Coronavirus updates, June 1: Latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from Pakistan and around the world

Nationwide confirmed cases jump past 74,000, death toll crosses 1,500; global death toll tops 368,000

Web Desk

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 74,347 on Monday after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The province-wise break up of the total number of cases as of 8:17pm, June 1, is as follows:

Total confirmed cases: 74,347

• Sindh: 29,647

• Punjab: 26,240

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 10,027

• Balochistan: 4,393

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 2,589

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 738

• AJK: 255

Deaths: 1,574

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 482

• Punjab: 497

• Sindh: 503

• Balochistan: 47

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 11

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 28

• AJK: 6

More than 6 million people have been reported infected with the novel coronavirus globally and over 368,000 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


11:59pm — Quetta, Pakistan — Balochistan extends lockodwn for 15 days

The Balochistan government decided to extend its "smart lockdown" for another 15 days to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Business timings in the province will be from 9am-7pm, while it has been declared mandatory for masses to wear masks.

Transport shall remain suspended, while educational institutions shall remain closed in the light of the federal government's decision

11:23pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — ICT has 90 ventilators: Dr Zafar Mirza

11:15pm — Ankara, Turkey — Country reopens restaurants, cafes and iconic Grand Bazaar

Turkey reopened restaurants, cafes and Istanbul's iconic 15th century Grand Bazaar market on Monday as the government further eased coronavirus restrictions.

Many other facilities including parks, beaches, libraries and museums also reopened across the country, while millions of public sector employees returned to work.

Bars and nightclubs remained closed. Restaurants and cafes, reopening for the first time since March 16, must operate under strict rules.

Domestic flights also resumed between a limited number of cities as an inter-city travel ban was lifted.

Read complete story here.

11:00pm — Vilnius, Lithuania — Country sings its thanks for quick virus containment

Lithuania celebrated its emergence from the coronavirus pandemic on Monday with a series of live musical performances across the country, Reuters reported.

More than 400 bands performed in parks, squares and on rooftops, playing sets of up to 15 minutes to comply with still ongoing limits on public gatherings.

“People in Lithuania, they are a little bit anti-social, they like to stay inside already. So it helps, I think,” said one man, Teodoras, 27, as he watched concert by the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra in the central square in Vilnius.

The full orchestra, arranged on a pavement next to the cathedral and competing with the tolling of bells from its tower, performed classical compositions by Johannes Brahms and a tango by Astor Piazzolla.

Musicians perform to thank for quick coronavirus disease (COVID-19) containment in Vilnius, Lithuania June 1, 2020. Reuters/Ints Kalnin

10:45pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — Aviation minister, President Alvi discusses measures taken to accommodate people amid coronavirus

10:25pm — Madrid, Spain — Beaches reopen as Spain courts foreign tourists with health guarantee

Swimmers and sun-bathers turned out in droves as Spain reopened nearly all its beaches as part of government steps to revive a devastated tourist industry, Reuters reported.

Spain also reported no new coronavirus deaths for the first time in months on Monday.

Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum meanwhile reopened its doors, the first such institution to do so since the strict lockdown imposed on the country in mid-March began to be eased.

Seeking to entice international visitors back for a planned re-opening in July, the government said it aimed to guarantee health conditions.

“It’s not a question of being the first in reopening but to reopen knowing we guarantee the health not only of residents but also of visitors,” Industry and Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto told Telecinco TV.

Tourism accounts for one in eight jobs in Spain, the world’s second most visited country after France, and contributes more than 12% of Spanish GDP.

10:10pm — London, UK — WHO pushes to keep ties with 'generous' US despite Trump's exit move

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) praised the United States’ “immense” and “generous” contribution to global health in a push to salvage relations after President Donald Trump said he was severing ties with the UN agency.

Accusing it of pandering to China and overlooking an initially secretive response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Trump said on Friday he was ending Washington’s relationship with the WHO.

But WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an online media briefing he hoped his organisation could continue its longstanding collaboration with the United States.

“The United States’ contribution and generosity towards global health over many decades has been immense, and it has made a great difference in public health all around the world,” he said.

10:00pm — Rawalpindi, Pakistan — Army with other state institutions will do all to mitigate COVID-19: COAS Bajwa

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa the Army along with other state institutions would do everything to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic, a statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations said.

The ISPR, in a statement, said that the COAS visited the Command and Staff College Quetta and addressed officers and faculty of Command and Staff College.

COAS said that a well trained and professionally competent Army is a guarantor for peace. Pakistan Army with the backing of the nation is one such formidable force.

9:48pm — Singapore's health ministry confirms 408 new coronavirus cases, one death

Singapore confirmed 408 new coronavirus cases, its health ministry said, bringing the city-state’s tally to 35,292, Reuters reported.

