Punjab govt suspends shab-e-baraat prayers in mosques after nationwide tally crosses 4,000; global coronavirus deaths surge past 75,000
Updated Tuesday Apr 07 2020
KARACHI / LAHORE / ISLAMABAD / PESHAWAR / QUETTA: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 4,007 on Tuesday after new infections were confirmed in the country.
The province-wise break up of the total number of cases as of 08:49pm, April 7, is as follows:
Total confirmed cases: 4,007
• Sindh: 986
• Punjab: 2,004
• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 500
• Balochistan: 204
• Islamabad Capital Territory: 83
• Gilgit-Baltistan: 212
• AJK: 18
• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 17
• Sindh: 18
• Balochistan: 1
• Gilgit-Baltistan: 3
• Punjab: 15
• Islamabad Capital Territory: 1
The worldwide number of officially confirmed fatalities from the novel coronavirus now stands at above 75,000, according to a AFP tally.
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 253,000 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
Punjab government spokesperson Musarrat Cheema has said that in light of the constant spike in coronavirus cases, the Auqaf department has decided to suspend congregational prayers in mosques on the occasion of shab-e-baraat.
"All citizens are requested to pray at home to Allah to bring us out of this difficult times," said Cheema.
New York state, the US epicentre of the coronavirus, is nearing a plateau in number of patients hospitalised, Governor Andrew Cuomo has said, a hopeful sign even as deaths in his state and neighboring New Jersey hit single-day highs.
In addition, the US surgeon general said the pandemic may kill fewer Americans than had been projected.
France has crossed the threshold of 10,000 deaths due to the coronavirus, with 7,091 recorded in hospital and 3,237 in old age homes, a government official said Tuesday.
A total of 7,131 people were being treated in intensive care, top health official Jerome Salomon told journalists, warning that "the epidemic is continuing its progression."
Gilgit-Baltistan information adviser Shams Mir has said that the region currently has 165 active cases and has been conducting 100 tests on a daily basis.
Mir said distribution of food packages has begun for affected families, with the first phase launched in Nagar.
A total of 122 travellers who had been put into isolation have also been sent home.
The Punjab government has exclusively allocated the Ganga Ram Hospital in Lahore for the "treatment, care and support of COVID-19 pregnant women", said the province's health department.
Sindh minister for women development Syeda Shehla Raza has said that the Sindh government spokesperson has "strongly rejected claims" that there an extension in the lockdown period till April 21 has been announced.
As many as 68% Pakistanis feel a nationwide coronavirus lockdown is the need of the hour. The most number of supporters came from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (89%) and Punjab (73%).
Males were slightly more supportive of the lockdown than females (71% vs 65%) and people either under 30 or more than 50 years of age were more supportive than those between 30 and 50 years old.
A survey by Gallup Pakistan has revealed that four out of five Pakistanis feel their jobs or businesses are at risk by the coronavirus. As many as 69% even say they are highly threatened.
The new coronavirus could eventually infect between 10,000 and 200,000 people in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom’s health minister has said, urging the public to adhere more closely to state directives against mixing and movement.
According to Reuters, the country of some 30 million has so far reported 2,795 cases and 41 deaths, the highest in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), despite halting all passenger flights, suspending most commercial activities and imposing a 24-hour curfew in major cities including the capital Riyadh.
“We stand today at a decisive moment as a society in raising our sense of responsibility and contributing together with determination to stop the spread of this pandemic,” Health Minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah said in a rare televised address.
German airline group Lufthansa has said it is shutting down its low-cost Germanwings unit and getting rid of dozens of planes to survive the economic impact of the coronavirus on the aviation industry.
"Germanwings flight operations will be discontinued," Lufthansa said in a statement after a meeting of the group´s executive board. It did not give details about job losses, but said talks with unions "are to be arranged quickly".
More than 40 aircraft will be withdrawn to reduce the group´s fleet size, it added.
"It will take months until the global travel restrictions are completely lifted and years until the worldwide demand for air travel returns to pre-crisis levels," it said.
Britain has reported a record 786 new COVID-19 deaths in its daily update, following two days of falling figures.
"As of 5pm on 6 April, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 6,159 have sadly died," the health ministry tweeted, up from 5,373 on Monday.
The number of cases in Gilgit-Baltistan has risen by one to 212. The region has also reported 28 more recoveries, taking the total number to 43.
Murtaza Wahab, who is the law adviser to the Sindh chief minister, has shared statistics that are a grim reminder of the devastation the coronavirus has caused in Pakistan but to which most citizens remain oblivious.
Wahab said that the country's first case surfaced on February 26, and the 1,000th patient was reported after a period of 29 days.
The subsequent jumps to 2,000 and 3,000 came much faster, with very few days in between. Pakistan went from 1,000 to 2,000 in seven days and from 2,000 to 3,000 in five days.
