Coronavirus updates, May 14: Latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from Pakistan and around the world

Nationwide death toll goes past 800, confirmed cases cross 37,000

Web Desk

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 37,160 on Thursday after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The province-wise break up of the total number of cases as of 11:29pm, May 14, is as follows:

Total confirmed cases: 37,160

• Sindh: 14,099

• Punjab: 13,914

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 5,423

• Balochistan: 2,239

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 822

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 501

• AJK: 91

Deaths: 802

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 284

• Sindh: 243

• Balochistan: 30

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 4

• Punjab: 234

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 6

• AJK: 1

Officials have recorded more than 4.35 million cases and more than 295,000 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 15 to continue here.

11:52pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh to enforce strict lockdown over weekend

The Sindh home department has said a strict lockdown will be enforced in the province on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

All business activity will remain suspended on these three days.

On Friday, every kind of business will remain closed between 12pm and 3pm.

11:29pm — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab reports 11 deaths, 353 new cases

11:00pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — Tiger Force inductee talks about training, motivation to join

10:35pm — Quetta, Pakistan — Balochistan reports three more deaths, 71 new cases

Balochistan has reported three more deaths in the province, taking the grim total to 30.

The province also reported 71 new cases with which the total tally has now hit 2,310.

With 86 more recoveries, the province now has a total of 342 recoveries.

10:18pm — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab's disaster management authority alerts Twitter users of 'only official account'

10:13pm — Aden, Yemen — Yemen reports first coronavirus cases in southern province

Yemen’s Saudi-backed government has reported the first cases of novel coronavirus in the southern province of Al Dhalea, underlining fears that the infection had found a foothold in the war-torn country.

The government’s coronavirus committee said on Twitter seven more cases has been confirmed in the port city of Aden where it is based and that Al Dhalea had recorded its first three infections, bringing the total in areas under its control to 85 cases with 12 deaths.

The Arabian Peninsula country is divided between the Saudi-backed government in the south and the Iran-aligned Houthi movement that controls the capital, Sanaa, and most large urban centres.

Houthi authorities have reported only two cases with one death, both in Sanaa.

9:58pm — Ankara, Turkey — Turkey's coronavirus death toll reaches 4,000: health minister

Turkey’s coronavirus death toll has reached 4,007, after 55 more people died in the last 24 hours, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said.

Turkey has conducted 34,821 more tests on Thursday, taking the total amount of tests carried out so far to over 1.5 million, Koca said on Twitter.

09:35pm — Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan — Region's tally of infected crosses 500

Gilgit-Baltistan's tally of infected has hit 501 today with 19 more cases reported by the health department.

According to the health department, two more people have also recovered, taking the total number of recoveries to 339.

09:19pm — Berlin, Germany — Virus to slash almost 100 bn euros off Germany's 2020 tax intake

Germany expects the coronavirus pandemic to wipe almost 100 billion euros off the 2020 tax intake, according to latest estimates today from the finance ministry.

"In comparison with the tax estimate from October 2019, tax intake for 2020 will be 98.6 billion ($106.4 billion) less than expected," the ministry estimate said.

Tax revenues for 2021 through to 2024 are also due to fall way short of earlier forecasts, with the figure for next year to be down 52.7 billion euros.

09:03pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Bilawal appeals to everyone to pray at home on Ramadan 21

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto has appealed to everyone to observe Ramadan 21/Youm-e-Ali/Friday indoors and hold all worship and prayer within the safety of their homes.

He requested everyone to keep in mind all the frontline workers who are day and night putting their lives at risk.

Bilawal said it was up to everyone to do their part and ensure these workers are not unnecessarily burdened any more than they have to be.

08:39pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — UNICEF procures 8 metric tonnes of PPEs for Pakistan with support from World Bank

08:02pm — Geneva, Switzerland — WTO chief expected to step down as global economic crisis rages

The World Trade Organisation is expected today to announce the early departure of its director-general, creating shockwaves at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging the global economy.

Responding to questions about news reports that Roberto Azevedo was preparing to step down before his term expires next year, WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell told AFP that the global trade body "will have an announcement on this matter following the heads of delegation meeting" starting at 1400 GMT.

Several diplomats confirmed to AFP that they had been hastily called to take part in a meeting Thursday on "pressing administrative matters", and several said they understood Azevedo´s future would be on the agenda.

And Azevedo himself appeared to confirm the information in an interview with Brazil's main financial newspaper Valor Economico, insisting that moving forward his departure could avoid weighing down an important ministerial meeting next year with leadership discussions.

