Coronavirus updates, May 31: Latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from Pakistan and around the world

Nationwide confirmed cases jump past 70,000, death toll crosses 1,500; global death toll tops 367,000

Web Desk

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 72,285 on Sunday after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The province-wise break up of the total number of cases as of 12:10am, June 1, is as follows:

Total confirmed cases: 72,285

• Sindh: 28,245

• Punjab: 26,240

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 10,027

• Balochistan: 4,393

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 2,418

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 711

• AJK: 251

Deaths: 1,542

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 473

• Punjab: 497

• Sindh: 481

• Balochistan: 47

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 11

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 27

• AJK: 6

More than 6 million people have been reported infected with the novel coronavirus globally and over 367,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally

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 June 1 to continue here.

12:10am (June 1) — Quetta, Pakistan — Balochistan reports one more death, 200 new cases

The Balochistan health department has reported one more death and 200 cases in the province, taking the total number of deaths to 47, and number of cases to 4,393.

11:25pm — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab reports 22 deaths, 1,184 new cases

The Punjab disaster management authority has reported 22 more deaths in the province, taking the total to 497.

A rise in the tally of infected was also reported, by 1,184, taking the total to 26,240.

10:29pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — PM Office shares guidelines for usage and disposal of face masks

09:42pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP health minister pays tribute to fallen doctors

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health minister Taimur Khan Jhagra has paid tribute to the two doctors in the province who fell victim to the coronavirus and died today.

"This country will not forget the sacrifice and courage that our healthcare community is showing," he wrote.

He urged everyone to pray for the souls of Dr Aurangzeb and Dr Azam.

09:06pm — Narowal, Pakistan — Singer Abrar-ul-Haq tests positive for coronavirus

Singer and philanthropost Abrar-ul-Haq has announced he has tested positive for COVID-19 and has "home quarantined".

"I will keep performing my duties through Skype as [a] Red Crescent and Sahara worker," he said, referring to his charity work.

"Please pray for me and all those fighting it," he added.

08:39pm — Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan — Region reports 33 new cases

The Gilgit-Baltistan health department has reported 33 new cases in the region, taking the total number to 711.

8:00pm - Dubai, UAE — Emirates Airline says to cut 'a few' jobs over virus

Emirates Airline said Sunday it will cut "a few" jobs in the face of the downturn over the coronavirus crisis, but did not specify the extent of the layoffs.

"We reviewed all possible scenarios in order to sustain our business operations, but we have come to the conclusion that we unfortunately have to say goodbye to a few of the wonderful people that worked with us," the airline said in a statement.

The Dubai carrier, the largest in the Middle East, employs a workforce that is around 100,000-strong with a fleet of 270 wide-bodied aircraft.

Emirates announced in March temporary cuts of between 25% and 50% in basic salaries for most employees after halting its operations.

"We continuously are reassessing the situation and will have to adapt to this transitional period," the airline said.

"We do not view this lightly, and the company is doing everything possible to protect jobs wherever we can."

Emirates said on May 10 that it would take at least 18 months for travel demand to return to "a semblance of normality", even after reporting bumper pre-pandemic profits.

The carrier had suspended flights on March 22 before resuming some services two weeks later.

Last week, it began partial regular service to a number of mostly Western airports.

7:40pm - Stockholm, Sweden — No COVID-19 deaths reported in Sweden in 24 hours, but weekend figures typically delayed

Sweden has not reported any coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours, for the first time since March 13, the health authority said on Sunday, but there is typically a delay in reporting figures at weekends.

Sweden’s open approach to the virus, mostly based on voluntary social distancing and basic hygiene, has been criticised by some as a dangerous experiment, but also once touted as a future model by the World Health Organisation.

Last week, Sweden had the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in Europe per capita over a seven-day-period, data showed.

There have been previous weekends where the death toll has increased by as little as two, only for a steeper rise to return in the following days when the reporting catches up, the health authority spokesman said.

The pandemic has killed 4,395 people in Sweden.

