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

Nationwide death toll crosses 450, confirmed cases surge past 20,000; more than 243,000 dead globally

Web Desk

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 20,164 on Sunday after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The province-wise break up of the total number of cases as of 12:40am, May 4, is as follows:

Total confirmed cases: 20,164

• Sindh: 7,465

• Punjab: 7,524

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 3,129

• Balochistan: 1,218

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 393

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 364

• AJK: 71

Deaths: 462

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 180

• Sindh: 130

• Balochistan: 21

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 3

• Punjab: 124

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 4

Officials have recorded more than 3.44 million cases and more than 243,000 deaths since the virus emerged in China in December.

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: General updates coming in from Pakistan

Red: Reports on new cases in Pakistan

Maroon: Reports on new deaths in Pakistan

Green: Reports on recovered patients in Pakistan


Live updates for May 4 to continue here.

12:40am (May 4) — Lahore, Pakistan — Three more deaths in Punjab, tally rises to 7,524

The Punjab disaster management authority has reported three more deaths in the province, taking the grim total to 124.

The province-wide tally has risen to 7,524 with 30 more cases.

So far, 2,665 have recovered from the disease.

11:52pm — Paris, France — Country reports 135 more deaths from COVID-19, taking toll to 24,895

The number of people who have died in France after contracting the new coronavirus rose on Sunday by 135 to 24,895, the health ministry has said.

11:48pm — Washington, USA — Pompeo says 'significant' evidence new coronavirus emerged from Chinese lab

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said there is “a significant amount of evidence” that the new coronavirus emerged from a Chinese laboratory, but did not dispute US intelligence agencies’ conclusion that it was not man-made.

“There is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan,” Pompeo told ABC’s “This Week".

Pompeo then briefly contradicted a statement issued this week by the top US spy agency that said the virus did not appear to be man-made or genetically modified. That statement undercut conspiracy theories promoted by anti-China activists and some supporters of President Donald Trump who suggest it was developed in a Chinese government biological weapons laboratory.

“The best experts so far seem to think it was man-made. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point,” Pompeo said. When the interviewer pointed out that was not the conclusion of US intelligence agencies, Pompeo backtracked, saying, “I’ve seen what the intelligence community has said. I have no reason to believe that they’ve got it wrong.”

The US State Department did not immediately respond to a request for clarification on Pompeo’s comments.

11:19pm — London, UK — COVID-19 death toll up 315 to 28,446

The United Kingdom's death toll from COVID-19 rose to 28,446, an increase of 315, according to latest data on Sunday that includes hospitals and other settings like nursing homes.

10:46pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — 'Enough evidence balanced approach for lockdown right one': Zulfi Bukhari

The prime minister's aide on human resource development has said that there is now "enough evidence from empirical data" to be certain that the "balanced approach to the lockdown is the right one".

The aide has attached a link to a report by British publication The Sunday Times titled 'The science is becoming clear: lockdowns are no longer the right medicine'.

10:14pm — Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan — Region sees rises in cases by 8

The Gilgit-Baltistan health department has reported eight new cases of COVID-19 in the region, taking the tally of infected to 364.

So far, 266 people have recovered and 95 are currently under treatment. Three have died from the disease.

09:50pm — Quetta, Pakistan — Balochistan reports 46 more cases

Balochistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani has reported 46 more cases in the province — 44 from Quetta and two from Pishin.

The tally of infected now stands at 1,218. Of the total, 1,067 are local transmissions.

09:21pm — Rome, Italy — Country reports lowest death toll since lockdownsa

09:17pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — President Alvi set to represent Pakistan at NAM summit

President Dr. Arif Alvi will represent Pakistan at the virtual Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) being held on 4 May 2020, a statement from the Foreign Office has said.

“The Special Online Summit of the Heads of State and Government of NAM Member States has been convened at the initiative of the President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, in his capacity as current Chair of the Movement,” read the statement.

The Summit will conclude with a political declaration of the movement “Uniting Against COVID-19” as well as identified measures for enhanced coordination among NAM Member States in their common fight against COVID-19.

