Coronavirus updates, May 6: Latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from Pakistan and around the world

Nationwide death toll climbs to 563, confirmed cases shoot past 24,000 after Punjab reports 384 more cases

Web Desk

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 24,041 on Wednesday after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The province-wise break up of the total number of cases as of 10:40pm, May 6, is as follows:

Total confirmed cases: 24,041

• Sindh: 8,640

• Punjab: 9,077

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 3,712

• Balochistan: 1,663

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 485

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 388

• AJK: 76

Deaths: 563

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 203

• Sindh: 157

• Balochistan: 21

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 3

• Punjab: 175

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 4

Officials have recorded more than 3.68 million cases and more than 256,000 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 7 to continue here.

12:15am (May 7) — Paris, France — France reports 278 new coronavirus deaths

France has reported 278 new deaths from coronavirus but also announced a steep fall in the number of hospital patients, as the country prepares to gradually ease its lockdown.

The health ministry said 25,809 people were now confirmed to have died from the virus in hospitals and nursing homes.

Over the past 24 hours, 278 people died from COVID-19, a slight dip from 330 deaths confirmed on Tuesday.

France is due to emerge on May 11 from a lockdown that began in mid-March, with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe due to announce on Thursday how this initial easing will take shape.

Shops will be allowed to open but cafes and restaurants are staying shut. Some schools are also due to open, in a strategy that has caused some controversy.

As well as a decline in death rates on Wednesday, France also reported 283 fewer patients suffering from the coronavirus in intensive care, making a total of 3,147.

Nationwide, there were 23,983 patients in hospital, 792 fewer than the previous day.

12:06am (May 7) — Dhaka, Bangladesh — Police charge 11 for spreading virus 'rumours'

A Bangladeshi cartoonist is among 11 people charged for "spreading rumours" on social media about the coronavirus outbreak in the country, where experts say official figures likely understate the scale of the health crisis.

Police have arrested at least 40 people in recent weeks under controversial digital security laws that activists say are being used to suppress criticism of the government's handling of the contagion.

The impoverished South Asian nation has reported 11,719 virus cases and 186 deaths so far, but experts say limited testing by authorities means the true figures could be much higher.

The 11 have been charged with "spreading rumours and misinformation on Facebook about the coronavirus situation," Dhaka Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Shamim Ahmed told AFP.

They are also accused of "undermining the image" of the late Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the nation´s founding leader.

Two of the 11 — cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore and writer Mushtaq Ahmed — were arrested Wednesday, police said.

Kishore was working on a "Life in the Time of Corona" cartoon series that included caricatures of ruling party leaders and allegations of health sector corruption.

Ahmed has been a vocal online critic about the alleged shortage of protective gear for doctors.

They were charged under the Digital Security Act passed in 2018 which critics say is a serious threat to freedom of expression in the nation of 168 million people.

"It is seen as an assault to freedom of expression, to the right to life and livelihood," human rights activist Rezaur Rahman Lenin told AFP after the latest charges.

"The government should instead nurture a free press... which can greatly help in curbing the pandemic."

Bangladesh reported 790 new infections on Wednesday — its fourth-straight one-day record of fresh cases.

The government on Monday extended its nationwide lockdown to May 16, but has allowed factories and some shops to re-open to kick-start the economy.

"There are deaths. We are sorry for that. But the number of deaths is still low compared to other nations," Health Minister Zahid Maleque said Tuesday as he acknowledged that the re-openings could drive up infections.

Bangladesh has also lifted restrictions on people congregating in mosques for prayers from Thursday.

Places of worship are to provide hand sanitiser and devotees should wear face masks and use their own prayer mat, the religious affairs ministry said Wednesday.

12:00am (May 7) — Washington, USA — Trump says coronavirus crisis 'worse than Pearl Harbor' or 9/11

President Donald Trump has said that fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic has hit the United States harder than Pearl Harbor in World War II or the 9/11 attacks.