The 62-year-old Brazilian career diplomat first took the reins of the global trade body in 2013 and his second term is due to end in September 2021, but he acknowledged he might leave a full year earlier.

07:52pm — Karachi, Pakistan — 66 of 88 positive cases from Pir Jo Goth have tested negative from Aga Khan lab, claims PTI MPA

A member of the Sindh Assembly belonging to the ruling PTI party has claimed that 66 out of the 88 cases belonging to Pir Jo Goth declared positive by the Sindh government have tested negative from Aga Khan lab.

06:50pm — New York, USA — A third of patients developed kidney problems, report researchers

Over a third of patients treated for COVID-19 in a large New York medical system developed acute kidney injury, and nearly 15% required dialysis, US researchers have reported.

The study was conducted by a team at Northwell Health, the largest health provider in New York state.

“We found in the first 5,449 patients admitted, 36.6% developed acute kidney injury,” said study co-author Dr. Kenar Jhaveri, associated chief of nephrology at Hofstra/Northwell in Great Neck, New York, whose findings were published in the journal Kidney International.

Acute kidney injury occurs when the kidneys fail and become unable to filter out waste.

Of those patients with kidney failure, 14.3% required dialysis, Jhaveri said in a phone interview.

6:25pm - Karachi, Pakistan — PIA flight carrying 218 passengers from US arrives in Karachi  

A PIA flight carrying 218 Pakistanis from the US landed in Karachi on Thursday.

According to officials, the screening process of the passengers is underway and they will be shifted to different qaurantine centres after the process. 

6:20pm - Ottawa, Canada — Canada March factory sales slump by the most in over 11 years

Canadian manufacturing sales in March slumped by 9.2%, the biggest drop in over 11 years, as the coronavirus pandemic forced the shutdown of many businesses, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a drop of 5.7% in March. Of the 21 industries monitored by the statistical agency, 17 reported declines.

The plunge in sales was the greatest since December 2008, during the great recession. More than three-quarters of firms in the manufacturing sector said their activities had been affected by shutdowns.

“Given ongoing lower demand, together with continued challenges to global supply chains and ongoing physical distancing measures, the March decline in sales is expected to continue into April,” Statscan said in a commentary.

6:15pm - Budapest, Hungary — Hungary could end emergency powers in late June: top Orban aide

Indefinite emergency powers obtained by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to fight the coronavirus crisis could be retracted in late June depending on the evolution of the pandemic, his chief of staff said on Thursday.

Orban secured a right to rule by decree in March, drawing criticism from rights groups and the European Commission. He said his powers could be withdrawn by parliament — where his party holds a two-thirds majority — at any time.

Under the legislation, anybody deemed to be deliberately spreading false information that could upset people or hinder the fight against the novel coronavirus could face up to five years in jail.

“The government could give up its special emergency rights towards the end of June unless the situation (with the epidemic) changes,” said Gergely Gulyas, chief of staff to Orban, a right-wing nationalist at odds with the EU over accusations the rule of law has deteriorated in Hungary during his decade in power.

Gulyas also told an online press briefing the government was considering easing restrictions in Budapest from next week due to a decline in infections. Lockdown restrictions have already been mostly lifted in the countryside.

6:05pm - Karachi, Pakistan — SIUT sees coronavirus surge in dialysis, transplant, cancer patients 

Sindh Institute of Urology & Transplantation has announced that there has been an increase in  coronavirus infections in dialysis, transplant and cancer patients under its treatment.

"Due to the spread in the community last week, 55 additional patients of dialysis, transplant and cancer have been admitted in SIUT overwhelming our capacity," said a press release issued by the hospital. 

SIUT has said so far 41 dialysis patients are under treatment for COVID-19 and at least two patients are being diagnosed daily.

"Around 20 to 22 transplant patients are infected with COVID-19 who are getting vigorous treatment including high regimen immunosuppression," said SIUT

5:55pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Three shopping centres' sealed in Karachi  

District officials in Karachi sealed multiple shops on Karachi’s Tariq Road for violating the SOPs required by shopkeepers to follow.

The officials sealed Uzma Centre, Mateen Centre and Rafi Centre. Two shops in Shadman Centre and one shoe shops was also sealed by the district officials.

