Coronavirus updates, April 1: Latest news on the coronavirus pandemic from Pakistan and around the world

Nationwide tally of confirmed cases goes past 2,000; global coronavirus death toll surges past 42,000

Web Desk

KARACHI / LAHORE / ISLAMABAD / PESHAWAR / QUETTA: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 2,245 on Wednesday after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The province-wise break up of the total number of cases as of 11:58pm, April 1, is as follows:

Total confirmed cases: 2,245

• Sindh: 709

• Punjab: 845

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 276

• Balochistan: 164

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 58

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 184 

• AJK: 9

Deaths: 30

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 8

• Sindh: 9

• Balochistan: 1

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 2

• Punjab: 10

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.

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


Live updates for April 2 will continue here.

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

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has reported that the province has a total of 845 cases now, 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 wrote.

11:55pm — 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 in the last 24 hours.

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

10:50pm — 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.

10:00pm — Quetta, Balochistan — Provincial tally goes up by 6 to 164

According to government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani, the number of people infected with the virus in Balochistan are 164. So far, 19 recoveries have been made and there has been one death.

Guidelines to use Karachi's drive-through facility

8:20pm - Skardu, Pakistan — 222 pilgrims sent home after completion of quarantine period

8:15pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh reports one more death from coronavirus 

Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho confirmed another death from coronavirus, bumping the provincial death toll to nine.

The 59-year-old patient was a resident of Karachi and was brought to the hospital on March 19 after his return from Saudi Arabia.

The patient had a history of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and was on a ventilator since the first day.

07:15pm — Lahore, Pakistan — One man dies, Punjab tally stands at 748 

The spokesperson for the Punjab primary and secondary healthcare department has confirmed a rise in Punjab's cases, saying that they now stand at 748.

An 83-year-old patient is also reported to have died in Rawalpindi, taking the total number of deaths to 10.

There have been 5 recoveries in the province so far. A total of 16,061 tests have been carried out.

7:13pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh tally crosses 700

According to an update by the Sindh health department, the number of coronavirus cases in the province now stands at 709.

In a single day, Karachi has seen 33 new cases emerge.

Meanwhile, three patients are reported to have recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 55 in Sindh.

Currently, 307 are being treated for the disease.

So far 6, 948 tests have been carried out. So far, six deaths have occurred from the disease.

6:23pm - Rawalpindi, Pakistan — COAS visits National Command and Operation centre.

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednasday said that no segment of the society can be left at the mercy of the coronavirus pandemic.

The army chief passed the remarks while attending a special briefing at National Command and Operation Centre today.

According to the ISPR, the forum was briefed about latest situation on containment efforts and enforcement measures against COVID-19 and troops deployment across the country assisting Federal & Provincial administrations in aid of civil power.

The ISPR said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umer, Interior Minister Brig (retired) Ijaz Shah, Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar, Minister for Communications and Postal Services Murad Saeed, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Minister for National Food Security and Research Khusro Bakhtiar, Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi, SAPM on Finance & Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, SAPM for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, SAPM Health Dr Zafar Mirza, SAPM National Security Moeed Yousaf, SAPM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Sania Nishtar and other senior military officials attended the briefing.

6:16pm - NDMA carries out disinfection drive in Islamabad’s Bhara Kahu

6:12pm - Zurich, Switzerland — Swiss coronavirus death toll rises to 378, positive tests hit 17,139

The Swiss death toll from the coronavirus has reached 378, the country’s public health ministry said on Wednesday, rising from 373 people a day earlier as Switzerland prepares additional measures to mitigate the epidemic’s economic hit.

The number of positive tests also increased to 17,139 from 16,176 on Tuesday, the ministry added.

The Swiss government is preparing to expand an emergency liquidity programme for coronavirus-hit businesses, as banks have already handed out more than half of the 20 billion Swiss francs ($20.70 billion) set aside for state-backed loans.