"We went through the worst attack we've ever had on our country. This is really the worst attack we've ever had," he told reporters at the White House.

"This is worse than Pearl Harbor. This is worse than the World Trade Center," he said.

The surprise Japanese attack in 1941 on the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii drew the United States into World War II.

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks killed about 3,000 people, mostly in the World Trade Center in New York, triggering two decades of US wars and anti-terrorism operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries.

So far, more than 70,000 Americans have died in the flu-like global pandemic, while severe social distancing measures to stop the virus have forced the shutdown of much of the economy.

11:34pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Summary of Sindh's cases

11:15pm —Tehran, Iran — Country warns of 'rising trend' as virus cases top 100,000

Iran has warned of a "rising trend" in its coronavirus outbreak as it said 1,680 new infections took its overall caseload beyond the 100,000 mark.

The Islamic republic has struggled to contain the Middle East's deadliest COVID-19 outbreak since announcing its first cases in mid-February.

Concerns were raised last month about the threat of a "second wave" of the virus in a report by parliament that criticised the government's slow response.

"We are witnessing a rising trend in the past three or four days, which is significant," health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour told a televised news conference.

The rise was "based on our behaviour, especially in the past two weeks, considering that a part of society has apparently had a change of attitude," he added.

The newly reported infections brought the country's overall number of confirmed cases to 101,650.

10:40pm — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab reports 19 more deaths, 384 more cases 

The Punjab disaster management authority has reported 19 more deaths in the province, taking the grim total to 175.

The tally of infected has also risen by 384 to 9,077. With the increase, the nationwide tally has shot up to 24,041.

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09:58pm — Washington, USA — Pompeo again blames China for hundreds of thousands of virus deaths

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has renewed his aggressive criticism of China, blaming it for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people from the coronavirus and demanding again that it share information about the outbreak.

“They knew. China could have prevented the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. China could have spared the world descent into global economic malaise,” Pompeo told a State Department news conference.

“China is still refusing to share the information we need to keep people safe.”

09:50pm — Los Angeles, USA — Virus testing centre offers quick antibody test 'for peace of mind'

For two weeks now, Dr Matthew Budoff has been overseeing a coronavirus antibody testing site in Los Angeles, offering people a rapid answer to a question on everyone's mind.

"It's the only medical screening that people generally want to be positive," says Budoff, a professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

The procedure is quick and simple. A prick to the finger to recover a droplet of blood that is then tested for coronavirus antibodies to see if the person has already contracted the virus and developed some level of immunity to it — all this within 15 minutes.

"If the lines turn blue, that means that it's positive and the patients have antibodies, if the line turns red, then they do not have antibodies," Budoff told AFP on Tuesday from the parking lot of the UCLA medical centre in Torrance, a suburb of Los Angeles, where people could get tested while sitting in their cars.

Budoff, a cardiologist, said the test was very accurate and provides hope that if a person has antibodies, that means they have some level of protection against reinfection, though experts have warned that still no one quite knows how much.

On average, some 40 to 50 people are showing up at the site daily for the $149 test.

09:41pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP focal person on coronavirus tests negative

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government's focal person on coronavirus has tested negative after a bit of a scare.

"Found out yesterday I spent a good hour or more last week in a meeting, in a closed room, with someone who tested positive two days after out meeting," he began by saying in a post on Twitter.

He said although he didn't have the usual symptoms associated with the disease, he did have a runny nose and was sneezing a lot, so got tested yesterday.

WHO reiterates criteria that should be considered before countries ease restrictions

09:16pm — Berlin, Germany — Country eases lockdown as Merkel hails end of pandemic first phase

Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced steps to ease the coronavirus lockdown, saying the first phase of the pandemic had passed but there was still a long way to go.

Germany went into lockdown in March to slow the spread of the virus. Its reproduction rate has been falling for several days, and Merkel said it was now consistently below 1 — meaning a person with the virus infects fewer than one other on average.