5:50pm - Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab govt fighting coronavirus under CM's dynamic leadership: PDMA   

5:45pm - Washington, USA — Millions more Americans file for jobless benefits as coronavirus layoffs widen

The global novel coronavirus crisis continues to batter the US labor market, with millions more Americans, including white collar workers, filing for unemployment benefits last week as the hit from the pandemic spills over into a broader swath of the economy.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits totaled a seasonally adjusted 2.981 million for the week ended May 9, the Labor Department said on Thursday. While that was down from 3.176 million in the prior week and marked the sixth straight weekly drop, claims remain astoundingly high.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast applications for unemployment benefits totaling 2.5 million in the latest week. Claims have been gradually decreasing since hitting a record 6.867 million in the week ended March 28.

The weekly jobless claims report, the most timely data on the economy’s health, cements economists’ expectations for a third straight month of massive job losses in May. The report came a day after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned of an “extended period” of weak growth and stagnant incomes.

“We are on the back end of the first wave of layoffs, but now we are transitioning from the natural-disaster phase to the recession phase,” said Josh Wright, chief economist at Wrightside Advisors in New York. “That’s why so many white collar jobs are still being lost. We effectively amputated a large section of the economy, and we are going to limp along afterwards.”

5:40pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — NCOC takes in depth review of medical facilities: PM Office  

5:35pm - Warsaw, Poland — Poland to extend school closures until June 26

Poland will close schools until the end of the school year on June 26, a deputy education minister said on Thursday, as part of its efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to Polish state news agency PAP.

In recent weeks, Poland, the largest economy among the EU’s eastern states, has sought to loosen some restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus. Restaurants and hairdressers will reopen on Monday.

Poland’s education ministry was not immediately available for comment.

5:30pm - Beijing, China — China says it will step up testing to prevent COVID-19 rebound

China said on Thursday it will step up COVID-19 testing and screening to prevent a rebound of the coronavirus epidemic that has killed more than 4,600 in its mainland territories.

National Health Commission spokeswoman Song Shuli made the remarks during a daily press briefing.

Numbers of new COVID-19 cases reported on a daily basis have fallen sharply from those seen at the height of the epidemic in February, but an increase in new cases in the country’s northeastern provinces such as Jilin and Liaoning have raised fresh concerns for Beijing.

5:20pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh govt to set up six hospitals for infectious disease

Sindh government had decided to set up six hospitals for infectious disease across the province.

The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Sindh chief secretary and provincial health minister. The chief secretary assured that they are issuing all fund required by the health department in the fight against coronavirus.

“We are also creating hospitals for the training of paramedical staff in the province,” said the health minister.

5:15pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — Only those students to be promoted who have their results: Minister 

Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood has announced that those students who have their results for class 9 and 11 will be promoted to the next class.

“Exams for class 9 and 11 will not be conducted,” said the minister in a press conference after chairing a meeting of all education ministers. He added that a special exam will be carried out for students who are not satisfied with their grades in between September till November.

Mahmood stated that the students will be divided into four categories for the special exams.

The minister explained that in the first category they have put those students who are not happy with their grade 11 results. He added that the second category is of those students who were planning to give the exams of two grades in one go.

Mahmood stated that the third category is of those kids who wish to improve their grade in some subjects, while the last category is of students who have failed in more than 40% of their exams.

The minister stated that those wishing to give the special exams should inform their respective boards by July 1.

5:06pm — Dublin, Ireland — PM says it will take months for EU travel to return to normal

It will take months not weeks for COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted and travel around the European Union to return to normal, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told parliament, Reuters reported.

Ireland, which is part of a Common Travel Area with the United Kingdom but not a member of the European Union’s Schengen free travel area, is considering strengthening public health requirements for visitors from abroad, Varadkar said.

“While it is our policy to resume normal travel for business, leisure, study and visits to friends and relatives (around the EU) as soon as it is safe to do so ... it will be months, not weeks before this is possible,” he said.

5:02pm — Geneva, Switzerland — COVID-19 is a reminder that physical health as important as mental health: WHO chief

4:58pm — London, UK — UN warns of global mental health crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic

A mental illness crisis is looming as millions of people worldwide are surrounded by death and disease and forced into isolation, poverty and anxiety by the pandemic of COVID-19, United Nations health experts said, Reuters reported.

“The isolation, the fear, the uncertainty, the economic turmoil - they all cause or could cause psychological distress,” said Devora Kestel, director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) mental health department.

“The mental health and wellbeing of whole societies have been severely impacted by this crisis and are a priority to be addressed urgently,” she told reporters at a briefing.

