Coronavirus updates, April 3: Latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from Pakistan and around the world

Nationwide tally of confirmed cases cross 2,500, global coronavirus deaths surge past 52,000, declared cases surpass 1 million

Web Desk

KARACHI / LAHORE / ISLAMABAD / PESHAWAR / QUETTA: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 2,640 on Friday after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The province-wise break up of the total number of cases as of 10:28pm, April 3, is as follows:

Total confirmed cases: 2,640

• Sindh: 783

• Punjab: 1,069

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 343

• Balochistan: 175

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 68

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 193

• AJK: 9

Deaths: 40

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 11 

• Sindh: 14

• Balochistan: 1

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 3

• Punjab: 11

The worldwide number of officially confirmed fatalities from the novel coronavirus rose to 52,000 on Friday, according to a tally compiled by AFP from official sources.

More than 1 million declared cases have been registered in 200 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China in December. Of these cases, at least 182,700 are now considered recovered.

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


12:20am (April 4) — Pakistan's total infected tally surges past 2,500

After the rise in the number of cases in Punjab, Pakistan's tally shot up from 2,499 to 2,640. There have been a total of 136 recoveries so far and 40 deaths from the outbreak in Pakistan.

12:19am (April 4) — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab tally crosses 1,000-mark

Punjab now has 1,069 confirmed cases, according to Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. Of these, 563 are under quarantine and 506 are non-quarantined.

One patient is critical and six have recovered.

11:25pm — Istanbul, Turkey — Erdogan issues confinement order for under-20s

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has issued a mandatory confinement order for everyone aged under 20 starting from midnight, as part of tougher measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus in Turkey, AFP reported.

In a television address, Erdogan also announced that vehicles would no longer be able to leave or enter 31 towns and cities, including Istanbul and Ankara, for 15 days.

People aged over 65 or those with chronic medical conditions are already subject to mandatory confinement in Turkey.

"Throughout the country, people aged under 20, that is to say born after January 1, 2000, will not be allowed to go out on the street" from midnight on Friday, Erdogan said.

Also, from Saturday, all those going out to shops or markets will be obliged to wear a face mask, the Turkish leader added, calling on the population to maintain a distance of "three paces" from each other when outside.

Turkey has registered over 20,000 coronavirus cases, 425 of which have been fatal.

11:03pm — Paris, France — France reports record 588 more deaths

France has reported 588 more coronavirus deaths in hospital, its biggest 24-hour toll in the country since the epidemic began, according to AFP.

The new deaths brought to 5,091 the total number of people who have died in hospital of COVID-19 in France, top health official Jerome Salomon told reporters.

There is no daily toll for those who have died of COVID-19 in old people´s homes in France. But Salomon said that a total of 1,416 people had died in such establishments from COVID-19 during the epidemic. This brings the total French toll to at least 6,507.

France has been in lockdown since March 17 in a bid to slow the spread of the epidemic, with only essential trips allowed outside that have to be justified with a signed piece of paper.

10:28pm — Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan — Region reports rise in cases by 3

Three more cases have been reported from Gilgit-Baltistan, taking the region's tally to 193, the region's information department has said.

Of these, there have been nine recoveries and three deaths.

The three new cases are from Astore, Nagar and Gilgit.

10:15pm — Karachi, Pakistan — One more death in Sindh

Minister for Health & Population Welfare Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho has confirmed 1 death in Hyderabad.

The patients was 54 years old and was tested positive today. It was a case of local transmission. 

"The patient had a neurological disorder which affected his immune system," said a statement by the department.

This brings the total number of deaths in Sindh to 14.

10:05pm — Paris, France — Coronavirus death toll in Europe tops 40,000: AFP tally

The new coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 40,000 people in Europe, more than three-quarters of them in Italy, Spain and France, according to a report compiled by AFP from official sources at 1620 GMT on Friday.

With a total of 40,768 deaths (out of 574,525 cases), Europe is the continent hardest hit by COVID-19.

Italy and Spain are the worst affected countries in the world with 14,681 and 10,935 deaths respectively, while France has registered 5,387 fatalities.

Sindh information minister's appeal to Tableeghi Jamaat members 

09:59pm — Washington, USA — Trump, Macron urge 'increase (in) UN cooperation' on coronavirus: White House

US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have called for a bigger role for the United Nations in battling the global coronavirus pandemic, the White House said.

Trump and Macron spoke by phone and "discussed convening P5 leaders soon to increase UN cooperation on defeating the pandemic and ensuring international peace and security," the White House press office said.