6:10pm - Shehbaz wans NA speaker to form parliamentary oversight committee 

Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif has asked the speaker Asad Qaiser to form a parliamentary monitoring committee to ensure there is parliamentary oversight so the resources can be diverted with transparency.

The former Punjab chief minister also urged Spkeaer Qaiser to summon a meeting of the National Assembly on Health and Senate’s Coronavirus Health committee.

6:05pm - Ankara, Turkey — Erdogan says Turkey may need further measures if citizens ignore 'voluntary quarantine'

Turkey will have to take additional measures if the coronavirus outbreak widens and citizens don’t abide by a “voluntary quarantine,” President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.

Erdogan has stopped short of announcing a full lockdown across Turkey, mainly for economic reasons. He reiterated on Wednesday that Ankara was determined to continue production and exports.

05:51pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh minister regrets 'messy' distribution of ration packets by welfare organisation

Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani has regretted the way a welfare organisation distributed ration at Quaidabad "and created this mess", while responding to a video shared by journalist Zia Ur Rehman.

He said the organisation has been told to "immediately stop distributing ration in this manner".

05:06pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP reports 8 recoveries from quarantine camp

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has reported eight more recoveries, from the Dera Ismail Khan quarantine camp. This brings the total number of recoveries to 10.

05:00pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — PM urges youth to apply for Corona Relief Tigers force, do 'jihad' against suffering

Prime Minister Imran Khan has called on the youth to "play their role in helping our fight against the COVID 19".

He said that force will be organised "to do jihad against the suffering caused by this pandemic".

A link to the Pakistan Citizen Portal has also been shared.

4:48pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Complete provincial lockdown to be imposed on Friday from 12pm to 3pm

The Sindh government has decided to impose a complete provincial lockdown on Friday, from 12pm to 3pm, Advisor to the chief minister on law Murtaza Wahab said.

"Ulema have formed a consensus over limiting the Friday congregational prayers," he said, adding that commercial activities will also remain suspended during this time.

4:33pm - Beijing, China — Scientists seeking potential COVID-19 treatment find 'effective' antibodies

4:28pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — NA speaker summons parliamentary committee meeting on COVID-19

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has summoned a parliamentary committee meeting on coronavirus on April 6 to monitor the effects of the pandemic on the country.

Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Advisor to PM for Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood will give a briefing to the committee on the effects of the virus on the country's economy and the way forward.

State Minister of Health Dr Zafar Mirza and Chairman National Disaster Management Authority, Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal will also brief the committee.

The committee comprises 12 senators and 13 parliamentary leaders.

4:00pm - Moscow, Russia — Coronavirus tracking app unveiled as lockdown widens

Authorities in Moscow have unveiled a smartphone app designed to keep tabs on people who have been ordered to stay at home because of the coronavirus as Russia expanded its lockdown to cover more of its sprawling territory.

The app is still in testing, a city official, Eduard Lysenko told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

Moscow is also preparing to roll out a city-wide QR-code system where each resident that registers online will be assigned a unique code that they can show to police officers if stopped when going to the shop or the chemist, the official said.

3:55pm - Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab Police to provide rations to 20,000 families affected by virus lockdown

Inspector General (IG) Punjab Police Shoaib Dastgir on Wednesday shared a video statement in which he said that the provincial police force would provide rations to 20,000 underprivileged families affected by the lockdown implemented to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. 

"20,000 citizens from underprivileged families will be provided with ration bags for 15 days during the lockdown," he said in the statement. "Each bag will contain essentials for up to five persons," he added.

3:45pm - Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab CM Usman Buzdar visits 1,000-bed hospital

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Wednesday afternoon visited a 1,000-bed field hospital built at the Expo Centre in Lahore. 

The hospital has been set up in a record nine days and will cater exclusively to patients of the novel coronavirus.

3:40pm - Madrid, Spain — More than 100,000 cases reported

The number of cases of the coronavirus in Spain surpassed 100,000 while the number of fatalities reported overnight reached a new record, the country’s health ministry said, according to Reuters.

Overall fatalities caused by the disease rose to 9,053 from 8,189.