“We are at a point where our goal of slowing the spread of the virus has been achieved and we have been able to protect our health system ... so it has been possible to discuss and agree on further easing measures,” Merkel told reporters.

Under measures agreed with Germany’s 16 federal state leaders, people from two households will be allowed to meet, and more shops will open, provided hygiene measures are in place. But guidelines on keeping a distance of 1.5 metres and wearing mouth and nose masks on public transport will remain.

Germany’s Bundesliga soccer league can resume in the second half of May, Merkel said.

People in care homes may again receive regular visits from “a permanent contact person”, Merkel said after talks with regional leaders.

Their plan included a fail-safe ‘emergency brake’, so restrictions would be reintroduced if an area registers more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days.

The federal and state governments would wait and see how the easing measures panned out, Merkel said, adding: “We now face a phase in which there will be a lot more contact than was the case up to now.”

“We are following a bold path,” she said. “We can afford to be a bit bold but we must remain cautious.”

09:13pm — Geneva, Switzerland — Over 90,000 health workers infected with COVID-19 worldwide: nurses group

At least 90,000 health-care workers worldwide are believed to have been infected with COVID-19, and possibly twice that, amid reports of continuing shortages of protective equipment, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) has said.

The disease has killed more than 260 nurses, it said in a statement, urging authorities to keep more accurate records to help prevent the virus from spreading among staff and patients.

08:49pm — Quetta, Pakistan — Balochistan reports 168 more cases 

Balochistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani has reported 168 more cases in the province, taking the tally of infected to 1,663.

Of the new cases, 153 belong to Quetta, seven to Chaman, four to Pishin and four to Lasbela.

08:33pm — London, UK — UK could start easing virus lockdown next week: PM

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he could begin to ease a nationwide coronavirus lockdown next week, but warned he would do nothing that would risk a new surge of cases.

He was speaking the day after Britain overtook Italy to become the worst-hit country in Europe, with more than 32,000 deaths related to COVID-19 — behind only the United States in the global rankings.

Johnson said that "every death is a tragedy", calling the statistics "appalling", but said there was not yet enough data to make international comparisons.

In particular, he said he "bitterly regrets" the deaths in care homes, which stand at more than 6,000, but added that there had been a "palpable improvement" in the last few days.

The wider death rate is coming down, six weeks after the government imposed stay-at-home orders to stem the rate of infection, and the lockdown measures are up for review on Thursday.

Speaking in parliament for the first time since he himself was hospitalised with coronavirus, Johnson said the government would review the data and he would set out the next steps on Sunday.

"We'll want if we possibly can to get going with some of these measures on Monday. I think it would be a good thing if people had an idea of what is coming," he said.

However, the government has previously stressed that measures would only be lifted gradually.

Johnson repeated on Wednesday: "It would be an economic disaster for this country if we were to pursue a relaxation of these measures now in such a way as to trigger a second spike."

07:57pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP reports nine more deaths, 213 more cases

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department has reported nine more deaths from COVID-19 in the province, taking the grim total to 203.

A rise in the number of infections by 213 was also reported, taking the total tally to 3,712.

07:51pm — Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan — Region reports six recoveries, two more cases

The Gilgit-Baltistan health department has notified six more recoveries in the region, taking the tally of recovered patients to 288.

Two more cases were also reported. The total number of infected now stands at 388.

07:44pm — Paris, France — French waistlines expand under virus lockdown: poll

French women don’t get fat, according to one bestselling book. But the nation which likes to look after its figure has piled on the pounds during the coronavirus lockdown, a survey has shown.

More than half of French people, 57% in total, got fatter since confinement began on March 17, according to an Ifop poll, with many working from home and some not at all, and outdoors exercise strictly limited.

On average, the French gained 2.5 kilogrammes (5.5 pounds) each due to the imposed sedentary lifestyle and a steep rise in a practice generally frowned upon in France: snacking between meals. With more time on their hands given the lack of a daily commute, 42% of respondents reported that pre-dinner cocktail snacks have become a more of a feature in their daily routine.