"This is how serious the situation is," said the senator. "Please wake up before it's too late."
New York state has recorded its highest number of COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours, Governor Andrew Cuomo has said, adding though that hospitalisations appeared to be "plateauing."
Cuomo said 731 people succumbed to the new coronavirus on Monday, bringing the state's total death toll to 5,489. The previous single-day record was 630, set on Friday.
Punjab health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid has inaugurated an isolation ward dedicated to the memory of Dr Osama Riaz from Gilgit-Baltistan who became the first doctor from the country to die from the coronavirus.
The ward is located at Social Security Hospital in Lahore.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health minister Taimur Khan Jhagra has shared the good news of the release of 130 pilgrims from the Peshawar quarantine camp.
"130 Zaireen including men, women and kids with smiling faces, provided sweetmeats, petals and transportation to go home after 14 days of quarantine in Peshawar.
"These are our small victories during the #coronavirus pandemic!" he wrote.
A notification by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has revealed that grocery stores, medicine shops and those selling essential items "shall remain open 24/7".
Then notice says all other shops, barbers, and beauty parlours will remain closed till April 14.
A Corps Commanders Conference in Rawalpindi has paid tribute to those on the frontline of the coronavirus battle.
According to a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), doctors, paramedics, health care workers and law enforcement agencies were lauded "for braving this pandemic under [a] challenging environment".
Over the course of the meeting, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa directed directed all commanders to provide "maximum assistance" in moving critical resources to far-flung areas including Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, interior Sindh and Balochistan.
Gen Bajwa told the commanders that every citizen counts as the country strives to "scale" the ongoing calamity.
"Being a nation with vibrant youth and resilient people ready to share & sacrifice, we will emerge stronger from this challenge," said the army chief.
Federal minister Asad Umar said on Tuesday that health is a devolved subject and the federal government is doing all it can for the provinces.
The minister also said that the government provided kits to the provinces but now it will provide them directly so there are no delays. He added that this process will start from tomorrow and the federal government has identified 400 hospitals that will be provided with the PPEs.
Lahore College for Women University gave a cheque of Rs 1.5 million to the Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Fund.
Vice-Chancellor of the college Dr Bushra Mirza presented the cheque to Governor Punjab Chaudhry Sarwar. The sum was gathered after college professors contributed their day’s salary to help the government fight the pandemic.
The countrywide tally of positive cases rose to 4,006 after two new cases were reported in Balochistan.
According to the provincial government spokesperson, they had recieved 65 reports of suspected coronavirus cases and two of the them came out as positive. He added that both cases were of local transmission.
The number of confirmed new coronavirus cases in the Netherlands rose by 777 to 19,580, health authorities said on Tuesday, as a slowing trend in the rate of increase continued.
Deaths increased by 234 to 2,101, the Netherlands’ Institute for Health said in its daily update, though it underlined that the death figures it reports on Tuesdays include some patients who died over the weekend and were reported later.
Governor Sindh Imran Ismail offered to provide a truck of ration to the Methodist Church in Pakistan on Easter. The governor assured of the help in a meeting with a delegation of the Methodist church in Pakistan.
Sweden on Tuesday reported another 114 deaths from the new coronavirus, bringing the total to 591 in a country that has adopted a softer approach to containing the spread of the disease.
Sweden´s Public Health Agency said it had recorded a total of 7,693 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country of around 10 million people, adding that some of the newly recorded deaths were due to revised figures from previous days.
PIA spokesperson has said that 13 pilots have agreed to perform their duties and will be brought Islamabad in a special flight.
According to the spokesperson the pilots will bring back stranded Pakistanis back home.
Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar announced that his government can carry out 3,100 coronavirus tests daily. He added that in the coming weeks the testing capacity for the province will reach to 5,000.
Buzdar also announced that labs are being set up in different districts and urged the administration to open eight more labs in the province.
Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah asked the private hospitals to help the government in the fight against coronavirus.
The CM appealed to the owners and CEOs’ of private hospitals in a meeting on Tuesday. He said that he needed their guidance in the fight against the coronavirus.
During the meeting the private hospital owners and doctors recommended the CM to increase the lockdown in the province.
The UN Security Council will on Thursday hold its first meeting on the coronavirus pandemic — by videoconference — after weeks of divisions among its five permanent members, diplomats said on Monday.
Last week, exasperated by the back-and-forth that has paralysed the council, including between China and the United States, nine of the 10 non-permanent members formally requested a meeting featuring a presentation by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
"Meeting confirmed for Thursday," one diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity. It was to be held behind closed doors at 3:00 pm (1900 GMT).
It's not yet clear what form the meeting will take, or what could be accomplished: will the member nations show unity in the fact of a global crisis and a willingness to cooperate, or proceed with a settling of scores?