“President Alvi's efforts aim at bringing the Movement, at the highest decision-making level, for assessing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Member States and identifying needs and steps for possible remedies and follow-up measures,” it added.

8:24pm —  Details of Nation-Wide Distribution of PPEs for medical workers

8:18pm — Lahore, Pakistan — FM Qureshi pays homage to medical professionals

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi appreciated the services and sacrifices of the medical professionals in their fight against COVID-19 at home and abroad.

Talking to the media personnel after his visit to the Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS), he hailed the two British-Pakistani doctors who laid their lives in their fight against coronavirus as part of the National Health Services (NHS) in the United Kingdom.

The foreign minister said the Pakistani medical professionals across the globe had made the nation proud and they served as the ambassadors of the country at the foreign lands.

“The world is resorting to smart lockdown which practices variations in lockdown and eases lockdown in the areas with less number of cases of coronavirus,” he added. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan believes that a government cannot be inconsiderate to the economic impacts on the people in its decision to impose lockdown.

8:11pm — Madrid, Spain — Surfing and strolling, Spaniards reclaim the outdoors

Spaniards revelled in a second day of freedom on Sunday, flocking outdoors in time-slots for age groups on the first weekend adults were allowed out since one of the world’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns was imposed in mid-March.

Surfer Sigrid Cervera, 44, yelled for joy as she jumped into the waves with her board in Gava, a town on the Mediterranean coast outside Barcelona.

“I have not been able to go surfing for ages so I am very excited this morning,” she said.

Joggers ruled the streets early on, before it was the elderly and then children’s turn - all under orders to stay 2 metres apart under continued social distancing guidelines.

People exercise at Zurriola beach after adults were allowed out to exercise for the first time in seven weeks, as the government began easing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in San Sebastian, Spain. —. Reuters/Vincent West

7:05pm - Washington DC, USA — US may need to put more money in small business program: Kudlow

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Sunday he would not rule out any element in the next potential coronavirus relief bill, including more money for state and local governments.

“We are in discussions,” Kudlow said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He said authorities would need to see in a couple of weeks “what needs to be done and perhaps how to do it.”

Kudlow also said “it may be” that the federal government needs to put even more money into a popular program to help small businesses survive coronavirus-related shutdowns.

7:00pm - Saudi Arabia's positive cases rises to 25,459, death toll at 176

6:50pm - Muzaffarabad, AJK — Nationwide tally of positive cases rises to 20,080

The nationwide tally of positive cases rose to 20,080 after new cases were reported in Azad Jammu Kashmir .

According to AJK health department, four new cases were reported in the region taking the its tally to 71.

6:45pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Nadra centres to become operational in Sindh from tomorrow 

Nadra centres all across Sindh, including Karachi, will reopen for citizens from Monday onwards.

According to officials, only one shift from 10am till 4pm will ensure that the offices are operational.

DG Nadra stated that they will give priority to new people and those who require biometric verification. He added that citizens seeking to collect their new CNICs should contact the offices after May 15.

6:40pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Three more field hospitals set up in Karachi

Sindh Health Department announced that three more field hospitals have been set up in Karachi.

According to a notification, the designated centres were identified as Spencer Eye Hospital, Government Science College Lyari and Government Primary School Lyari. 

Watch: Jenny enjoying 'corona freedom' 

6:20pm - Quetta, Pakistan — Shahid Afridi distributes ration bags for 1,000 families 

Former Pakistan Cricket Team captain Shahid Afridi distributed 1,000 ration bags among the coronavirus affected families in Balochistan’s Pishin district.

During the distribution, Afridi said that he got a lot of love from the people from the district, adding that he got fame because of them.

“It is disappointing that no cricketer has come forward from Balochistan,” said Afridi, he added that he will raise the voice for the youth of Balochistan.

6:10pm - Peshawar, Pakistan — Nationwide tally of positive cases jumps past 20,000, KP's number of positive cases crosses 3,000

The nationwide tally of positive cases rose to 20,076 after new cases were reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

According to KP Health Minister Taimur Jhagra, 222 new cases were reported in the province taking the provincial tally to 3,129.