The report highlighted several regions and sections of societies as vulnerable to mental distress - including children and young people isolated from friends and school, healthcare workers who are seeing thousands of patients infected with and dying from the new coronavirus.

4:25pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Sixth Karachi policemen dies due to coronavirus 

Sindh police spokesperson announced that the sixth cop in Karachi has passed away due to the coronavirus.

The spokesperson has stated that Abdul Aziz was working as a driver for DSP Rasala. He added that the official was tested for the virus on May 6.

The spokesperson also announced that 173 police officials have tested positive for the virus out of which 32 have recovered from the virus. 

4:15pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Students to be promoted with 3% increase in grades: Saeed Ghani 

Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani has announced that the government has decided that all students will be promoted after their grade is increased by 3 per cent.

“More meetings will be held to resolve the issues,” Ghani said during a press conference.

He added that they were trying to adopt a strategy to ensure that no one was given special treatment.

“Those kids who have failed will be promoted by giving passing marks,” Ghani told reporters.

4:10pm - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Malaysia to allow mass prayers ahead of Eid as coronavirus cases fall

Muslim-majority Malaysia will ease a ban on mass prayers in mosques, starting from Friday and ahead of this month's Eid festival, the government said, as it gradually relaxes curbs that have helped rein in the coronavirus.

The news follows last week's re-opening of many businesses in Malaysia, which has a tally of 6,819 infections and 112 deaths. It comes ahead of the Eid holiday that ends the fasting month of Ramadan, and falls on May 24 this year.

The capital, Kuala Lumpur, is among Malaysia's federal territories which will allow prayers by congregations limited to 30 or fewer, said Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, the religious affairs minister.

"Even though worship in Islam is not confined only to mosques and suraus, it has a profound effect on the spiritual development of Muslims," he told reporters on Thursday, in a reference to smaller prayer sites.

The measure excludes Malaysia's 12 remaining states, which have their own laws on religious matters, but Zulkifli said they were free to adopt similar measures if they wished.

4:00pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — Khawaja Asif alleges that govt is hiding stats from the people 

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif has alleged that the government is lying to the people by sharing incorrect statistics.

“A major crisis is being hidden by lying,” Asif said in a press conference. He added that the government does not know how to handle this crisis.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has stated that the government has no policy in place stating that the government itself admitted this in the National Assembly.

“Shah Mahmood Qureshi says that our policy related to the coronavirus is evolving,” said the PML-N leader.

3:55pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — Chinese medical military team visits NIH

3:25pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — Nationwide death toll rises to 788

Death toll from the novel coronavirus climbed to 788 after new deaths were reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

According to KP health department, nine new deaths were reported in the province in the last 24 hours.

With the new deaths KP's tally now stands at 284.

3:25pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — Country's tally of positive cases jumps to 36,717

Confirmed cases in the country climbed to 36,717 after new cases were detected in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

According to KP health department, 171 new cases were recorded in the province in the last 24 hours.

“113 new patients [have] recovered taking total to 1,505,” said the health department.

3:10pm - Budapest, Hungry — Hungary could end emergency powers in late June: PM aide

Hungary’s government could end emergency powers obtained to fight the coronavirus pandemic in late June, depending on the evolution of the pandemic, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff said on Thursday.

Gergely Gulyas also told an online press briefing earlier that the government was considering an easing of restrictions in Budapest from next week due to a decline in infections.

3:05pm - Geneva, Switzerland — World leaders demand free coronavirus vaccine for all

World leaders past and present insisted on Thursday that any eventual COVID-19 vaccines and treatments should be made available to everyone, free of charge.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan were among more than 140 signatories of a letter saying any vaccine should not be patented while the science should be shared between nations.

The World Health Assembly, the policy-setting body of the UN´s World Health Organisation, holds its annual general meeting next week.

The signatories called on the WHA to rally behind the cause.

"Governments and international partners must unite around a global guarantee which ensures that, when a safe and effective vaccine is developed, it is produced rapidly at scale and made available for all people, in all countries, free of charge," the letter said.

"The same applies for all treatments, diagnostics, and other technologies for COVID-19."

The letter was signed by Senegalese President Macky Sall and Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo.

Former presidents and prime ministers among the signatories included Shaukat Aziz, Jan Peter Balkenende, Jose Manuel Barroso, Gordon Brown, Helen Clark, Felipe Gonzalez, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Aleksander Kwasniewski, Mary McAleese, Olusegun Obasanjo and Juan Manuel Santos.