Women were more likely to put on weight (58% compared to 56% of men), but gained less than their male counterparts on average — 2.3 kilogrammes vs 2.7 kilogrammes, said the poll conducted among a nationally-representative sample of 3,045 people aged 18 and older.

Unemployed people and married couples with children were more affected by the broadening trend. The poll also found that 42% of couples argued about cooking — hardly surprising given that 71% of women living with a partner said they tasked with preparing the majority of meals.

Fifty-six per cent polled said they intended to eat healthier once things go back go normal, but fewer than one in five thought they needed a full-on diet. And it’s not just waistlines that are increasing.

Last month, viewership data taken over a one-week period revealed that French people in lockdown spent nearly five hours per day in front of the television on average — an hour and 17 minutes per day more than a year earlier.

06:56pm — Karachi, Pakistan — CM Sindh orders random COVID-19 tests of people at grocery shops

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has directed the health department to start random testing of people at grocery shops, as well as health and food-related shops so that local spread could be checked and contained accordingly.

He said that this action by no means seeks to shut down shops but is aimed at widening the scope of precautions being taken.

The chief minister urged all those suspecting they have the virus to get "immediately tested". "Please do not worry that some sort of stigma will be attached to you after testing positive".

He assured everyone that no one will be forced into quarantining at an isolation centre if that is not what they wish. They may isolate at home.

06:49pm — Karachi, Pakistan — COVID-19 patients 'at their liberty' to isolate at home or isolation centre: Sindh health dept advisory

Keeping in view complaints by COVID-19 patients of forcibly being shifted to isolation centres against their will, the Sindh health department has issued an advisory which states that positive cases "shall be at their liberty to be isolated either at home or [at the] isolation centre"

The advisory states that none will be forced into admission at an isolation centre if the family agrees to home isolation.

The patient and family must adhere to protocols for home isolation. If community spread occurs, the person will have to go to the isolation centre.

06:31pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Faisal Edhi tests negative for coronavirus

Faisal Edhi — who now oversees the Edhi Foundation charity after the death of his father Abdul Sattar Edhi — has tested negative for the coronavirus.

Saad Edhi, Faisal Edhi's son confirmed the development, saying that his father is still in Islamabad.

Faisal had tested positive for the virus on April 21 after a visit to Islamabad and had since been under quarantine.

06:23pm — Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Country reports 45 more cases, one death

Malaysia has reported 45 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the cumulative total to 6,428 infections.

The health ministry also reported one new death, raising the total number of fatalities from the outbreak to 107.

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05:47pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sherry Rehman questions why govt 'gets all super-upset' by Sindh's COVID-19 response — and then considers doing the same

Sherry Rehman, the PPP vice president and parliamentary leader in the Senate, while responding to reports that the Punjab government is "considering imposing a curfew in Lahore", questioned whether that should be viewed as an "elite decision".

Answering her question, she wrote: "Of course not. They are responding to a medical crisis, period. When Sindh does anything close to that why does federal govt get all super-upset?"

Rehman was responding to reports that the Punjab government might impose a curfew in Lahore till May 10 given that more than 25% of the province's cases have been reported there.

05:32pm — Lahore, Pakistan — 'If everyone is as careful as the Sharifs, we will defeat coronavirus entirely': Punjab govt spokesperson

Punjab government spokesperson Musarrat Cheema has said that "if the entire country were to follow the precautions exercised by the Sharif family, we will be able to rid ourselves of the coronavirus completely".

The PTI MPA, in what was a post on Twitter laced with sarcasm, went on to say that Shehbaz Sharif, who had stayed in London for months "had yet to meet his niece" Maryam Nawaz.

"When he addresses party members, he does so behind closed doors in front of a laptop — all the while wearing a mask," said Cheema.