07:20pm — Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — Masks and no ablution: Saudis flock to reopened mosques

Mask-clad worshippers flocked to Saudi mosques that reopened nationwide today — except in the holy city of Mecca — over two months after congregational prayers were halted under a coronavirus-triggered lockdown.

Complying with stringent social distancing rules, worshippers kept a minimum of two metres apart.

They had been instructed to bring their own prayer mats and to perform the cleansing ritual, or ablution, at home, instead of in mosque grounds.

"Worshippers rushed to the home of God to perform their obligatory duty (prayers) after the reopening of mosques," the ministry of Islamic affairs said on Twitter.

The ministry posted a video showing a mosque with many worshippers wearing face masks and reaching out for a large bottle of hand sanitiser after prayers.

06:41pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP health minister shares revised burial guidelines

06:37pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP chief minister 'deeply saddened' over deaths of Dr Aurangzeb, Dr Azam

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Mahmood Khan has said he is "deeply saddened" on the demise of Dr Aurangzeb and Dr Azam who lost the battle to coronavirus.

Khan extended his sympathies and prayers to the bereaved families.

"Highly appreciate the services and sacrifices of frontline health workers," he said.

06:15pm — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab govt says yet to notify punishment for not wearing a mask

The Punjab primary and secondary healthcare department has sought to provide clarity on reports circulating about a fine being imposed in Punjab for not wearing a mask in public places.

"We have not yet issued a notification about the imposition of a fine for violating the rule to wear a mask," said a spokesperson of the department.

He said rumours about a fine are not true.

"A neighbouring country's notification was wrongly shown by a few media outlets as one from Pakistan," he said.

When the punishment for violation of the mask rule is decided, the public will be informed, he added.

05:40pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP govt urges people to wear masks

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department has urged people to "be a responsible citizen" and help save lives with the disciplined use of masks.

"Please wear a mask whenever you go out of your homes to protect yourselves and others from COVID-19," read a statement by the health department.

05:27pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP reports 20 more deaths, nationwide toll breaches 1,500

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department has reported 20 more deaths, taking the total to 473 in the province and the number of deaths nationwide to 1,519.

The tally of infections breached the grim milestone of 10,000 with 487 new cases. The total now stands at 10,027.

04:57pm — Tehran, Iran — Iran says virus cases surpass 150,000

Iran says its caseload of novel coronavirus infections has passed the grim milestone of 150,000, as the country struggles to contain a recent upward trend.

The government has largely lifted the restrictions it imposed in order to halt a COVID-19 outbreak that first emerged in mid-February.

But the health ministry has warned of a potential virus resurgence with new cluster outbreaks in a number of provinces.

Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 2,516 new cases were confirmed across the country in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 151,466.

Jahanpour said the virus had claimed another 63 lives over the same period, raising the overall toll to 7,797.

04:33pm — Surabaya, Indonesia — 100-year-old Indonesian woman beats coronavirus

A 100-year-old Indonesian woman has recovered from coronavirus, making her the country's oldest survivor of the deadly respiratory illness.

Kamtim, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, was discharged from hospital this week after a month of treatment in her hometown Surabaya, Indonesia's second-biggest city, officials said.

East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa said she hoped Kamtim's story would give a boost to at-risk residents — the illness is especially dangerous for older people and those with chronic conditions.

Indonesia has confirmed more than 26,000 cases of coronavirus and 1,613 deaths.

But the sprawling Southeast Asian archipelago of more than 260 million has among the lowest testing rates in the world.

4:00pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Death toll from virus rises to 1,499

The death toll from the novel coronavirus rose to 1,499 on Sunday after Sindh reported new deaths.

According to Sindh CM, 18 new deaths were reported in the province in the last 24 hours to take the provincial tally to 481.

4:00pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh reports 885 new cases

Confirmed cases in the county jumped past 70,000 on Sunday after new cases were detected in Sindh.

According to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, 885 new cases were reported in the province in the last 24 hours to take the provincial tally to 28,245.

Of the 885 cases, 617 had been reported in Karachi, he said.

He added there were 13,954 patients under treatment in the province at the moment.