The letter comes amid fury in France after pharmaceutical giant Sanofi said it would reserve first shipments of any COVID-19 vaccine for the United States.

3:00pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — 27 doctors test positive for virus in federal capital  

Officials in two major hospitals of Islamabad have stated that 27 doctors have tested positive for the coronavirus.

PIMS management has stated that 19 doctors have tested positive for the coronavirus while performing their duties.

According to PIMS officials, 6 nurses, 2 sanitary workers and 16 other staff members have also tested positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, 8 doctors in the Polyclinic hospital have contacted the virus, said, hospital officials. They added that 11 paramedical and other staff members have also tested positive for the virus.

2:55pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — More than Rs101 bln distributed under Ehsaas Emergency cash programme 

2:50pm  - Peshawar, Pakistan — KP testing capacity crosses 1,500 per day  

1:45pm - Amsterdam, Netherlands — Coronavirus vaccine possible in early 2021, says European agency

A vaccine to counter the new coronavirus could be approved in about a year in an “optimistic” scenario, a agency which approves medicines for the European Union said on Thursday.

The European Medicines Agency, in communication with 33 developers, was doing all it could to speed up the approval process, the EMA’s head of vaccines, Marco Cavaleri, said, but he was sceptical of claims any could be ready by September.

“For vaccines, since the development has to start from scratch ... we might look from an optimistic side in a year from now, so beginning of 2021,” he told journalists.

He ruled out the possibility of skipping the third phase of a vaccine trial, which he said would be needed to be sure a vaccine was safe and effective.

The EMA is also looking at 115 different therapeutics, or treatments, for the coronavirus, which has killed nearly 300,000 deaths globally, according to World Health Organization data.

Cavaleri said some of those therapeutics could be approved in Europe as early as this summer, but he did not specify which.

2:40pm - Jakarta Indonesia — Indonesia reports 568 new coronavirus infections, 15 deaths

Indonesia reported 568 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, taking the total in the Southeast Asian country to 16,006, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.

Yurianto reported 15 new deaths related to COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, taking the total to 1,043, while 3,518 have recovered. More than 127,800 people have been tested, he added.

He also said more than 33,600 patients had suspected acute respiratory illnesses for which there was no clinical explanation other than the new coronavirus.

2:35pm - Madrid, Spain — Spain's daily coronavirus death toll rises above 200

Spain’s daily coronavirus death toll rose on Thursday above 200 for the first time since May 8, the health ministry reported.

The overall death toll from the disease rose to 27,321 on Thursday from 27,104 as 217 people reportedly died overnight, the ministry said.

The overall number of diagnosed cases rose to 229,540 on Thursday.

2:30pm - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Malaysia reports 40 new coronavirus cases; one additional death

Malaysia on Thursday reported 40 new coronavirus cases with one additional death, the health ministry said.

The country has so far recorded a total of 6,819 infections, with 112 fatalities.

2:25pm - Beijing, China — China says it will step up testing to prevent COVID-19 rebound

China said on Thursday it will step up COVID-19 testing and screening to prevent a rebound of the coronavirus epidemic that has killed more than 4,600 in its mainland territories.

National Health Commission spokeswoman Song Shuli made the remarks during a daily press briefing.

Numbers of new COVID-19 cases reported on a daily basis have fallen sharply from those seen at the height of the epidemic in February, but an increase in new cases in the country's northeastern provinces such as Jilin and Liaoning have raised fresh concerns for Beijing.

2:20pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — Flights leave from Islamabad to bring back stranded Pakistanis 

Multiple flights have left from Islamabad to bring back stranded Pakistanis from various countries, airport sources told Geo News.

According to the sources, a special flight has left for Dubai, while another flight with 401 passengers have left for France.

The sources also shared that the PIA flight PK750 with 265 passengers from London has landed in Islamabad. They added that the passengers have been shifted to quarantine centres after being screened.

2:10pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — Itikaf in Faisal Mosque to begin from today 

Itikaf in Islamabad’s Faisal Mosque will begin from today evening under the government announced SOPs.

According to the mosque authorities, anyone above 50 will not be allowed to sit in itikaf and only 15 people will be allowed to sit in itikaf if they have been tested for the coronavirus.

1:55pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh coronavirus death toll hits 243

Death toll from the novel coronavirus climbed to 779 after new deaths were reported in Sindh.

According to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, nine new deaths were reported in the province in the last 24 hours.

DEath toll of the province now stands at 243.