The daily death toll reached a record 864, though the increase was lower in percentage terms than during the previous days.

3:25pm - Karachi, Pakistan — 64% of confirmed virus cases in city are male, District East most affected by virus: sources

Sources told Geo News on Wednesday that 64.18% of the total confirmed coronavirus cases in Karachi are male and 35.82% are female. 

According to sources, of the 230 confirmed virus cases in Karachi, 68 belong to Saddar, 58 to Gulshan-e-Iqbal, 35 to North Nazimabad, and 17 to Gulberg.

Karachi's District East has 14% of the total coronavirus cases reported in the metropolis so far, show documents obtained by Geo News. 13% cases of the total cases have been reported from District Central, while 11% have been reported from District South so far. 

3:15pm - Lahore, Pakistan — Confirmed coronavirus cases in Punjab rise to 740, national tally increases to 2,081

The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Punjab rose to 740 on Wednesday afternoon, taking the national tally of confirmed cases to 2,081.

According to Musarrat Cheema, a spokesperson for the provincial government, 207 of the confirmed cases in Punjab are pilgrims housed in a quarantine facility at Dera Ghazi Khan.

91 cases have been confirmed in pilgrims houses at a facility in Multan, while 41 confirmed cases belong to a quarantine facility set up in Raiwind near Lahore.

The rest of the confirmed cases belong to other cities in the province. 

3:13pm - Paris, France — Do not be a fool this April fool's: UNESCO

3:02pm - Berlin, Germany — 5,453 additional cases reported, another 149 deaths

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen to 67,366 and 732 people have died of the disease, statistics from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed, according to Reuters.

Cases rose by 5,453 compared with the previous day while the death toll climbed by 149, the tally showed.

3:00pm - Peshawar, Pakistan — KP government grants pet, animal feed stores exemption from virus lockdown

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government on Wednesday granted pet stores and animal feed stores exemption from the lockdown imposed in the province to contain the spread of the coronavirus. 

2:55pm - London, United Kingdom — Take a look at the new temporary hospital for coronavirus patients in London

2:52pm - Jakarta, Indonesia —  149 new coronavirus infections confirmed, taking total to 1,677

Indonesia confirmed on Wednesday 149 new coronavirus infections, taking the total in the Southeast Asian country to 1,677, a health ministry official said.

Achmad Yurianto reported 21 new deaths from the virus, taking the total to 157, while 103 had recovered.

2:50pm - Manila, Philippines —  227 new coronavirus cases reported, eight more deaths

The Philippines recorded 227 new coronavirus cases and eight more deaths on Wednesday, the health ministry said.

The latest figures brought the total number of infections and deaths in the country to 2,311 and 96, respectively.

2:45pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — PM Imran appeals for donations to virus relief

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday appealed for donations to the virus relief efforts of the government in a message shared on social networking platform Twitter. 

"Prime Minister’s COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund-2020 has been set up to help us fight this pandemic. I want everyone to donate towards this fund which will be used to take care of all those who have been made destitute by the lockdown," he said.

"Send your tax deductible donation to Acc. No. 4162 786 786 National Bank of Pakistan Main Branch Karachi," he added. 

2:38pm - Prague, Czech Republic — Coronavirus infections top 3,000

The tally of coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic has exceeded 3,000 as the central European country ramps up testing and keeps strict measures in place to curb the outbreak, Reuters reported.

The country of 10.7 million people has seen the highest number of cases among the European Union’s eastern wing but far fewer than in western neighbours like Germany and Austria.

The growth rate of new cases has shown signs of slowing, however, and the government said on Monday it hoped to begin easing restrictions on daily life after the Easter holiday in April if the situation is under control.

2:30pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — Economic affairs minister Azhar thanks Japanese government for virus relief

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar on Wednesday thanked the Japanese government for providing $2 million in grant assistance to Pakistan through the United Nations for fighting the coronavirus epidemic in the country. 

"We are grateful to the Japanese government for providing $2 million in grant assistance through UNICEF and IOM to Pakistan for dealing with Covid-19," he said on Twitter. 