3:25pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Wahab asks people to avoid spreading rumours 

Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab has said the public should wait for an official announcement by the government regarding an ease in lockdown and should refrain from spreading rumours.

“Public should not listen to any rumours till the government makes an announcement,” Wahab said in a video announcement.

He added that the death toll was increasing day by day. “If it is necessary to leave the house then wear a mask and follow social distancing,” the spokesperson added.

3:15pm - Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia reopens mosques with strict regulations for worshippers

Saudi Arabia’s mosques opened their doors to worshippers on Sunday for the first time in more than two months as the kingdom, the birthplace of Islam, eased restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus.

“It is great to feel the mercy of God and once again call people for prayers at mosques instead of at their homes,” said Abdulmajeed Al Mohaisen, who issues the call to prayer at Al Rajhi Mosque, one of the largest in the capital Riyadh.

Worshippers headed to mosques for dawn prayers amid strict regulations requiring use of face masks and personal prayer mats, avoiding handshakes and standing at least 2 metres apart.

The elderly, children under 15 and people with chronic diseases are not permitted. People must perform the ablution rite, the act of washing the face, arms and legs before prayer, at home.

“My eyes filled with tears when I entered the mosque and when I heard the call to prayer. Thank God for this blessing that we are back to the houses of worship,” Said Maamoun Bashir, a Syrian resident in Riyadh.

Saudi authorities said earlier this month that restrictions would be lifted in three phases, culminating in a curfew ending on June 21, with the exception of the holy city of Mecca.

2:45pm - Barcelona, Spain — Spain to extend lockdown to 21st June: report

Spain’s prime minister said on Sunday he will ask parliament to agree to a last two-week extension of the state of emergency lockdown until 21st June, after which the government will no longer restrict citizens’ movements, newspaper El Pais reported.

Pedro Sanchez told regional government leaders during a video-conference meeting that this would be the last lockdown as Spain’s infection rates have reduced dramatically.

The country’s death toll rose by four on Saturday to 27,125, the health ministry said, reflecting a dramatic decline in daily fatalities as Spain brings the outbreak under control.

The number of COVID-19 infections increased by 271 overnight to 239,228 on Saturday.

2:15pm - New Delhi, India — India's Modi urges citizens to stay alert to virus as lockdown eases

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned the country on Sunday to remain vigilant against the spread of coronavirus as the country prepares a phased re-opening of activities even as daily cases rise to record highs.

India, with the world’s longest lockdown, is set to largely lift containment measures in June, except in high-risk zones.

“The fight against the coronavirus is intense, we cannot drop our guard,” Modi said in his national radio address, a day after his government extended the lockdown until June 30 in high-risk zones but permitted restaurants, malls and religious buildings to reopen elsewhere from June 8.

“Wearing a mask, gloves and following social distancing rules is essential as everyone will soon start stepping out of their homes,” Modi said.

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 182,000 people and claimed the lives of 5,164 in India.

The number of cases reached a daily record high in the last 48 hours, two months after the federal government enforced a rigid lockdown to stop the pandemic from spreading in a country with more than 1.3 billion people.

“We really need to be more vigilant now,” he said.

2:00pm - London, UK — UK taking 'right steps' to ease virus lockdown, says foreign minister

British foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday the “careful” easing of the coronavirus lockdown was now the “right step” to take, shrugging off criticism for moving too quickly to allow people more social contact.

“We are confident that this is the right step to be taking at this moment in time,” Raab told Sky News. “We are taking those steps very carefully, based on the science but also based on our ability now to monitor the virus.”

1:50pm - Cairo, Egypt — Egyptian hotels reopened with reduced occupancy are nearly full: official

Egyptian hotels operating with a new reduced occupancy rate of 25% to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus have almost reached full capacity, a tourism ministry official told Reuters on Sunday.

Egypt suspended international flights in March and shut down restaurants, hotels and cafes in order to combat the pandemic. Although airports remain closed to all but domestic and repatriation flights, hotels were recently allowed to reopen at a quarter of their usual capacity if they met strict health and safety protocols.