6:10pm - Peshawar , Pakistan — Pakistan's death toll crosses 450

Pakistan’s death toll from the coronavirus rose to 457 after eight more deaths were reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The provincial death tally now stands at 180.

6:10pm - Peshawar, Pakistan — Tally of recovered patients rises to 5,499

The number of recovered patients in the country rose to 5,499 after 83 more people recovered from the virus in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. 

6:00pm - Karachi Pakistan — Pharmaceutical company donates Rs40 mln to Pakistan Red Crescent Society

A pharmaceutical company has donated Rs 40 million to the Pakistan Red Crescent Society to help in the fight against coronavirus.

According to the society, Former Pakistan captain Moin Khan and actor Adnan Siddiqui received the cheque on behalf of them.

Chairman Hilal -e-Ahmar Society Sindh Shahzad Hammad stated that that the money will be used to buy protective equipment for the doctors. He added that they will also buy testing kits, adding that the society was starting a mobile testing facility.

5:50pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Increasing death toll is worrying: Bilawal

Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has warned that the increasing death toll due to the coronavirus was worrying.

The PPP Chairman expressed his worries in a meeting with Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah where he was briefed on coronavirus situation. Health minister Azra Pechuho, Dr Abdul Bari and Dr Faisal briefed Bilawal.

“The right measures were taken due to the Sind government,” said Bilawal. He added that if the provincial government had not taken the right measures then the situation could turn worse.

5:35pm - The Hague, Netherlands — Dutch cases rise 335 to 40,571 with 69 new deaths: health authorities

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the Netherlands has increased by 335 to 40,471, Dutch health authorities said on Sunday.

The National Institute for Public Health reported 69 new deaths, taking total COVID-19 fatalities to 5,056. The authorities stress that the actual number of infections is likely higher because not all suspected COVID-19 patients are being tested.

5:30pm - European leaders push vaccine financing drive

European leaders are backing an initiative from Brussels to raise 7.5 billion euros (£6.6 billion, $8.3 billion) to tackle the global coronavirus pandemic.

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, outlined the fund-raising plan for an international effort to find a vaccine and treatment for COVID-19 on Friday.

An online pledging conference will take place on Monday to plug gaps in financing of research.

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel gave their support in an open letter published in weekend newspapers.

The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, and Norway's Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, also signed and all gave their backing to the World Health Organization in the face of US criticism about its handling of the crisis.

The funds raised will "kickstart an unprecedented global cooperation between scientists and regulators, industry and governments, international organisations, foundations and healthcare professionals", the leaders said.

But they warned that more money would still be needed to manufacture and deliver "available, accessible and affordable" medicines across the world.

"If we can develop a vaccine that is produced by the world, for the whole world, this will be a unique global public good of the 21st century," they added.

5:25pm - Hanoi, Vietnam — Vietnam reports first new infection in 9 days, taking its tally to 271

Vietnam reported its first new coronavirus infection in nine days on Sunday, a British oil expert who was quarantined on arrival, the health ministry said.

The Southeast Asian country has registered a total of 271 coronavirus cases and has reported no deaths, the ministry said in a statement. Over 30,500 people have been quarantined, and 261,000 tests have been carried out.

5:15pm - Roche wins US nod for COVID-19 antibody test, aims to boost output

Roche has won emergency approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an antibody test to determine whether people have ever been infected with the coronavirus, the Swiss drugmaker said here on Sunday.

Thomas Schinecker, Roche’s head of diagnostics, said the company aims to more than double production of tests from about 50 million a month to significantly more than 100 million a month by the end of the year.

Governments, businesses and individuals are seeking such blood tests to learn who may have had the disease, who may have some immunity and to potentially craft strategies to help end national lockdowns.

Basel-based Roche, which also makes molecular tests to identify active COVID-19 infections, said its antibody test has a specificity rate exceeding 99.8% and sensitivity of 100%, meaning tests would show very few false positives and no false negatives.