The New York-based Security Council has been teleworking since March 12 as the new coronavirus spreads rapidly in the city.
China on Tuesday reported no new coronavirus deaths for the first time since it started publishing figures in January, just a day before it plans to lift travel curbs from the contagion's epicentre of Wuhan.
The twin milestones illustrate the progress China says it has made in its all-consuming battle against the pandemic, which originated in Wuhan and spread throughout the country and the world.
But the announcement comes as suspicions linger that the ruling Communist Party government — already accused of bungling the initial response to the outbreak — continues to intentionally under-report the real number of deaths and infections.
China denies the suggestion.
Beijing imposed an unprecedented lockdown on tens of millions of people in Wuhan and the rest of Hubei province in late January in a bid to smother the virus, and the number of new domestic infections has dwindled for weeks.
Relief has been tempered, however, by caution over new risks: rising numbers of infected people arriving from abroad, and the invisible threat of asymptomatic cases.
Japan on Tuesday declared a state of emergency over a spike in coronavirus cases, ramping up efforts to contain infections but stopping short of the strict lockdowns seen in other parts of the world.
The government has come under mounting pressure to tackle an outbreak that remains small by global standards but has raised concerns among Japanese medical experts, with warnings that local healthcare systems are already overstretched.
"As I decided that a situation feared to gravely affect people´s lives and the economy has occurred... I am declaring a state of emergency," Abe said.
The move allows governors in seven affected regions including Tokyo to ask people to stay indoors and request businesses close.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Taimur Jhagra said on Tuesday that he expects a rise in the number of coronavirus patients in the province.
The minister in a press conference told the media that the province is working on increasing its testing capacity. He added that all safety equipment will be provided to the medical staff.
India will allow some exports of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, after US President Donald Trump urged New Delhi to release supplies of the drug seen as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
The Indian government had earlier put a hold on exports of hydroxychloroquine as well as on the pain reliever, paracetamol, saying it had to meet its internal demand. But Trump spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the weekend seeking supplies and later hinted that India may face retaliation.
"It has been decided that India would licence paracetamol and HCQ in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities," said Indian foreign ministry spokesman, Anurag Srivastava.
Balochistan government spokesperson Liaqat Shahwani on Tuesday said the government has accepted the doctors' demands and was helping them with all the requirements.
“All the demands of the doctors have been accepted,” Shahwani told the media. “We have requested the doctors not to become part of any mafia.”
He added that in the past attention had not been paid to the health sector but now the government was working towards making changes in the health department.
“The chief minister himself is monitoring the situation. He met with the doctors and assured them assured him that we will release the doctors arrested.”
The World Health Organisation has no blanket recommendation for countries and regions for easing measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, but urged them not to lift them too early, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
"One of the most important parts is not to let go of the measures too early in order not to have a fall back again," said WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier in a virtual briefing.
"It's similar to being sick yourself if you get out of bed too early and get running too early you risk falling back and having complications," he added.
The pace of coronavirus deaths in Spain ticked up slightly for the first time in five days on Tuesday, with 743 people succumbing overnight to reach a total of 13,798.
That compared to 637 people who died during the previous 24 hours in the nation with the second highest toll of fatalities in the world from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Total cases rose to 140,510 on Tuesday from 135,032 on Monday, the health ministry said.
Iran's coronavirus death toll rose to 3,872 with 133 deaths in the past 24 hours, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV on Tuesday.
The total number of cases climbed to 62,589, with 2,089 new infections, while 3,987 infected people were in a critical condition, he said
Employees of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) have announced that they will contribute their day’s salary in the Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Fund, said a notification issued by the regulatory body.
Indonesia confirmed on Tuesday 247 new coronavirus infections, taking the total to 2,738, said a health ministry official.
Achmad Yurianto, the official, reported 12 more deaths, taking the total to 221, while 204 people had recovered.
More than 14,300 coronavirus tests have been carried out.
Japan’s government approved an emergency economic stimulus package worth 108.2 trillion yen ($993 billion), with fiscal spending of 39.5 trillion yen, aimed at battling the deepening fallout from the coronavirus, government officials said on Tuesday.
In the package, the government referred to the pandemic as the “biggest crisis” the global economy has faced since World War Two, in line with a Reuters report on Monday.
The Managing Director of Utility Stores Corporation Umer Lodhi announced that the finance ministry has released Rs10 billion for the government body.
The MD said that the money was part of the Rs 50 billion earmarked by the government for the utility stores. He added that the customers buying from the utility stores has also increased, adding that they are trying to ensure that essential items are available at their stores.
The Philippines’ health ministry on Tuesday reported 14 new coronavirus deaths and 104 additional infections.
Deaths have reached 177 and total cases 3,764, Health Secretary Francisco Duque told a news conference.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier in the day extended to the end of April strict quarantine measures on the country’s main island implemented to contain the outbreak.
Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan refused to take the guard of honour offered to him upon his arrival in Mardan.
The CM was being given the guard of honour by the police on his arrival at the quarantine montiering centre set up in the Abul Wali Khan University. He added that the doctors, nurses and medical staff were the ones who should be given a guard of honour.
Germany’s confirmed coronavirus infections rose by 3,834 in the past 24 hours to 99,225 on Tuesday, rising again after four consecutive days of drops, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.
The reported death toll rose by 173 to 1,607.
Tuesday’s number of new cases was higher than the 3,677 new infections reported on Monday. Deaths had risen by 92 on Monday.
The number of coronavirus cases in Russia rose by more than 1,000 for the first time to reach 7,497 in the past 24 hours, the country’s crisis response centre said on Tuesday.
The number of reported cases rose by 1,154 while deaths rose by 11 to 58, the centre said.
Director General Inter Services Public Relations Major General Babar Iftikhar on Tuesday announced that emergency supplies of medical equipment, including PPEs, have been dispatched to Quetta for the medical staff in Balochistan on orders of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
“Doctors and paramedics are the frontline soldiers in this war,” the IPSR quoted Gen Bajwa in a tweet. The COAS added that the most advanced nations and governments were finding it extremely difficult to fight the pandemic.
“Pakistan government is striving hard to acquire and supply the required resources. In this hour of distress we must remain patient and steadfast,” reminded the COAS.
The countrywide deaths due to the coronavirus rose to 55 after a new death was reported in Sindh on Tuesday.
The latest death was of Dr Abdul Qadir Soomro who was diagnosed of the virus after contracting it from patients were under his treatment.
Nationwide tally of confirmed cases reached 4,004 after 54 new cases were reported in Sindh on Tuesday.
According to the provincial government spokesperson, the provincial tally of confirmed cases rose to 986 after adding the new cases. He added that in the last 24 hours 16 people have recovered from the infection.
The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Punjab rose to 2,004 on Tuesday afternoon, taking the nationwide tally of confirmed virus cases to 3,950.
The Balochistan government on Tuesday formed a parliamentary committee that will oversee the coronavirus relief efforts of the provincial government.
The constitution of the committee was announced on social networking platform Twitter by provincial government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan on Tuesday said that the recommendations of the National Coordination Committee over easing coronavirus lockdown measures to allowing businesses to operate will be tabled before the cabinet.
She also said that the cabinet would discuss a strategy related to transferring virus relief efforts to lower-tiers of the government at a meeting on Tuesday.
"[Government] will reach the homes of deserving people in coordination with the provinces. A strategy will be formulated on the relief efforts by Tiger Force and philanthropists," she said.
China has donated 170,000 protective suits to India, CNN reported on Tuesday morning, citing the Indian Press Information Bureau.
The equipment donated was described as head-to-toe suits that protect medical workers and frontline emergency responders from possible exposure to the coronavirus when handling infected patients.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that she had rejected her health minister's offer to resign for breaching nationwide lockdown rules as doing so would jeopardise plans to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, Reuters reported.
Health minister David Clark drove his family to the beach in the early stages of the lockdown, flouting social distancing rules, the prime minister said.
“Under normal conditions I would sack the minister of health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses,” Ardern said. Instead, Ardern has demoted Clark to the bottom of cabinet rankings and stripped him of his role as associate finance minister.
India will allow some exports of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, after US President Donald Trump urged New Delhi to release supplies of the drug seen as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
The Indian government had earlier put a hold on exports of hydroxychloroquine as well as on the pain reliever, paracetamol, saying it had to meet its internal demand.
But Trump spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the weekend seeking supplies and later hinted that India may face retaliation.
There has been no change in Boris Johnson's condition, two sources close to him said on Tuesday, after the British prime minister was taken into intensive care following a deterioration in his coronavirus symptoms.
Johnson was given oxygen on Monday and taken to an intensive care unit at a central London hospital in what Downing Street said was a precautionary measure after his condition had worsened.
Sindh Minister for Education and Labour Saeed Ghani on Tuesday hailed the services of a doctor who passed away on Monday evening due to complications arising as a result of the coronavirus.
"Dr A Qadir Soomro is addition in list of heroes in recent pandemic war. He served the patients without fear. But at same time these frontline soldiers while performing their duties take extra care. We'll try to provide protective gears to all medics," he wrote on Twitter.
The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on Tuesday said that Pakistan had conducted a total of 39,183 coroanvirus tests so far of which 3,088 were conducted in the last 24 hours.
According to an update on the latest virus situation in the country, released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), there were 462 hospitals with virus isolation case management facilities across the country.
These hospitals have 7,295 beds with 1,311 virus patients hospitalised, of which 28 are critical, the ISPR added.