"In addition they have allocated Rs2.5 billion from their existing unspent grant funds in Pakistan towards health projects," he added.

2:25pm - Lahore, Pakistan — Government to deal strictly with hoarders amid virus crisis: Iqbal

Punjab Minister for Trade and Commerce Mian Aslam Iqbal on Wednesday said that hoarders and profiteers would be dealt with strictly by the government as it tackled the coronavirus outbreak in the province. 

The minister made the remarks while chairing a meeting to review issues related to the distribution and sale of essential items across the province.

2:15pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — Government to provide virus safety kits to journalists: Awan

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan on Wednesday said that the government would be providing safety kits to journalists working amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country. 

"On the directions of PM Imran, the safety kits will be provided to journalists working in virus-hit areas around the country," Awan said during a video conference with fellow cabinet members on Wednesday.

2:05pm - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates — Crown Prince MBZ records message for expatriates in UAE

2:00pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — FM Qureshi phones Saudi counterpart to discuss coronavirus pandemic

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday telephoned his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al-Saud and held a detailed discussion regarding the challenge posed by the coronavirus to the global community.

The Foreign Minister expressed deep grief and sorrow over the deaths of Saudi nationals due to the coronavirus and appreciated the timely steps taken by the Saudi government to contain the virus.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi also apprised the Saudi Foreign Minister about the steps taken by Pakistan to check the spread of the contagion, Radio Pakistan reported.

1:58pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Three more virus patients recover

Three more patients of the novel coronavirus have recovered from the illness in Sindh, according to Adviser to Chief Minister Sindh on Law and Environment Murtaza Wahab. 

"Another 3 patients have recovered and their corona virus test has come negative. Now the total number of recovered patients in Sindh stand at 54," he said on Wednesday. 

"People should learn that isolation or social distancing is the only cure to corona virus," he added.

1:45pm - Rawalpindi, Pakistan — Railways converts sleeper coaches into mobile isolation wards to tackle virus crisis

1:42pm - Rome, Italy — Italy's lockdown measures to be extended to April 13

Italy will extend anti-coronavirus lockdown restrictions imposed last month to April 13, health minister Roberto Speranza said, according to Reuters.

“We must not confuse the first positive signals with an 'all clear' signal. Data shows that we are on the right path and that the drastic decisions are bearing fruit,” Speranza said.

The health minister added that the “battle [against the virus] is still very long".

1:39pm - New York, United States — New York's Empire State Building lit up like an ambulance siren amid virus outbreak

1:35pm - New Delhi, India — Indian PM Modi discusses COVID-19 situation with French President Macron

As the number of coronavirus cases are on the rise worldwide, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday had a telephonic conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron. 

Both the leaders discussed domestic and international aspects of the crisis and underlined importance of global collaboration and solidarity. 

On phone, both the leaders agreed that medical expert teams of both countries would actively share information on measures to prevent the spread of COVID19.

1:30pm - Rawalpindi, Pakistan — China gave priority to Pakistan soon after controlling the coronavirus outbreak: PM Imran

Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday that China gave priority to Pakistan with medical assistance for the coronavirus pandemic as soon as it brought the outbreak in its territories under control.

The prime minister was addressing a gathering today where he said that the worldwide demand for healthcare staff and material had shot up in the wake of the pandemic.

The prime minister lauded China for lending medical assistance and supplies to Pakistan to help curb the disease. PM Imran also paid tribute to doctors, nurses and medical staff fighting on the frontlines in Pakistan.

1:20pm - Survivors of virus recount their experiences 

12:51pm - Gilgit, Pakistan — GB governor approves summary granting country's highest civil award to Osama Riaz 

Governor Gilgit Baltistan Raja Jalal Hussain on Wednesday approved a summary requesting that Osama Riaz, the Pakistani doctor who passed away from the coronavirus earlier this month, be given Pakistan’s highest civil award.