A false-positive result could lead to the mistaken conclusion that someone has immunity. Roche said its test relies on intravenous blood draws, with higher accuracy than finger-prick tests.

“If you take blood from a finger prick, you will never be able to achieve the same level of specificity that you will achieve ... when you take blood from the vein,” Schinecker said.

“You have to have very, very high specificity. Even 0.1% or 0.2% makes a difference.”

5:10pm — Global death toll rises to 243,637

The global death toll from the coronavirus rose to 243,637, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

While more than 3.44 million cases were registered in 195 countries and territories. Of these, at least 1.05 million are now considered recovered.

5:10pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — District admin issues new sealing orders for Sector I-10

5:05pm - Lahore, Pakistan — PA speaker inquires health of NA speaker

Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi called National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser to ask about his health after he contracted the coronavirus.

Elahi in the conversation prayed for the speedy recovered of Speaker Qaiser and his family. The two also discussed the political situation in the country.

4:55pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — PM to address Tiger Force tomorrow: sources

Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the Tiger Force, a volunteer force formed on his instructions, tomorrow, sources told Geo News.

According to sources, the PM will record a special message for the Tiger Force members and will also be issued on social media. The PM in the message will also issue necessary guidelines for the Tiger Force members.

4:50pm - Vatican City — Pope says coronavirus vaccine must be shared worldwide

Pope Francis called on Sunday for international scientific cooperation to discover a vaccine for the coronavirus and said any successful vaccine should be made available around the world.

Francis, who has been delivering his Sunday address from the papal library instead of St Peter’s Square because of the lockdown in Italy, thanked all those around the world who were providing essential services.

He encouraged international cooperation to deal with the crisis and combat the virus, which has infected nearly 3.5 million people and killed more than 240,000 people worldwide.

“In fact, it is important to unite scientific capabilities, in a transparent and impartial way to find vaccines and treatments,” he said.

Francis said it was also important to “guarantee universal access to essential technologies that allow each infected person, in every part of the world, to receive the necessary medical treatment.”

4:05pm - Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab health minister explains procedure for testing international travelers returning home

4:00pm - Seoul, South Korea — Pakistani envoy asks stranded Pakistanis to contact mission by 10pm tonight 

Pakistan's envoy to South Korea Mumtaz Baloch asked the PAkistanis stranded in the country who were facing difficulty in buy a ticket back home should contact the mission by 10pm.

3:55pm - Muzaffargarh — Authorities seal street after four of family test positive 

A street in Muzaffargarh’s Sheikhupura area was sealed after four members of a family tested positive for the virus, announced deputy commissioner of the area.

3:45pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — Fatality rate in country far less than UK, Spain, and US: Asad Umar

Federal Minister for Planning and Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar stated that the fatality rate in the country is far less than the US, UK and Spain but warned that precautionary measures should be adopted to avoid making the disease contagious.

The minister also shared that all the decisions regarding relaxation in lockdown will be taken after May 9 in consensus with all the provinces.

Briefing the media persons in Islamabad on Sunday, he said the National Coordination Committee on coronavirus will decide the future course of action.

“Decisions will be taken in such a manner that they do not paralyse our healthcare system,” said Asad Umar. He added that the restrictions will be eased gradually to provide livelihoods to the people.

“We have significantly enhanced the capacity of our healthcare system. We currently have 1,400 ventilators for Coronavirus patients and 900 more will be added in two months” said Umar, adding that currently there are 35 coronavirus patients on ventilators.

3:40pm - Tehran, Iran — Iran coronavirus death toll rises by 47 to 6,203: health ministry

The death toll from the new coronavirus outbreak in Iran rose by 47 over the past 24 hours to 6,203, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on state TV on Sunday.

Iran, one of the Middle Eastern countries hardest hit by the outbreak, has a total of 97,424 cases of the coronavirus, he said.

3:20pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Nationwide tally of positive cases rises to 19,854

The nationwide tally of positive cases rose to 19,854 after new cases were reported in Sindh.

According to Sindh Government Spokesperson Murtaza Wahab, 363 new cases were reported in the province taking the provincial tally to 7,465.