1:55pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh positive cases cross 14,000, nationwide tally jumps past 36,000

Confirmed cases in the country climbed to 36,546 after new cases were detected in Sindh.

According to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, 758 new cases were recorded in the province in the last 24 hours, with 555 of the new cases reported from Karachi.

“Today 238 patients have recovered in the province,” Shah said, adding that they have conducted 107,827 tests so far.

1:45pm - Manila, Philippines — Philippines' coronavirus cases approaching 12,000

The Philippines’ health ministry on Thursday said the number of cases of the novel coronavirus recorded in the country is nearing 12,000.

In a bulletin, the ministry said it had recorded 258 more confirmed cases, bringing the total to 11,876. It reported 18 more deaths, increasing the total to 790, while 86 more patients have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 2,337.

1:40pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — Govt policy focuses on those in need first: Minister

Federal Minister for Information Senator Shibli Faraz  told the upper house of Parliament that the government policy focus on those who are in need first. 

"Underlying point of all government policy is to how to focus on those who are in need with the limited resources," said the senator.

He pointed that the first section of the society that is in need are the daily wagers and that the government needs to address them first.

"Everyone knows how our financial situation is but despite those limitations PM announced a stimiulus package that was directed towards small business and daily wage earners," the minister told the Senate.

1:30pm - Quetta, Pakistan — BHC CJ suspends three employees for violating precautionary measures

Balochistan High Court chief justice suspended three employees for not following the precautions measures and adopting a lax attitude, said a notification. 

1:25pm - Lahore, Pakistan — DC seals 45 shops in Lahore's Shah Alam Market

Deputy commissioner Lahore closed 45 shops in the city’s Shah Alam Market for not following the government set SOPs.

According to DC Lahore, teams have been formed to take coronavirus samples of the shopkeepers.


1:05pm - Beijing, China — China calls US accusation of hacking in COVID-19 research "slander"

China's foreign ministry, asked about China-linked hackers breaking into US COVID-19 research, said China opposed what it called slander from the United States.

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian added on Thursday that any action online to sabotage efforts against the disease should be condemned.

12:55pm - Moscow, Russia — Russia's coronavirus cases pass 250,000, lowest daily rise in almost two weeks

Russia on Thursday reported 9,974 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, its lowest daily rise since May 2, bringing its nationwide tally to 252,245.

Russia’s coronavirus response centre said 93 people died overnight, bringing the official death toll to 2,305.

12:50pm - Islamabad, Pakistan — PM Imran summons meeting to review coroanvirus situation in country

Prime Minister Imran Khan has summoned a meeting to review the coronavirus situation in the country after the easing of the lockdown in the country.

During the meeting, chair of the National Command and Operations Centre will brief Prime Minister Imran Khan. officials from the NDMA and health ministry will also brief the premier.

12:45pm - Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab government bans Yaum-e-Ali process, gatherings

The Punjab government on Thursday announced a ban on Youm-e-Ali processions in the province in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

According to a notification issued by the home department, the government has allowed the holding of majalis in Imam Bargahs and houses on the basis that the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the government are strictly observed.

Read more here.

12:40pm - Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani says law to be amended to promote students

12:35pm - Singapore — Singapore reports 752 new COVID-19 cases taking tally over 26,000

Singapore’s health ministry reported 752 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, taking city-state’s total to 26,098.

12:30pm - Lahore, Pakistan — PDMA Punjab distributes more than Rs5 billion under Ehsaas Imdad Programme 

12:25pm - Quetta, Pakistan — Army distributes rations in Khuzdar

Pakistan Army on Thursday distributed rations among the coronavirus affected countries in Khuzdar district of Balochistan.

The ration was distributed by the Frontier Corps and Kalat Scouts at the FC camp in Khuzdar.

12:15pm - Karachi, Pakistan — SHC asks Sindh govt to deliberate on reopening of barber shops 

Sindh High Court on Thursday asked the provincial authorities to deliberate on reopening barbershops in the province.

The orders were issued by the SHC in a petition seeking the reopening of small businesses in the province.

"When small and big markets have been allowed to reopen then why are barbershops closed?” asked Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar. He added that if the shops will remain closed then how will people get haircuts for Eid.

“Make SOPS for barbershops and if they are not followed then you may close it,” remarked Justice Mazhar.

To this, the advocate general Sindh told the court that barbershops can be reopened on the advice of medical experts.

“When all markets have been opened the why are barbers shops and beauty parlours cannot be opened?” asked the judge again.