Osama Riaz, a young physician, became the first Pakistani doctor to die of COVID-19 last week after contracting the virus while screening pilgrims returning from Iran.

12:51pm - Bangkok, Thailand — Thailand confirms 120 new coronavirus cases, two more deaths

Thailand confirmed 120 new coronavirus cases and two more deaths on Wednesday, said a spokesman of the government’s Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration.

The new figures brought the total number of infections in the Southeast Asian country to 1,771 and 12 fatalities.

The two new deaths included a 79-year-old Thai man from a southern province who attended a wedding in Malaysia in early March and a 58-year-old businessman who returned from England last month, spokesman Taweesin Wisanuyothin said.

12:48pm - Muzaffarabad, Pakistan – Nationwide tally rises to 2,049

Three new cases of coronavirus were recorded in Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, taking the region’s tally to nine.

AJK Deputy Commissioner said the two of the cases belonged to the Bhambore area while the third was recorded in Trarkhel.

The number of cases in Pakistan now stands at 2,049.

12:44pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — Nationwide tally of confirmed cases rises to 2,046

The nationwide tally of positive cases rose to 2,046 after 13 new cases were reported across the country on Wednesday.

11:50am - Beijing, China — 61 new virus cases reported

China reported on Wednesday a fall in new confirmed coronavirus cases, with almost all cases imported from overseas.

China had 36 new cases on Tuesday, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday, down from 48 a day earlier

11:42am - Wellington, New Zealand — 61 new virus cases amid lockdown

New Zealand has reported 61 new cases of the coronavirus, but said it was too early to assess if the lower number of cases this week meant the nationwide lockdown measures were working, Reuters reported.

“It that might seem a heartening number relative to some of the other figures we have had now [but] I want to emphasise it’s too early to assess if our measures are successfully slowing Covid-19,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a news conference.

11:35am - Islamabad, Pakistan — Lockdown increasing difficulties for people: JI leader

Senior leader of Jamat-e-Islami, Liaquat Baloch, on Wednesday morning said that the lockdown imposed in different parts of Pakistan to contain the spread of the coronavirus was increasing difficulties for the people.

"Prime Minister Imran Khan sometimes says that there will be a nation-wide lockdown, and sometimes says that there will not be a nation-wide lockdown amid the virus crisis," Baloch said while distributing rations to people affected by the lockdown.

"The lockdown has already adversely affected the life of a common man in Pakistan and is increasing difficulties for the people at large," he added.

11:18am - Rawalpindi, Pakistan — PM Imran to inaugurate upgrade project at hospital

Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the Cantonment General Hospital, Rawalpindi upgradation project today.

The Prime Minister will visit different sections of the hospital and review the facilities there, according to Radio Pakistan.

11:05am - Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan — First two virus cases in city confirmed

The district administration of Dera Ismail (DI) Khan on Wednesday confirmed the first coronavirus cases in the area. DI Khan Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Umair confirmed the development.

"The confirmed cases are of a brother and sister in DI Khan who do not have foreign travel history. 12 people who came into contact with the patients have been quarantined," he said.

10:55am - Bahawalnagar, Pakistan — Residents claim wheat shortage in area

Residents of Bahawalnagar on Wednesday claimed that there was a wheat shortage in the city amid a lockdown in the area to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

"People have formed long lines on the entrance of Utility Stores to get wheat that is being sold at exuberant prices in the open market amid a shortage," a local resident told Geo News on Wednesday morning.

10:47am - Islamabad, Pakistan — High court dismisses petition seeking return of Pakistani pilgrims from Iran

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking the return of Pakistani pilgrims stuck across the border in Iran amid the coronavirus crisis that has engulfed the region and the wider world.

Chief Justice IHC Athar Minallah dismissed the petition and requested the petitioner have faith in the government that was doing everything it can to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country. 

The petition had been submitted to the high court by religious scholar Syed Nasir Abbas Shirazi.

10:45am - Lahore, Pakistan — Government taking difficult decisions for protection of people: Sarwar

Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar on Wednesday said that the government was being forced to take difficult decisions for the protection of the people amid the coronavirus crisis in the country. 