3:20pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Pakistan's death toll rises to 449

Pakistan’s death toll from the coronavirus rose to 449 after eight more deaths were reported in SIndh.

The provincial death tally now stands at 130.

3:20pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Tally of recovered patients rises to 5,416

The number of recovered patients in the country rose to 5,416 after 214 more people recovered from the virus in SIndh. 

3:10pm - Lahore, Pakistan — Nationwide tally of positive cases rises to 19,491

The nationwide tally of positive cases rose to 19,491 after new cases were reported in Punjab.

According to the spokesperson on the Punjab Primary and Healthcare Department, 638 new cases were reported in the province taking the provincial tally to 7,494.

Source: Punjab Primary and Healthcare Department

3:10pm - Lahore, Pakistan — Pakistan's death toll rises to 441

Pakistan’s death toll from the coronavirus rose to 441 after one more death was reported in Punjab.

The provincial death tally now stands at 121.

3:10pm - Lahore, Pakistan — Tally of recovered patients cross 5,000

The number of recovered patients in the country rose to 5,202 after 385 more people recovered from the virus in Punjab. 

2:20pm -Madrid, Spain — Coronavirus death toll climbs by 164, lowest rise in nearly 7 weeks

Spain's death toll from the new coronavirus rose by 164 to 25,264 on Sunday, according to data from the Health Ministry, marking the lowest one-day increase since March 18.

Confirmed cases of the virus rose to 217,466 on Sunday, from 216,582 on Saturday, the ministry added.

2:10pm - Peshawar, Pakistan — 40 nursing staff test positive for virus 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department has said that 40 nursing staff have been tested positive for the coronavirus.

The department stated that 26 members of the nursing staff are still under treatment while 14 have recovered.

2:05pm - Peshawar, Pakistan — KP crosses previous high of daily tests

2:00pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — Zong employees donate Rs7 mln to PM's corona relief fund

1:55pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Minister warns if safety measures not followed then Sabzi Mandis would be closed 

Sindh’s Agriculture Minister Ismail Rahoo has warned that if social distancing and safety measures are not adopted then the government may seal the Sabzi Mandis’ in the province.

The minister urged people to avoid crowing the vegetable markets and maintain social distance. He urged the chairmen of the markets to ensure that the government orders are followed.

“Disinfectant sprays and sanitizers should be kept in Sabzi Mandis’”, said Rahoo. He added that no one should be allowed to enter without a masks.

1:50pm - Lahore, Pakistan — Traders defy lockdown open shops in Shahdra area of city 

Traders in Lahore’s Shahdra area defied the government announced lockdown and have opened up businesses without any social distancing measures.

Citizens coming into the market are also shopping without any safety measures and many stalls have also been set up in the area.

The shops that have opened up includes shoe shops, clothe sellers and others.

1:45pm - Lahore, Pakistan — PCB to offer financial assistance to players, match officials, scorers and ground staff

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced that it will help and support first-class cricketers and other stakeholders facing difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic after a stop in local cricket activity said a press release issued by the board.

“Along with the first-class cricketers, the support will also be extended to match officials, scorers and ground staff as the PCB has set aside funds from its current fiscal year in these challenging and unprecedented times during which economic activity around the world has taken a big hit,” said the PCB.

According to the eligibility criteria, First-class cricketers who featured in the 2018-19 season and have played at least 15 first-class matches in the past five seasons from 2014-15 to 2018-19 can avail the fund.

The board stated that match officials and scorers who have officiated in PCB-organised events over the past two seasons can also apply for the fund. While, ground staff that has been employed by the now-defunct regional/district cricket associations before January 1, 2013, can also apply for the fund.

“The first-class cricketers, who will meet the criteria, will receive PKR25,000. The match officials will get PKR15,000, while the scorers and grounds staff will be given PKR10,000,” said the board.

The board said Those wishing to avail the ‘one-time scheme’ can contact the PCB at [email protected] from May 4 till May 14.