Around 78 hotels, mostly along the Red Sea coast, met these rules and are currently operating with an occupancy rate of 20%-22%, said the ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. An additional 173 hotels across the country have applied for a licence to reopen and will be considered in the coming week, he added.

1:25pm - Faisalabad, Pakistan — Four more doctors contract coronavirus: YDA 

Young Doctors Association has announced that four more doctors working in government hospitals have contracted the coronavirus.

“55 doctors working in different hospitals have contracted the coronavirus,” Dr Adnan told the media in Islamabad. He added that 85 medical staff, including doctors, have contracted the virus so far.

“Seven doctors have recovered from the virus,” said Dr Adnan. 

1:10pm - Karachi, Pakistan — No decision taken on reopening of schools: Saeed Ghani

Sindh's Education Minister Saeed Ghani told Geo News that the provincial government is yet to take any decision on reopening of schools in the province.

“The coronavirus situation will be reviewed and then the decision will be taken regarding the reopening of the schools,” said the minister. He added that the education department’s steering committee will also meet in the coming week to review the decision. 

1:00pm - Beijing, China — China says 2 new coronavirus cases, asymptomatic case on German charter

China announced on Sunday two new confirmed cases of coronavirus and four new asymptomatic cases, including one person without symptoms of COVID-19 on a chartered flight from Germany.

The two confirmed cases in Shandong province on Saturday compared with four cases the day before, data from the country’s health authority showed.

The National Health Commission (NHC) confirmed three new asymptomatic cases on Saturday.

On Sunday, the Chinese city of Tianjin confirmed one asymptomatic person, a passenger arriving from Frankfurt on a chartered Lufthansa flight, LH342, to Tianjin. This case was discovered between midnight and 6 a.m. local time on Sunday, the city’s daily statements show.

These charter flights are part of an accelerated entry procedure offered by Beijing as China and Germany seek to reignite their economies after months of lockdown. The flight to Tianjin carried about 200 passengers, mostly German business executives.

Lufthansa has another charter flight scheduled for Shanghai on Wednesday.

A 34-year-old German engineer tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in Tianjin but he does not have any symptoms, the Tianjin government said on its official social media platform Weibo.

The asymptomatic patient has been transferred to a local hospital to be placed under medical observation, the Tianjin government said, adding that the whole process was a “closed loop”, meaning posing no great risk to the Chinese public.

The number of confirmed cases in the mainland as of May 30 stood at 83,001, data form NHC showed.

With no new deaths reported, the death toll in the country remained at 4,634.

12:55pm - Peshawar, Pakistan — KP Health Minister Taimur Jhagra says coronavirus provides to exceptional opportunities  

12:45pm - Moscow, Russia — Russia says coronavirus infections pass 400,000

Russia on Sunday reported 9,268 new cases of the novel coronavirus, raising the national tally to 405,843.

Officials said 138 people had died of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, in the last 24 hours, pushing to nationwide toll up to 4,693.

12:00pm - Kigali, Rwanda — Rwanda reports its first death from the new coronavirus

Rwanda’s ministry of health on Sunday reported the East African nation’s first death caused by the new coronavirus.

The victim was a 65-year-old driver who opted to return home from a neighbouring country, where he resided, after falling severely ill, the ministry said in a statement.

He passed away from severe respiratory complications while receiving treatment at a specialised COVID-19 treatment facility.

10:50am — Berlin, Germany — Confirmed coronavirus cases rise to 181,482

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 286 to 181,482, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

The reported death toll rose by 11 to 8,500, the data showed.

10:35am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Islamabad makes wearing face masks mandatory in public

Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque reopens after more than two months

Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque reopened to worshippers on Sunday after a two-and-a-half month coronavirus closure, but Muslim authorities imposed some precautions as health officials warn of an uptick in local infections.

Hundreds of Muslims chanted “God is the greatest” as they packed into the compound in Jerusalem’s walled Old City early on Sunday for dawn prayers, a Reuters witness said.

10:10am — Beijing, China — China reports two new coronavirus cases China

recorded two new confirmed cases of coronavirus on May 30, down from four the day before, data from the country's health authority showed on Sunday.