05:28pm — New York, USA — In the city that never sleeps, subways shut down for the first time

05:15pm — Lahore, Pakistan — 'Majority of Pakistanis cannot afford even a few days of lockdown': Gill

PTI's Shahbaz Gill has said that the majority of Pakistanis "cannot afford even a few days of lockdown" and the state has to make decisions keeping these people in mind.

"Some people are of the view that when a weeks-long lockdown ends, life will go on as usual. The truth is very different. While on a personal level, you might be able to sit it out at home for a few months, the majority of Pakistanis cannot even afford a few days of lockdown. The state has to think of these people," he wrote on Twitter.

Citing Bloomberg, Gill said that the world will take at least 2 years to go back to normal. "The lockdown will end but unemployment and poverty will take years to eradicate," he said.

"When even the sturdiest of economies are afraid of going down that path, Pakistan has to adopt a strategy that is focused on curbing the coronavirus as well as keeping the means of earning open for the poor," said Gill.

04:56pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — 'Only the rich seeking an extended lockdown': Ijaz Shah

Minister for Interior Ijaz Ahmed Shah has said that it is "only the rich who seek an extended lockdown" and those who are going hungry are looking forward to the restrictions easing.

Shah said that no new code of ethics is being issued for the last ten days of Ramadan.

The minister said that the ulema are united in the view that Eid prayers must be held in large open venues and if one person from a neighbourhood attends the prayer, it will be equivalent to the entire neighbourhood attending.

The ulema have also requested that as few people as possible observe Itikaf.

04:32pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP govt allows taking bodies of COVID-19 victims home for last rites

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has allowed people to take the bodies of coronavirus victims home for the observance of last rites — bath and prayer before burial — but under the defined guidelines.

According to the KP health department, so far no case of transmission of the disease from a dead body has been reported anywhere in the world.

It said that the decision was made keeping in view the fact the provincial government has already issued necessary guidelines to relatives of the deceased persons for taking the body home.

Under the guidelines issued:

- Relatives would not touch the body without wearing gloves and masks.

- The body would be covered by either cloth coffin or plastic bags for burial.

- The relatives of deceased persons are allowed to bathe the body but after putting on gloves, masks and other protective wear.

- The last sighting of the dead body is also allowed by the government but all the while maintaining social distancing.

- Staff designated by the government would supervise the whole burial process as part of precautionary measures.

Earlier, the deceased person's body was not allowed to be taken home and burial was also done in isolation by the designated staff of the government.

4:15pm —Tehran, Iran — Death toll from coronavirus outbreak rises to 6,418

The death toll from the new coronavirus outbreak in Iran rose by 78 in the past 24 hours to 6,418, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said.

The total number of diagnosed cases of new coronavirus in Iran, one of the countries hardest hit by the outbreak in the Middle East, has reached 101,650, he said.

4:00pm — Madrid, Spain — Death toll climbs to 25,817

The number of daily fatalities from the coronavirus in Spain picked up on Wednesday as health authorities registered 244 deaths, up from below 200 on each of the three previous days.

The health ministry said the overall coronavirus death toll rose to 25,817 on Wednesday while coronavirus cases rose to 220,325.

3:45pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — School holidays likely to be extended beyond May 31: sources

Schools holidays in the country are likely to be extended beyond May 31 as the country continues to grapple with the pandemic, sources said.

According to sources, Balochistan and Sindh during a meeting chaired by Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood opposed the idea of reopening schools from June 1.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, however, has supported the idea to reopen schools from June 1, sources added.

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3:35pm — Dubai, UAE — Developer Nakheel slashes salaries due to coronavirus crisis

Dubai property developer Nakheel has slashed salaries by as much as 50% as it tries to weather the coronavirus crisis, according to an internal email seen by Reuters, and its chief executive resigned in March, a spokeswoman said.

“Due to the ongoing circumstances, we have reached the stage where it is time to implement some necessary measures to help us weather this storm, safeguard our staff and security continuing of our business,” state-owned Nakheel said.