1:40pm - Tehran, Iran — Mosques and schools to reopen in Iran's low-risk areas

Iran plans to reopen mosques and schools in areas that have been consistently free of the coronavirus as President Hassan Rouhani’s government starts to ease restrictions that were aimed at containing the outbreak.

With mosques closed and religious gatherings banned since mid-March as the outbreak spread in the Middle East’s worst-hit country, ordinary Iranians have turned to drive-ins for ceremonies during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

State TV and videos on social media showed people in their cars watching a religious ceremony on a big screen in a Tehran car park.

“Mosques will reopen in 132 low-risk or ‘white cities’ and towns from Monday. Friday prayer sermons will resume in those areas as well ... However, all these steps will be taken by respecting the health protocols,” Rouhani said in a televised meeting.

Iran’s health ministry has divided the country into white, yellow and red areas based on the number of infections and deaths.

1:35pm - Manila, Philippines — Philippines coronavirus cases surpass 9,000, death toll rises

The number of coronavirus cases in the Philippines climbed to 9,223 after the Health Ministry reported 295 new infections on Sunday.

The ministry also recorded four more deaths related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, bringing the tally to 607.

Another 90 people recovered, it added, bringing total recoveries to 1,214.

1:30pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — CII says salaries can be deducted from Zakat fund to an extent

The Council of Islamic Ideology has told the Supreme Court that the wages from the Zakat fund can be deducted to a certain extent according to the Sharia, sources told Geo News.

The CII explained Sharia’s point of view on the payment of salaries through the zakat fund in the response it submitted to the Supreme Court in the coronavirus suo motu case being heard by the chief justice of Pakistan.

The CII explained to the court that by the salary payments the real purpose behind Zakat should not be neglected. However, sources said the CII explained that unnecessary expenses cannot be paid from the Zakat fund.

The sources stated that the CII has submitted a three-page response to the top court through the attorney general.

1:15pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh govt to establish another field hospital at PAF Museum

1:10pm - Singapore — Singapore reports 657 new cases

Singapore’s health ministry on Sunday confirmed 657 new coronavirus infections, taking the city-state’s total to 18,205.

Most of the new cases are among migrant workers living in dormitories, the ministry said.

1:05pm - Moscow, Russia — Coronavirus cases in Russia rise by record daily amount

Russia on Sunday recorded its highest daily rise in confirmed coronavirus cases with 10,633 new cases, bringing the overall number of cases to 134,686, according to the authorities’ official website.

The mortality rate has slowed in recent days however, and remains much lower, in relative terms, than many other countries.

The nationwide death toll rose to 1,280 after 58 people died in the last 24 hours, Russia’s coronavirus crisis response centre said.

1:00pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Murtaza Wahab clarifies no Iftaar party attended by CM Sindh, PPP leaders

12:55pm - Tokyo, Japan — Japan indicates could ease some coronavirus-related curbs

Japan could ease some of the current coronavirus-related curbs on economic activity by allowing places such as parks and museums to reopen, provided proper preventive measures were in place, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Sunday.

The remarks come a day before the government is set to announce the extension of its state of emergency after struggling to suppress the spread of the novel coronavirus that has infected 15,589 people and killed 530 in the country.

“As long as the proper preventive measures are in place, it could be possible to ease some of the current restrictions on economic activities,” Nishimura said at a news conference held on Sunday morning.

Places like parks, museums, art galleries, and libraries could reopen even in the 13 prefectures where the coronavirus has spread rapidly, if they take steps to disinfect their premises and ensure visitors maintain their distance, he added.

Further details on how restrictions might be eased would be discussed at an expert’s meeting on Monday, Nishimura said.

12:50pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — IHC to operate with limited staff after employee tests positive

The Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued orders regarding the safety measures taken in the court after an employee tested positive for the virus.

According to the notification, two judges will be available on Monday, while five judges have been sent home on a holiday. It added that IHC will be operational with two judges and a very limited staff for their support.

The notification stated that two single benches and one divisional bench will operate on Monday.