The P5, or permanent five members of the UN Security Council, are Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

09:47pm — Quetta, Pakistan — Balochistan tally hits 175; 9 doctors among 38 new cases

Balochistan has 175 confirmed cases, government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani has said.

38 new cases have emerged, including nine doctors. The total death tally is 1 and there have been 19 recoveries.

Currently, there are 155 patients under treatment.

09:30pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP reports two more deaths, total infected tally hits 343

The province's focal person on the coronavirus, Zain Raza has  just shared news that two people, a 45-year-old and a 65-year-old passed away from districts Swat and Mansehra.

The total number of deaths in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa now stand at 11. 30 people are said to have recovered.

KP has a total of 343 cases, with an increase of 32 in the last 24 hours.

07:40pm — London, UK — UK PM Johnson continues self-isolation

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he would continue his self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, following a week of staying at home and working remotely.

Johnson, 55, became the most high-profile world leader to contract the virus when he announced he had tested positive last Friday.

He has been working from a flat above his Downing Street offices since then, and had been expected to re-emerge on Friday.

But he said in a video message on Twitter: "In my own case, although I'm feeling better and I have done my seven days of isolation, alas, I still have one of the minor symptoms... a temperature.

"So, in accordance with government advice, I must continue my self-isolation until that symptom itself goes."

07:35pm — United Nations, USA — 'Worst yet to come' for countries in conflict, says UN chief

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has renewed his call for a global ceasefire, urging all parties to conflict to lay down arms and allow war-torn nations to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

"The worst is yet to come," Guterres said, referring to countries beset with fighting like Syria, Libya and Yemen.

"The COVID-19 storm is now coming to all these theatres of conflict."

07:33pm — London, UK — UK reports record 684 COVID-19 new deaths in 24 hours

Britain has reported a record 684 new COVID-19 deaths in its daily update, as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus climbed by 4,450 on the previous 24 hours.

"As of 9am (0800 GMT) 3 April, a total of 173,784 people have been tested of which 38,168 tested positive. As of 5pm on 2 April, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 3,605 have sadly died," the health ministry said in a statement.

07:30pm — London, UK — Queen Elizabeth II to make special broadcast on coronavirus

Queen Elizabeth II will make a special broadcast this weekend to Britain and the Commonwealth on the coronavirus pandemic, the Buckingham Palace has said.

"The televised address will be broadcast at 8pm (1900 GMT) on Sunday 5th April, 2020. The address was recorded at Windsor Castle," a statement said. The queen, 93, has made only three other special addresses during national crises in her 68-year reign.

WHO reminds people staying at home to 'stay healthy'

7:00pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP extends public holidays from April 6 to April 11

The KP government has notified an extension in public holidays from April 6-11 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extension does not apply to essential services which will continue to operate, said the notice.

6:00pm - Peshawar, Pakistan — KP govt appoins new health secretary amid crisis 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has appointed Syed Imtiaz Hussain Shah as the new health secretary and transferred incumbent Yahya Akhunzada as the information secretary of the province, tweeted health minister Taimur Khan Jhagra.

5:54pm - Multan, Pakistan — More than 1,100 people to leave quarantine centre  

District authorities in Multan have announced that the process to send more than 1,100 people in the quarantine centre back to their homes is underway.

The officials said that the people were being sent after they completed their 14-day quarantine centre and were healthy.

5:45pm - Zurich, Switzerland — Swiss coronavirus death toll rises to 484, cases jump by more than 1,000

The Swiss death toll from coronavirus has reached 484, the country’s public health ministry said on Friday, rising from 432 people on Thursday.

The number of people who have tested positive for infections also increased to 19,303 from 18,267 on Thursday, it said.

5:40pm - Hanoi, Vietnam — Vietnam's total coronavirus cases rise to 237, no deaths: health ministry

Vietnam’s health ministry reported 10 more coronavirus cases on Friday, taking the tally to 237.

More than 73,000 coronavirus tests have been carried out in Vietnam, it said, and 72,942 people have been placed under quarantine. The health ministry has not reported any coronavirus deaths in the country.

5:35pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — PM Imran announces package for construction industry 

PM Imran Khan has announced a package for the construction industry to ensure that the daily-wage earners of the sector remain employed during the lockdown.

The prime minister announced that he’s giving the sector the status of an industry and announced a board for the industry to promote the sector. PM Imran also announced that a fix tax rate will be kept for the industry.

Read more here.

5:30pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — PM Imran visits National Command and Operation Centre 

Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the National Command and Operation Centre and was briefed on the situation about the coronavirus in the country.

PM Imran was briefed on the latest update regarding the situation in the country by federal minister Asad Umar and Director General Operations and Planning NCOC Major General Asif Mehmood Goraya. Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa also accompanied PM Imran on his visit.