3:20pm — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab makes it mandatory for people to wear masks when visiting hospitals

The Punjab health department in its latest guidelines has made it mandatory for visitors and patients entering hospitals to wear face masks.

According to a spokesperson of the primary and secondary healthcare department coronavirus can spread through asymptomatic people as well which can infect those already infected with the virus.

The spokesperson added that the public needed to avoid going to the hospitals and practice social distancing.

3:15pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — Opposition submits requisition to convene Senate session

Opposition members in Senate have submitted a requisition to convene a session to debate the ever-growing danger due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is a need to bind the people in this moment of crisis,” the senators said, adding that there was a need to discuss steps on how to handle the pandemic and how to provide relief to the public.

The senators also called for a discussion of Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir amid the coronavirus situation.

3:10pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh reports 9 more deaths

The death toll from the novel coronavirus climbed to 535 in Pakistan after Sindh reported new deaths.

According to the Sindh government spokesperson, nine deaths were reported in Sindh, taking the provincial tally to 157.

3:05pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh reports 451 new cases, nationwide tally jumps past 23,000

Sindh reported 451 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking the provincial tally to 8,640.

According to the Sindh government spokesperson, in the last 24 hours, 60 people have recovered from coronavirus in the province.

Confirmed cases in the country now stand at 23,274.

3:00pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Isolation facility established by Sindh govt in Khairpur

2:50pm — Manila, Philippines — Coronavirus infections top 10,000

The Philippines coronavirus infections have broken past the 10,000 mark, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

In a bulletin, the health ministry reported 320 additional infections, bringing the total to 10,004. It also reported 21 new deaths, bringing the toll to 658. 

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2:15pm — Tokyo, Japan — Tokyo reports 38 new coronavirus cases in fifth straight day of decline

Japan's capital of Tokyo reported 38 cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, Jiji news agency said, marking a fifth straight day of declining numbers of new infections.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday extended a nationwide state of emergency to May 31, saying the infection rate had yet to drop enough to justify ending measures

2:00pm — Beijing, China — China says will expand coronavirus funding if needed to support UN

China will expand its funding if needed to support the United Nations initiative to speed up the development of vaccines and treatment for COVID-19, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying did not give details on how much funding China might give.

1:45pm — Singapore, Singapore — Health ministry confirms 788 new coronavirus cases

Singapore's health ministry on Wednesday confirmed 788 new coronavirus cases, taking the city-state's tally to 20,198. 

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Photo: World Economic Forum Twitter

1:30pm — Lahore, Pakistan — PIA to operate 4 special flights from Lahore

Pakistan International Airline (PIA) will operate four special flights carrying stranded Britons in Pakistan starting May 7.

Empty PIA planes will depart for Dubai on May 7 and 8 to bring back 200 Pakistanis to Lahore and Faisalabad.

1:15pm — Moscow, Russia — Coronavirus cases rise by more than 10,000 for fourth straight day

The number of new coronavirus cases in Russia rose by 10,559 over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide tally to 165,929, the coronavirus crisis response centre said on Wednesday.

It was the fourth consecutive day that cases had risen by more than 10,000.

It also reported 86 new fatalities from COVID-19, bringing the total death toll in Russia to 1,537. 

1:00pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Decision to ease lockdown to be taken after consensus: Sindh govt spox

Sindh government spokesperson has said that a decision to ease the nationwide lockdown will be taken after a consensus from all the chief ministers during today’s meeting at the National Command and Operation Centre.

“All the provinces gave their recommendations in the meeting today,” the spokesperson said.

“A decision will be taken on a national level after looking at the recommendations put forward,” he said, adding that a discussion over how to facilitate during the lockdown was also put forward.

12:45pm — London, UK — London stocks dip as coronavirus damage mounts

UK stocks slipped on Wednesday as another round of gloomy quarterly earnings reports underlined the business damage from the COVID-19 pandemic, with investors also wary of growing US-China tensions over the origin of the coronavirus.