“There are high chances of spread of coronavirus through barbershops and beauty parlours,” said the advocate general. He added that they have been allowed to provide home services.

12:05pm - London, UK — UK says Belgium is worse on COVID-19 deaths per million

The United Kingdom is on a similar level to France, Italy and Spain on COVID-19 deaths per million but Belgium is worse, a junior British health minister said on Thursday.

“If you look at the death rate per 100,000 or per million, actually we are on a similar level to France, Italy, Spain, Belgium is above us, the United States is below,” Edward Argar, a junior health minister, told Sky News.

“Different statistics can be portrayed in different ways,” he said.

The United Kingdom’s COVID-19 death toll now exceeds 40,000, by far the worst yet reported in Europe, according to official British statistics published on Tuesday.

Trump unhappy with medical adviser for remarks on lockdown

11:40am - Paris, France — Lockdown pushes French unemployment to 11-year low in first quarter

French unemployment fell in the first quarter to an 11-year low as people without work were unable to seek jobs once France entered a coronavirus lockdown, the INSEE stats agency said on Thursday.

The jobless rate fell to 7.8% from 8.1% in the fourth quarter, hitting its lowest since late 2008, INSEE’s quarterly unemployment survey found.

France’s nationwide lockdown, which started on March 17, reduced the number of those normally classified as unemployed by making it impossible for them to look for work, INSEE said.

The International Labour Organisation defines being unemployed as not working, but being available to work and actively seeking a job, which was nearly impossible in many professions during the last two weeks of March due to the lockdown.

In the period before the lockdown, the unemployment rate was 8.2%, INSEE said.

11:35am - Islamabad, Pakistan — Four PIA special flights to bring back 1,000 Pakistanis home   

The government has released the schedule of special PIA flights which will operate to bring back stranded Pakistanis from Saudi Arabia, sources in the Civil Aviation Authority told Geo News.

According to sources, one flight will leave from Riyadh for Lahore on May 14, a flight will bring back Pakistanis to Karachi from Madina on May 16, on May 18 a flight will operate to Jeddah to Faisalabad, and on May 21 a flight will bring back Pakistanis stranded in Dammam to Islamabad.

All the flights will bring 250 passengers back home, sources added.

11:30 - Islamabad, Pakistan — Asad Umar chairs NCOC meeting 

11:15am - Rome, Italy — Dolce & Gabbana will lose out from virus crisis, founders tell paper

Italian fashion group Dolce & Gabbana will lose out “a lot” this year, after the coronavirus emergency, founders Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana said on Thursday.

“You should ask our chief executive, but certainly we will, a lot, as it has already unfortunately happened in these past months,” the entrepreneurs told daily La Stampa in an interview, when asked if the group would lose out this year.

They did not give further details.

The unlisted group is one of Italy’s 10 largest fashion groups by revenue, with sales of 1.38 billion euros in the year that ended in March 2019.

“The creative side of the company works, the productive one will restart at full regime only when there won’t be social distancing anymore,” they added.

10:55am - Balochistan Finance Minister Zahoor Buledi tests positive for virus 

Two special flights leave for Pakistan  

10:45am - Karachi, Pakistan — Traders barred from resuming operations in five sealed markets 

Five markets that were sealed in Karachi on Wednesday for violating the SOPs remain closed after traders were barred from resuming operations.

“Five markets were sealed for violating the SOPs,” said the assistant commissioner who was on a visit to check whether the markets were opened or not.

The sealed markets include Zainab Market, Victoria Market, International Centre, Gul Plaza and Madina City Mall.

UN chief calls for fully funded mental health treatment 

10:35am - Islamabad, Pakistan — Chinese Embassy distributes ration to students and teachers

10:30am — New Delhi, India — Coronavirus cases cross 78,000-mark

10:15am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Govt to take strict measures for lockdown in case of SOPs violation: info minister

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz has said the government will take strict measures for lockdown in case people violated standard operating procedures (SOPs), reported Radio Pakistan.

Speaking to a private news channel, Faraz appealed to the people to follow the SOPs issued by the government for their protection against the coronavirus disease.

The minister urged all the political parties including opposition to play their effective role in countering the spread of the deadly virus in the country.

Worldwide coronavirus cases pass 4.31 million, death toll crosses 290,800

More than 4.31 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 291,820 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.

'Major' mental health crisis looming from pandemic: UN

Read the full story here.