Talking to the media in Lahore on Wednesday morning, Sarwar said that people should maintain social distancing to defeat the coronavirus. "The government is making efforts to provide rations to the underprivileged in this time of crisis," the governor said.

10:40am - Washington, United States — Total cases near 200,000 as death toll tops 4,000

By early Wednesday morning, the number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States neared 200,000 across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands.

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 189,510 confirmed US cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 4,076 deaths. 

US cases now outnumber those in any other nation by wide margins, including the 105,792 reported in Italy and the 95,923 confirmed in Spain.

10:35am - Beijing, China — China starts to report asymptomatic coronavirus cases

According to Reuters, Chinese health authorities have began reporting asymptomatic cases of the coronavirus as part of an effort to allay public fears that people could be spreading the virus without knowing they are infected with it.

Up to now, the number of known asymptomatic cases has been classified, and it is not included in the official data, though the South China Morning Post newspaper, citing unpublished official documents, recently said it was more than 40,000.

In an effort to dispel public fears about hidden cases of the virus, the government has this week ordered health authorities to turn their attention to finding asymptomatic cases and releasing their data on them.

10:25am - Washington, United States — US, Pakistan share commitment to serving communities, says Wells

United States (US) Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells on Wednesday said that the US and Pakistan shared a deep commitment to volunteering and serving their communities. 

In a message shared on social networking platform Twitter, Wells also lauded the philanthropic efforts of Pakistani welfare activist Sundus Khattak, who is helping provide medical supplies to doctors fighting the coronavirus epidemic in the country.

10:20am - Peshawar, Pakistan — KP minister Jhagra thanks 'hero' doctors leading virus fight

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Minister for Health and Finance Taimur Jhagra on Wednesday thanked the medical community for stepping forward to treat coronavirus patients across the province.

"Once again on behalf of CM Mehmood Khan, and the KP govt, I thank the entire medical community and all first responders for being on the front line. You are our heroes," he wrote on Twitter.

10:15am - Lahore, Pakistan — 1,000-bed hospital at Expo Centre ready for patients

The Punjab government on Wednesday said that a 1,000-bed hospital had been set up at the Expo Centre in Lahore to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. The hospital was setup in nine days, the provincial administration said in a post on Twitter. 

"This hospital will cater exclusively to coronavirus patients. Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar will visit the hospital today," the post read.

10:10am - Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab government reviews virus situation

The Punjab government on Wednesday reviewed the coronavirus situation in the province at a meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Secretary Azam Suleman in Lahore. 

Suleman said that agricultural products would be exempt from a virus lockdown enforced in the province to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

On the directions of the chief secretary, committees were also formed to provide personal protective equipment to doctors across the province as they treat suspected and confirmed cases of the virus.

10:00am - Karachi, Pakistan — Karachi enters 10th straight day under virus lockdown

Markets across Karachi remained shut on Wednesday morning as the city entered a tenth straight day under lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Public transport in the city was restricted, and pillion riding banned. However, general stores, petrol stations, and pharmacies remained open to cater to essential needs of citizens. 

9:58am - New York, United States — Coronavirus worst crisis since WWII, says UN chief

The extraordinary economic and political upheaval spurred by the virus presents a real danger to the relative peace the world has seen over the last few decades, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, according to AFP.

"The disease represents a threat to everybody in the world and an economic impact that will bring a recession that probably has no parallel in the recent past," he noted.

"The combination of the two facts and the risk that it contributes to enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict are things that make us believe that this is the most challenging crisis we have faced since World War II,” he added.

9:55am - Washington, United States — China ground zero lockdown may have prevented 70,000 virus cases

China's decision to lock down the city of Wuhan, ground zero for the global COVID-19 pandemic, may have prevented more than 700,000 new cases by delaying the spread of the virus, researchers said Tuesday.

Drastic Chinese control measures in the first 50 days of the epidemic bought other cities across the country valuable time to prepare and install their own restrictions, according to the paper by researchers in China, the United States and the UK, published in the journal Science.