Both cases were imported in the Chinese province of Shandong, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement on its website.

The NHC also confirmed three new asymptomatic cases, compared to four the day before.

With no new deaths reported, the death toll remained at 4,634.

Indian states impose bans on consumption, spitting, smoking of tobacco to curb virus spread

9:30am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Death toll climbs to 1,483

The death toll from the novel coronavirus climbed to 1,483 on Sunday after new deaths were reported across the country.

According to the national dashboard, 36 new deaths were reported in Punjab while four new deaths were recorded in Islamabad.

9:30am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Confirmed cases jump past 69,000

Confirmed cases in the country jumped to 69,496 on Sunday after new cases were reported in Punjab, Islamabad and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

According to the national dashboard, 952 new cases were detected in Punjab, 226 in the federal capital and 17 new cases in AJK.

US COVID-19 death toll climbs to 103,758

Global coronavirus cases surpass 6 million

Global coronavirus cases surpassed 6 million, according to a Reuters tally, as Latin America reported a grim milestone of 50,000 deaths from the disease.

Countries such as Brazil, Chile and Mexico are struggling to stem the spread of the virus, which initially peaked in China in February before large-scale outbreaks followed in Europe and the United States.

Gravediggers place a cross after burying the body of a person who died from the coronavirus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Reuters

The pandemic has claimed more than 367,000 lives worldwide.

Despite the continued increase in cases, many countries are opening schools and workplaces following weeks of unprecedented lockdowns that have stemmed the spread of the disease — but also hammered economies and thrown millions out of work.

8:30am — Brasilia, Brazil — Coronavirus outbreak worsens as total cases near 500,000

Brazil reported a record 33,274 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday, its health ministry said, and the death toll surpassed that of France and now ranks only below the United States, Britain and Italy.

The South American nation has now reported 498,440 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the outbreak began, a level of contagion second only to the United States.

The death toll in Brazil from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, increased to 28,834, with 956 new deaths in the last 24 hours, the ministry said.

8:20am — London, UK — Britain at a very dangerous moment in the pandemic, health official says

Britain is at a very dangerous moment as it starts to ease some of its lockdown measures, England's deputy chief medical officer said on Saturday, warning that people would need to follow the guidelines and not "tear the pants out of it".

Jonathan Van-Tam told the daily briefing that people have got to be "sensible and proportionate with the freedom that we absolutely want to give to people because we need to see loved ones".

He said the public needed "to actually follow the guidance, don't tear the pants out of it, and don't go further than the guidance actually says".

11:13pm/May 30 — Quetta, Pakistan — Balochistan finance dept releases Rs50 million relief package for artists

09:37pm/May 30 — Peshawar, Pakistan — 47% of critical beds occupied in KP

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department has said that across the province, 47% critical care beds are occupied.

It also said that 22% ventilators and 12% isolation beds dedicated for COVID-19 patients are in use.

Peshawar has a high capacity utilisation of 58% critical care beds, 52% ventilators and 37% isolation beds. Capacity utilisation in all other districts is low.

09:05pm/May 30 — Quetta, Pakistan — Wife of deceased doctor claims husband was falsely diagnosed negative, 'died waiting for treatment'

The wife of deceased Quetta doctor, Muhammad Zubair Khan, has claimed that her husband "died waiting for treatment" and was initially given a false diagnosis for COVID-19.

According to Geo News, the doctor got his family tested for COVID-19 on May 15. The next day, his result came back negative, along with his son's. His wife, and another son, however, were diagnosed positive.

Over the next 10 days, he suffered chest and throat pain. Upon getting tested once more, he was told he is COVID-19 positive.

He kept waiting for an ambulance for hours before he died, according to Geo News.

"If this is how doctors are treated, what must others be treated like?" asked the doctor's wife.

She also claimed that her husband was initially not provided protective gear at all by Bolan Medical Complex where he worked and was "not satisfied" with the equipment provided subsequently.

Balochistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani said that the impression that adequate medical facilities were not provided is "unreasonable" and "incorrect". "He was a member of the doctor community. His doctor friends could not have left his side when he was ill."