12:45pm - Dubai, UAE — Following Dubai, more UAE malls, restaurants reopen

Malls in the United Arab Emirates’ capital Abu Dhabi began reopening to a restricted number of customers this weekend as the UAE eases lockdown measures imposed more than a month ago to combat the novel coronavirus.

Three Abu Dhabi malls reopened on Saturday at 30% customer capacity after adopting safety measures, including installing thermal inspection devices, the government media office tweeted and Sharjah emirate said it would reopen malls on Sunday.

Malls, dine-in restaurants and cafes in Dubai, the UAE’s business and tourism hub, had earlier resumed operations with limited capacity. Shoppers must wear face masks and gloves and keep their distance.

Sharjah emirate’s media office said malls, salons and dine-in restaurants could resume operations on Sunday.

Other public venues such as schools, mosques and cinemas remain closed in the UAE, which has so far reported nearly 13,600 infections and 119 deaths from the virus. It does not give a breakdown for each of its seven emirates.

The UAE had also relaxed a nationwide curfew, first announced on March 26, with the start of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan on April 24.

12:40pm - Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab govt spokesperson asks people to help those who lost their livelihood due to lockdown

12:30pm - Peshawar, Pakistan — Fatality rate a ‘flawed metric’ to judge provincial cases: Jhagra

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Taimur Jhagra has stated that judging the province’s coronavirus cases based on fatality rates was a ‘flawed metric’.

The health minister stated that the metric was flawed because no country tests enough to know actual cases. However, he said compared to the global data KP's fatality rate compares favourably with 7% global average.

“The fatality rate only looks at patients declared positive after a test. With actual numbers much greater, the fatality rate is much lower in KP, and in all countries,” explained the minister.

The minister believes that there are differences in how countries and states report deaths. He added that in Pakistan, provinces may report differently because a common definition was never discussed, and with varying testing rates, provincial comparisons are relevant but cannot be the only comparison.

“It is possible that deaths in Pakhtunkhwa are reflective of greater spread, rather than a higher fatality rate, in particular, because of the number of people coming back to KP from the Middle East since January, more than any other province,” said the minister. However, he urged opinion-makers and journalists to understand different interpretations of data and cautioned them not to just draw one conclusion.

“Because in a long slog, the wrong conclusions may erode our ability to fight this challenge,” warned the minister.

Timeline of coronavirus milestones

12:10pm - Peshawar, Pakistan — KP health minister lauds police for their efforts in onoging pandemic 

12:05pm - Lahore, Pakistan — CM Punjab to visit PDMA head office today

Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar will visit the head office of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority.

During the visit, the CM will review the coronavirus arrangements being done by the PDMA and will also review the control rooms set up by the authority.

'Once Upon a Virus': China mocks US coronavirus response in Lego-like animation

Washington and Beijing are locked in a war of words over the origins of the disease, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has grown into a global pandemic.

In response to US, China has released an animation titled ‘Once Upon a Virus’ mocking Washington's response to the pandemic using Lego-like figures to represent the two countries.

In the animation, red curtains open to reveal a stage featuring Lego-like figures in the form of a terracotta warrior wearing a face mask and the Statue of Liberty.

Five ways the UN is fighting ‘infodemic’ of misinformation

11:30am — London, UK — PM Boris Johnson reveals 'contingency plans' made while he was ill

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has shared that he was in very bad condition and doctors were prepared to announce his death after he was taken to intensive care.

"It was a tough old moment, I won’t deny it," he was quoted as saying by the Sun on Sunday newspaper in an interview. "They had a strategy to deal with a ‘death of Stalin’-type scenario.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a daily news conference to update on the coronavirus. Photo: Reuters

"I was not in particularly brilliant shape and I was aware there were contingency plans in place. The doctors had all sorts of arrangements for what to do if things went badly wrong."

Read the full story here.

'You Are the Champions': Queen, under lockdown, record health worker anthem

Rock band Queen and singer Adam Lambert are raising money for health workers fighting COVID-19 with new single "You Are The Champions", an updated version of the classic hit "We Are The Champions" recorded on mobile phones under lockdown.