Photo: Reuters

ITV, Britain's biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, fell 0.8% after saying ad revenue plunged 42% in April and that it could not issue a forecast for the rest of the year.

The FTSE 100 fell 0.1%, with oil majors BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc tracking a slide in oil prices. The domestically focussed midcap index dipped 0.2%.

Global coronavirus cases over 3.68 million, death toll reaches 256,000

More than 3.68 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 256,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019. 

12:30pm — Lahore, Punjab — CM Punjab gives nod to systematic approval for SOPs: sources

Punjab Chief Minister has given approval for SOPs regarding home quarantine, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

According to Punjab government sources, after approval from the Centre, home quarantines based on international guidelines will be established in Punjab.

Sources added government teams will go to homes to ensure quarantine at home was up to the mark.

Moreover, sources said, the public will also have the option to quarantine at government centres and hotels.

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12:15pm — Berlin, Germany — Germany wants to reopen all shops and schools and restart football league in May

Germany will fully reopen shops and schools in May after weeks of shutdown imposed to control the spread of the coronavirus, according to a draft agreement between Chancellor Angela Merkel and regional premiers.

12:00pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP ramps up testing, conducts 1,422 tests in one day

Sanofi to enrol thousands in coronavirus vaccine trial

French drugmaker Sanofi says it plans to enrol thousands of people across the world in trials of an experimental coronavirus vaccine it is developing with Britain's GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

According to Reuters, the company hopes to start the trials in September and will be testing the vaccine on larger numbers of people to secure stronger data sooner. 

Late-stage trials comparing the vaccine with placebo are expected to take place at the end of this year or early 2021.

11:30am — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab reports 273 new cases, nationwide tally rises to 22,823

Punjab reported 273 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking the provincial tally to 8,693.

According to the spokesperson of the primary and secondary healthcare department, Lahore has reported the highest number of cases 3,210.

The spokesperson added that so far 3,086 people have recovered from the virus in the province while 25 were in a critical condition.

The province has also recorded 156 deaths from the virus.

11:20am — Islamabad, Pakistan — PIA flight carrying repatriated Pakistanis arrives in Islamabad

11:10am — Beijing, China — Students back to school in Wuhan

Nearly 6,000 students flocked back to school in Wuhan, the original epicentre of the new coronavirus after more than three months.

Wednesday's back-to-school was the latest step in a gradual normalising of life in Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province.

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11:00am — Washington,US — More African Americans dying from COVID-19 in US than whites or other ethnic groups: study

A report by the US Census Bureau says there is new evidence more African Americans may be dying from coronavirus in the United States than whites or other ethnic groups.

Black Americans represent 13.4% of the American population, according to the US Census Bureau, but counties with higher black populations account for more than half of all coronavirus cases and almost 60% of deaths, the study found.

Disparities, including access to health care, are likely to blame, researchers concluded in the report.

Read the full CNN story here.

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Gilead in talks with manufacturers in Pakistan, India to produce remdesivir

Gilead Sciences has said it is in discussions with chemical and drug manufacturers to produce its experimental COVID-19 drug remdesivir for Europe, Asia and the developing world through at least 2022.

It also said it was negotiating long-term voluntary licenses with several generic drugmakers in India and Pakistan to produce remdesivir for developing countries.

Read the full story here.

10:20am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Islamabad to seek $305mn from ADB for virus relief

Pakistan will seek another $305 million in loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to support its preventive and response efforts to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Officials said the government approved concept clearance paper for seeking a loan from the Manila-based ADB for emergency assistance and fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full story here.

WATCH: Trump skips out on wearing a face mask during Arizona mask factory visit

10:00am — Islamabad, Pakistan — NCOC proposes recommendations to ease lockdown restrictions

The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) has proposed multiple recommendations to ease lockdown restrictions in the country to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Recommendations include the opening of inter-provincial transportation with proper implementation of SOPs, opening phase-II of the construction sector, reopening of retail outlets and operationalisation of selective outpatient departments in Islamabad.