5:06pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Cases rising at a fast pace in Pakistan: CM Sindh

If we look at the world then the coronavirus cases in Pakistan are increasing at a faster rate, said Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

“We have had an 87% rise in cases. We have done very few tests,” said the CM, adding that if these tests are increased then the cases may be more than what they are right now.

“We have to increase our testing capability and stop the spread of the coronavirus,” said Shah.

4:57pm - Moscow, Russia — Russian PM says coronavirus situation could become 'worst case scenario'

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Friday said the coronavirus situation in Russia could yet develop into a worst case scenario, and that the epidemic has not peaked there yet.

“It is clear that the peak of infections has not yet passed, and we can’t rule out the situation developing into the most difficult scenario,” said Mishustin.

4:51pm - Lahore, Pakistan — Restaurants, petrol pumps to remain open on highways 

Punjab government has allowed petrol pumps, restaurants and auto workshop to remain open on the highways, said a notification issued by the provincial government. 

4:44pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — Ehsaas emergency cash application web-portal now open 

4:43pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — NIH holds capacity building session for volunteers

4:40pm - London, United Kingdom — UK peak of coronavirus outbreak could be Easter Sunday: health minister

The deadliest peak of Britain’s coronavirus outbreak could be on Easter Sunday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday.

When asked about reports that the death rate could peak on April 12, Hancock told Sky: “I defer to the scientists on the exact predictions, I’m not going to steer you away from that. That is one perfectly possible outcome.”

Reuters reported on Thursday that the British government’s worst case scenario envisaged the COVID-19 death toll of 50,000 if self-isolation was not fully adhered to and that the worst day for deaths was projected to be April 12.

4:38pm - Sindh government spokesperson thanks businessman for donation 

4:36pm - Lahore, Pakistan — PPP asks workers not to hold public gatherings on death anniversary of party founder

Pakistan Peoples Party leader Qamar Zaman Kaira urged the party workers to not hold any public gatherings on the death anniversary of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Kaira asked the party workers to distribute food amongst the needy in memory of the party founder.

4:33pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — WB, govt sign $200 million agreement

World Bank and federal government on Friday signed an agreement under which the former would provide $200 million to help the country improves its coronavirus response, said Economic Affairs Minister Hammad Azhar.

“The sum shall be utilised for emergency preparedness/response, emergency cash transfers to poor, emergency food supplies for quarantined populations, mitigation of impacts in education,” said the minister

4:20pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Countrywide death toll rises to 37

The countrywide death toll from the coronavirus rose to 37 after two new deaths were reported in Sindh.

Provincial health minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said the patients were 82 and 60-year-old and were tested positive on Wednesday. She added that the cases were of local transmission. 

"The 60 year old patient had heart problems and was ventilator whereas the 82 year old patient had renal problems. This brings the total number of deaths in Sindh to 13," said the minister.

4:12pm - Riga, Latvia — Latvia reports first death of a COVID-19 patient: health ministry

Latvia reported its first death of a patient infected with the new coronavirus on Friday, when a 99-year-old woman died in a hospital in Riga, the health ministry said.

“The Ministry of Health confirms that the first patient diagnosed with COVID-19 has died in Latvia today,” it said in a statement, adding that the infection was not the cause of the patient’s death but rather her other underlying chronic illnesses.

According to the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Latvia has 493 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.

4:00pm - Lahore, Pakistan — PML-N to distribute protective kits among people

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shehbaz Sharif has announced that his party will distribute 100,000 protective kits to the people. He added that during the campaign the party will distribute gloves, masks and sanitizers to the people.

The former Punjab chief minister said that the campaigns objective is to prepare the nation against coronavirus.

3:48pm - Chinese university gives epidemic prevention material to Pakistan 

3:38pm - Berlin, Germany — Merkel ends her self-quarantine, returns to chancellery

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has ended her self-quarantine and returned to the chancellery on Friday after testing negative for coronavirus several times, her spokesman said.

Merkel had been self-quarantining and working from home after receiving a vaccination on March 20 from a doctor who was later found to have coronavirus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karachi police have arrested the Imam of the mosque in Karachi’s Liaqatabad area who tried to hold Friday prayers and defy government orders.

The police said that two policemen were manhandled by the residents after they were provoked against the law enforcing agency, adding that the policemen were saved after a citizen provided shelter to them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more here.

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

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

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

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

2:30pm - New York, United States — UN adopts resolution calling for 'cooperation' on virus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1:25pm - Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab Health Minister Yasmin Rashid shares breakup of tests in Punjab 

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

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

Read more here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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