The track is for "all those in the frontline, all around the world... the people who are risking their lives to save us and save our families," guitarist Brian May told Reuters in a video conference call interview from his home in London.

11:00am — Quetta, Balochistan — Highest number of cases reported from Quetta’s Kharotabad area: health dept

The Balochistan Health Department has said the highest number of cases have been reported from Quetta’s Kharotabad neighbourhood.

“126 cases have been reported in Kharotabad. In Quetta’s ward number 5 and 9, 116 cases have been recorded, while 93 cases have been detected in ward number 6 and 7,” the health department said.

The health department further said 63 cases have been reported from Quetta’s ward number 8.

Watch: South Africans flock outdoors as lockdown restrictions begin to ease

Latest count of global confirmed COVID-19 cases 

UN praises NZ PM Jacinda Ardern for leading the fight against coronavirus 

10:00am — Bangkok, Thailand — Three new coronavirus cases reported as some restrictions ease

Thailand reported three new coronavirus cases and no new deaths on Sunday, as the country started lifting restrictions on some businesses and aspects of life.

The new infections marked the lowest number since early March, just before the country started reporting clusters and tolls started rising.

Thailand has seen a total of 2,969 coronavirus cases and 54 deaths since the outbreak began in January.

9:40am — Berlin, Germany — Confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 793 to 162,496

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 793 to 162,496, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday.

The reported death toll rose by 74 to 6,649, the tally showed

9:20am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Coronavirus deaths rise by 8 to 340

Pakistan’s death toll from new coronavirus increased by eight in the past 24 hours to 340 on Sunday.

According to the national dashboard, five deaths were reported in Punjab while Balcohistan reported three new deaths.

9:10am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Punjab, Islamabad report new cases, nationwide tally jumps to 19,000

Confirmed cases in the country jumped to 19,103 after new cases were detected in Punjab, Islamabad and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

According to the national dashboard, 162 new cases were recorded in Punjab, 28 in the federal capital and one case were reported in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

9:00am — New York, US — US coronavirus deaths climb by 1,435 in 24 hours to 66,224: Johns Hopkins

8:50am — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh govt allows 35 more export-oriented factories to resume operations

The Sindh Home Department has allowed 35 more export-oriented factories to start operation, a notification said.

According to the notification, most of the factories are related to the textile sector.

This takes the number of factories allowed to operate in the province to 288.

—  Beijing, China — China reports two coronavirus cases for May 2

China reported two new coronavirus cases for May 2, up from one the day before, data from the country's national health authority showed on Sunday.

One case was imported and the other was local, the National Health Commission (NHC) said.

The NHC also reported 12 asymptomatic cases for May 2, down from 20 the day before.

8:30am — New York, US — Governor Cuomo warns against 'blindly' reopening states

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has pushed back against what he called premature demands that he reopen the state, saying he knew people were struggling without jobs but that more understanding of the coronavirus was needed.

"Even when you are in unchartered waters, it doesn't mean you proceed blindly," he said. "Use information to determine action - not emotions, not politics, not what people think or feel but what we know in terms of facts."

Cuomo pointed to the roughly 900 new coronavirus cases hospitals in New York are still reporting daily.

8:20am — London, UK — UK shadows Italy as worst hit in Europe: virus death toll passes 28,000

The United Kingdom's COVID-19 death toll rose 621 to 28,131, just short of Italy which has so far had the world's second most deadly outbreak of the disease after the United States.

The US has had 64,740 deaths, followed by Italy with 28,710 and the United Kingdom on 28,131 and then Spain on 25,100, according to a Reuters tally.

11:41pm/May2 — Islamabad, Pakistan — PM says tells COVID-19 positive people to 'act responsibly', quarantine themselves

Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that quarantining should not be viewed as imprisonment and a responsible society is one in which people realise the importance of quarantining themselves for the safety of their loved ones and people at large.

"If my test had come back positive it would have been my responsibility to distance myself from others," he said. "So we cannot beat people into submission [...] if someone tests positive they should themselves decide to quarantine."