorities, citizens are being stopped and being directed to stay at home, while those violating the orders are being arrested.


12:00pm — New Delhi, India — Modi tells citizens to save themselves as Delhi locks down

New Delhi wore a deserted look on Monday as the Indian capital went into lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to stay at home and save themselves.

"Please save yourself, save your family, follow the instructions seriously," he said on Twitter.

The lockdown in the capital of more than 18 million people will last for the rest of the month.

A man sits at New Delhi's border barricade during lockdown by the authorities to limit the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Delhi, India March 23, 2020. Photo: Reuters 

India has reported 415 cases of the coronavirus and seven deaths but health experts have warned that a big jump could be imminent.

Authorities banned gatherings of more than five people in several of India's states including Maharashtra in the west, which has had the highest number of cases. They warned of legal action against people violating the ban.

In the financial hub of Mumbai, the state capital, suburban trains, which usually carry 8 million people a day, were suspended until the end of the month. Bus services were limited to people in essential services such as healthcare.


11:00am — Karachi, Pakistan — Commissioner Karachi directs shopkeepers to sell goods at prices set by govt

Commissioner Karachi on Monday directed shopkeepers to sell goods at the price set by the Sindh government as the metropolis’ 15-day lockdown began.

“Only one person from each family would be allowed to buy items for the family,” the commissioner said.

The commissioner also stated that due to the lockdown, buses, online taxi services and rickshaws have been barred from coming onto the roads.


10:30am — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab govt spokesperson to donate 3 months’ salary to virus relief fund

Punjab government spokesperson Musarrat Cheema has announced she would be donating three months of her salary to the coronavirus relief fund.

“Pakistan is a developing country and it is not possible to cope with this outbreak without the help of the people. We will strive to save as many lives as possible in case the virus spreads,” she posted on Twitter. 


10:15am — Islamabad, Pakistan —  FM Qureshi speaks to Iranian, German, Sri Lankan counterparts 


Watch: Chinese lady distributes face masks on Karachi streets


10:00am — Manila, Philippines — Eight new deaths reported, confirmed cases rise to 396

The Philippines' health ministry on Monday confirmed eight new deaths due to the coronavirus outbreak and 16 more infections in the country.

This brings the country's total deaths to 33 and confirmed cases to 396, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.


9:45am — Bangkok, Thailand — 122 new cases reported, nation-wide tally rises to 721

Thailand on Monday reported 122 new coronavirus cases raising the total to 721, a health ministry spokesman said.

Thailand has recorded one death since the outbreak. 


9:30am — Washington, US — Trump says US to take a decision on outbreak at end of current 15-day plan

President Donald Trump on Sunday said the United States will make a decision at the end of a 15-day period on "which way we want to go", to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

"We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself," he said in a tweet.

Trump issued new guidelines on March 16 aimed at slowing the spread of the disease over the following 15 days.


9:15am — Beijing, China — Number of new virus cases go down

China saw a drop in its daily tally of new coronavirus cases, reversing four straight days of gains, as the capital Beijing ramped up measures to contain the number of infections arriving from abroad.

China had 39 new confirmed cases on Sunday, the National Health Commission said, down from 46 a day earlier. All of them involved travellers arriving from abroad, many of whom are Chinese students returning home.

Beijing reported 10 new imported cases, the National Health Commission said on Monday, down from 13 a day earlier. 


9:00am — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh lockdown comes into effect  

Drastic measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus in Sindh have now taken effect. As of 12:00am, Monday morning, a blanket ban has been placed on 'unnecessary movement' throughout the province.

All offices, malls, restaurants and public spaces have been shut down. Restaurants have been told to cease all delivery and take away operations as well.

Read more: What does a lock-down in Sindh mean? 


8:45am — Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — Kingdom to impose curfew to curb virus spread

Saudi Arabia will impose a nationwide curfew starting today after reporting a jump of almost a quarter in coronavirus cases

Saudi King Salman ordered a curfew — from 7 pm to 6 am for 21 days — to slow the spread of the coronavirus, state news agency SPA reported on Monday. The curfew will take effect on Monday evening.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday recorded 119 new cases, taking the number of confirmed cases in the country to 511.


8:30am — Dubai, United Arab Emirates — UAE suspends passenger flights

United Arab Emirates will suspend all passenger and transit flights to and from the country to curb the virus spread.

UAE said it will suspend all passenger and transit flights to and from the country for two weeks over coronavirus fears, state news agency WAM said on Monday. Cargo operations will continue.

The country's health ministry said it has decided to close shopping and commercial centres, leaving open pharmacies and supermarkets, along with fish, vegetables and meat markets. 

WAM said the closures will take effect in 48 hours and will last for two weeks, subject to review and evaluation.


8:15am — Wellington, NA — New Zealand prepares to enter lockdown as cases double

New Zealand said on Monday it will move to its highest alert level imposing self-isolation, with all-non-essential services, schools and offices to be shut over the next 48 hours as the number of coronavirus cases more than double.

"We are all now preparing to go into self-isolation as a nation," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a news conference. She added that without these measures tens of thousands of New Zealanders could die.

The number of coronavirus cases in New Zealand shot up to 102, more than double since Friday, as the country reported 36 new infections. New Zealand has had no deaths.


12:00am — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh reports 19 new cases, provincial tally rises to 352

Sindh on Sunday reported 19 more cases, taking the number of confirmed cases to 352.

Of these new cases, seven were local transmission cases reported from Karachi, while 11 cases were reported in pilgrims in Sukkur who had returned from Iran. One case was reported from Dadu in a patient who had returned from Iran last week.

The total number of confirmed cases in Pakistan now stands at 780.


11:54pm/March 23 — Karachi, Pakistan — Karachi, Sukkur airports to shut down beginning March 24

Karachi's Jinnah International Airport and the Sukkur airport will be shut down, beginning March 24, a NOTAM issued by the Civil Aviation Agency has said.

Both airports will cease to operate any local flights.

A ban on international flights to Pakistan is already in effect and will last till April 4.


11:39pm/March 22 — Quetta, Balochistan — Balochistan reports first death

Balochistan's health department spokesperson, Liaquat Shahwani, has confirmed the province's first death from the coronavirus.

The deceased was a 65-year-old man, under treatment at the Fatima Jinnah Chest Hospital, said Shahwani.


9:00pm/March 23 — Skardu, Gilgit Baltistan — Doctor who led the fight against virus in GB passes away

A doctor who was leading the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in Gilgit-Baltistan has passed away.

According to The News, the doctor contracted the virus while handling suspected COVID-19 patients returning to GB.

Dr Shah Zaman, a senior member of the Health Department and focal person of GB government for coronavirus told The News the doctor's swab test had come back as positive. 


For March 22 updates on coronavirus click