By day 50 of the epidemic - February 19 - there were 30,000 confirmed cases in China, said Oxford fellow Christopher Dye, one of the paper's authors.

9:50am - Los Angeles, United States — California to release 3,500 non-violent prison inmates

The prison system in the largest US state of California plans to release about 3,500 non-violent inmates early to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 illness, officials said Tuesday.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) said the first group of inmates released will be those with less then 30 days to serve, followed by those with fewer than 60 days of their sentences left.

Other US jurisdictions, including the state of New Jersey and some cities, have announced similar measures. US Attorney General Bill Barr last week said he told federal prisons to free some inmates to lessen the impact of the pandemic, with possibly 2,000 inmates eligible.

9:45am - Quetta, Pakistan — Markets shut, streets deserted

Markets across Quetta were shut on Wednesday morning and the streets presented a deserted look as the coronavirus lockdown in the provincial capital continued for a second straight week.

9:39am - Islamabad, Pakistan — Developing nations cannot cope with virus health crisis: FM Qureshi

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday said that developing nations were not in any position to cope with the health crisis arising from a spike in coronavirus cases. 

Talking to Geo Pakistan, the foreign minister said that the virus seemed to be having more of an impact in Europe and the United States as compared to Pakistan. 

"The debt repayments of developing nations should be rescheduled in the wake of the coronavirus crisis," FM Qureshi said. "The United Nations also supports this," he added.

9:33am - Karachi, Pakistan — Danger of virus spreading in large congregations: Ghani

Sindh Minister for Education and Labour Saeed Ghani on Wednesday said that the provincial government was taking measures to tackle the spread of the coronavirus in Sindh.

Commenting on the recent spike in confirmed virus cases, largely as a result of the positive virus tests of several members of a religious gathering, Ghani said that there was a danger of the virus spreading wherever people gathered in large numbers. 

9:25am - Multan, Pakistan — Section 144 restrictions relaxed to facilitate pensioners 

The Multan administration has decided to relax Section 144 restrictions in the city from 8am to 2pm for Wednesday. The relaxation was made to facilitate pensioners on the first of April. 

The city had been placed under a virtual lockdown earlier this month to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. More than 700 cases of the virus have been confirmed across Punjab. 

Multan Commissioner on Wednesday morning confirmed that the restrictions were being relaxed, telling the media that the post office staff delivering pensions would be exempt from Section 144 restrictions.

9:15am - Washington, United States — Trump wants US to be geared up for 'very painful weeks'

President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned of a "very painful" two weeks as the United States wrestles with a coronavirus surge that the White House warns could kill as many as 240,000 Americans.

"This is going to be a very painful, a very, very painful two weeks," Trump told a press conference at the White House. Trump described the pandemic as "a plague."

"I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead," he said. Top health experts said that the decision to maintain strict social distancing was the only way to stop the easily transmitted virus, even if this has caused massive disruption to the economy with three quarters of Americans under some form of lockdown.

9:12am - London, United Kingdom — UK reports record 381 coronavirus deaths

Britain has reported a record daily coronavirus toll of 381, including a 13-year-old boy, more than double the number of nationwide deaths posted in the previous 24 hours, AFP reported.

The boy, who died on Monday at King's College Hospital in London, is believed to be Britain's youngest confirmed death in the coronavirus pandemic, with relatives saying he had no underlying illnesses.

Some 25,150 people have now tested positive for the virus in Britain, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

12:30am - Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab overtakes Sindh once more with total tally at 708

According to an update by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, of the 708 total cases in the province, 337 are from quarantine facilities in Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Raiwind and Faisalabad.

"Nine precious lives have been lost and one critical patient is being treated to the best," he wrote late Tuesday.

12:28am - Karachi, Pakistan — Hyderabad has 128 confirmed virus cases: spokesperson

Hyderabad has a total of 128 cases of which 94 are from the Tableeghi Jamaat, said a health department spokesperson early Wednesday. 

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