England cricketer Ben Stokes completes first half-marathon to raise funds for NHS

England cricketer Ben Stokes completed his first half-marathon on Tuesday to raise money for Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That was so hard! Please donate if you can, it is all for a great cause,” Stokes posted on Twitter.

9:40am — Islamabad, Pakistan — NCC meets today to decide on easing lockdown

The National Coordination Committee (NCC) will meet in Islamabad today to decide on how to ease the lockdown after May 9.

The meeting of the NCC will be attended by the four chief ministers who will deliberate over the next steps to curb the spread of the virus.

Information Minister Shibli Faraz while speaking to the media on Tuesday had said relaxation in lockdown would require the public to take precautions as the war against the pandemic could only be won by people staying at homes.

"Whenever the lockdown eases, people should follow the SOPs and safety measures because we cannot afford a relapse of the pandemic," he had said.

Residents observe government social distancing guidelines in England

9:30am — Berlin, Germany — Confirmed coronavirus cases rise 164,807

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 947 to 164,807, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.

The reported death toll rose by 165 to 6,996, the tally showed. 

US COVID-19 deaths rise by 2,333 in 24 hours: Johns Hopkins

9:00am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Confirmed cases jump past 22,500

Confirmed coronavirus cases in the country jumped to 22,550 after new cases were detected in Islamabad and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

According to the national dashboard, 21 new cases were recorded in Islamabad, while five new cases were reported in AJK.

So far Islamabad has recorded 485 and AJK 76 cases of the virus.

8:45am — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab reports 287 new cases, 12 more deaths

Punjab reported 287 new coronavirus cases, taking the provincial tally to 8,420.

The province's death toll from the virus rose to 156 with 12 new deaths.

8:40am — Washington, US — White House to wind down coronavirus task force as focus shifts to aftermath

The White House coronavirus task force will wind down as the country moves into a second phase that focuses on the aftermath of the outbreak, President Donald Trump said on Tuesday.

Trump confirmed the plans after Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the group, told reporters the White House may start moving coordination of the US response on to federal agencies in late May.

"Mike Pence and the task force have done a great job," Trump said during a visit to a mask factory in Arizona. "But we're now looking at a little bit of a different form and that form is safety and opening and we'll have a different group probably set up for that."

8:30am — Beijing, China — China reports 2 new cases, 20 new asymptomatic cases

China reported two new coronavirus cases for May 5 and 20 new asymptomatic cases, data from the national health authority showed on Wednesday.

China's total number of coronavirus cases now stands at 82,883, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,633, the National Health Commission said in a statement

8:20am — Rio De Janeiro, Brazil — Brazil posts daily record of 600 coronavirus deaths

Brazil hit a record for daily coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, indicating that the nation is still in the thick of its battle against the virus, even as some areas of the country are beginning to open up.

According to the Health Ministry, there have been 6,935 new cases of the novel coronavirus in Brazil since Monday evening and 600 new deaths.

The nation has now tallied 114,715 confirmed cases of the virus and 7,921 deaths, the ministry said, making it by far the hardest-hit country in Latin America.

12:50am — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab dismisses claims of reopening schools from June 1

11:23pm/May 5 — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh govt advises against resumption of railway services

Sindh's transport minister, Owais Shah, has warned Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed against the resumption of railway services, saying: "This is not the time to run trains; it is a time to save people's lives from the coronavirus."

"A resumption of train services will lead to huge crowds gathering at railway stations.

"These crowds may lead to a spread of the disease," said Shah.

The minister said that the federal government should avoid "playing with people's lives" just to satisfy their "greed for money".

"As it is, due to the federal government's negligence, a continuous rise in the number of cases is being seen," he said.

"It is a state's job to protect the lives of people, not play with them like this."

For our May 5 coverage of coronavirus click here.