9:45am — Berlin, Germany — Germnay's coronavirus infections rise by 933 cases to 172,239

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose 933 to stand at 172,239, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

The reported death toll rose by 89 to 7,723, the tally showed

9:30am — Islamabad, Pakistan — New cases reported in Islamabad, Balochistan and AJK

Confirmed cases in the country jumped to 35,788 after new cases were reported in Islamabad, Balochistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

According to the national dashboard, 81 new cases were detected in Balochistan, 63 in Islamabad and three new cases were reported in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Confirmed cases in Sindh now stand at 13,341, in Punjab 13,561, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 5,252, in Balochistan 2,239, in Islamabad 822, in Gilgit Baltistan 482, and 91 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

US COVID-19 death toll jumps by 1,800 to 84,059

Coronavirus may never go away, says WHO

The new coronavirus may never go away and populations around the world will have to learn to live with it, the World Health Organisation warned Wednesday.

"We have a new virus entering the human population for the first time and therefore it is very hard to predict when we will prevail over it," said Michael Ryan, the WHO's emergencies director.

"This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away," he told a virtual press conference in Geneva.

Ryan added that there was a "long, long way to go" on the path to returning to normal, insisting that countries would have to stay the course.

Read the full story here.

Gilead signs agreement with Pakistan’s Ferozsons to produce COVID-19 drug remdesivir

US-based firm Gilead has signed non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with five generic pharmaceutical manufacturers based in South Asia including Ferozsons Laboratories of Pakistan to further expand the supply of remdesivir.

“The agreements allow the companies — Cipla, Ferozsons Laboratories, Hetero Labs, Jubilant Lifesciences and Mylan — to manufacture Remdesivir for distribution in 127 countries,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The countries consist of nearly all low-income and lower-middle income countries, as well as several upper-middle- and high-income countries that face significant obstacles to healthcare access.

Read the full story here.

9:00am — Washington, US —Trump says he was surprised at Fauci's warning on reopening economy

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was surprised by a warning this week from top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci about the dangers of reopening the economy too quickly.

"To me, it's not an acceptable answer," Trump told reporters at the White House about the warning Fauci presented in testimony to the US Senate on Tuesday.

8:40am — Sydney, Australia — Australia must brace for more ‘hard news’, says PM as employment slumps

Australians must brace for more "hard news", Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday, as employment in April plunged by the most on record sending the jobless rate to a five-year high.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the job losses were "heartbreaking" and that economic numbers would get worse before getting better.

Morrison and Frydenberg were addressing reporters in Canberra after monthly employment data for April showed jobs dived by a record 594,300 and the unemployment rate shot up to at 6.2%.

8:30am — Beijing, China — China reports 3 new COVID-19 cases

China reported 3 new coronavirus cases for May 13, down from 7 cases a day earlier, the country's health commission said.

All of the new cases were locally transmitted - two in the northeastern Liaoning province and one in Jilin province that borders Liaoning, the National Health Commission said in a statement on Thursday.

The number of new asymptomatic cases rose to 12 from 8 a day earlier.

The total number of cases now stands at 82,929 while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,633

8:15am — Brasilia, Brazil — Brazil registers record 11,385 new coronavirus cases

Brazil confirmed a daily record 11,385 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, as well as 749 new deaths, according to data from the country's health ministry.

Brazil has now registered 188,974 cases since the outbreak began, passing France's tally of 177,700 confirmed and suspected cases to become the sixth hardest-hit country in the world.

11:13pm/May 13 — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab govt warns against spread of virus through asymptomatic patients

"Having no symptoms does not mean you don't have the virus," a public awareness video by the Punjab government begins by saying.

It warns people that some have symptoms which do not have outward manifestations other illnesses do.

"Such people can become the greatest driving force in the spread of the virus," says the message, urging people to practice social distancing despite not having symptoms of the virus.

10:35pm/May 13 — Islamabad, Pakistan — Last of 21 chartered flights leaves for UK

The last of 21 chartered flights left Pakistan for the UK, British high commissioner Christian Turner has said.

He said that since April 4, 25,000 British nationals have returned home.

09:25pm/May 13 — Islamabad, Pakistan — Aviation minister says limited flight operations may begin Saturday

Aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan has said "Sindh could not be convinced" but all other provinces, health advisers, health experts and NDMA have agreed that "limited flight operations" can be introduced with adherence to safety precautions.

"Beginning Saturday we are looking to begin limited flight operations. These will run from Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar [...] these five stations."

He said he agrees with Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for action to be taken against any individual found not wearing a mask.

For our May 13 coverage of coronavirus click here.