All the fresh cases are among migrant workers living in dormitories, the ministry said in a statement.

The city-state reported one new death, resulting from COVID-19 complications, taking the total deaths to 24.

9:38pm — Santiago, Chile — Coronavirus cases surpass 100,000: health minister

Chile has surpassed 100,000 cases of the coronavirus, the health minister said on Monday, as infections have spiraled in the capital Santiago, putting the South American nation´s healthcare system under “extraordinary” strain, Reuters reported.

The health ministry said total cases since the outbreak began in early March had hit 105,159 while 1,113 people had died from the disease.

The Americas have emerged as the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with infections and deaths in May related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, surging in Chile, Peru and Brazil.

9:18pm — Hong Kong police ban the annual Tiananmen vigil for the first time in its 30 year history amid coronavirus

9:12pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP extends state of emergency as cases surge

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government extended the provincial state of emergency as the pandemic poses a "serious and immense threat to the public health" in the province.

The emergency shall be for a period of 90 days commencing from May 12 to August 10.

Always wear a mask when you go out of your homes

9:00pm — London, UK —Global remittances could fall by $100 billion in 2020, says Citi

Slower economic growth expectations prompted Citi on Monday to slash its forecasts for global remittances, saying this raised the risk to credit ratings of smaller emerging market countries and was set to push up their borrowing costs.

Remittances could fall by $100 billion in the worse case scenario, Citi said in a note to clients, while more than doubling its base case for the scale of decline to $68 billion in 2020. In mid-April, it had estimated that the amount of wages migrants would send home would shrink by some $28 billion this year.

This would cause the biggest problems for countries with little fiscal space to mitigate the hit from falling remittances, which would increasingly force them to spend larger amounts to prop up their economies. That raises the risk that they become unable to meet all their debt obligations.

“Declines in remittances may have negative implications for the sovereign debt ratings of small EMs (emerging markets),” Citi’s Dana Peterson wrote in a note to clients.

“Tajikistan and Sri Lanka are both at elevated risk of sovereign default, and have net inbound remittances that are sizable shares of own GDP,” she added.

8:50pm — Najaf, Iraq — Militiamen drop guns to dig graves for coronavirus victims

Iraqi paramedic Sarmad Ibrahim cut his teeth treating fellow Shi’ite Muslim militiamen in the war against Islamic State. Now, he buries COVID-19 victims - an exhausting task where he must also get to grips with both Muslim and Christian burial rites, Reuters reported.

“So far, we’re coping,” Ibrahim said as fellow volunteers from the Imam Ali Combat Brigade prepared to handle a coffin just sent from Baghdad. “But if we start receiving more bodies we might not be able to bury according to religious rules.”

He and the other team members work at a new cemetery in the southern Shi’ite holy city of Najaf, Iraq’s only graveyard specifically for those who have died of COVID-19.

Established after an edict from Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, it is dwarfed by the nearby Wadi al-Salam cemetery, the largest in the world, but is expanding.

More than 200 people have died since the outbreak began in Iraq in February and the volunteers say they receive two to four corpses each day. The country’s confirmed coronavirus infections have doubled from around 3,000 to more than 6,000 in the space of just over two weeks, according to health ministry figures.

Read complete story here.

8:40pm — Stockholm, Sweden — PM to appoint coronavirus inquiry before summer amid criticism

Sweden will launch an inquiry into the country’s handling of the pandemic before the summer, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in a newspaper interview on Monday, amid growing criticism over nursing home deaths and the lack of testing, Reuters reported.

Lofven, whose Social Democrats rule in coalition with the Greens but also depend on backing from two centre-right parties, had previously said a commission would be appointed once the crisis was over but was under pressure to act sooner.

“We need to take an overall approach to see how it has worked at national, regional and local levels,” Lofven told Swedish daily Aftonbladet in an interview. “We will make a decision for a commission before the summer,” he said.

Sweden has taken a more liberal approach to combating the virus than its neighbours and has left most schools, restaurants and businesses open, relying on voluntary measures focused on good hygiene and social distancing to stem the outbreak.

8:25pm — Gilgit, Pakistan — GB cases at a glance

8:15pm — Gligit, Pakistan — GB reports 27 new cases

7:54pm — New Delhi, India — Bumrah says cricket should seek 'alternative' to saliva for shining the ball

Indian pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah said if the International Cricket Council (ICC) is going to ban the use of saliva on cricket ball during the coronavirus pandemic, then it should allow an "alternative" for shining the ball.

The ICC is likely to implement a ban for the game's return when they meet next week after receiving medical advice that spit poses a COVID-19 transmission risk.

Handshakes, celebratory high-fives and hugs are also likely to be off-limits when international cricket resumes with safety protocols in place.

"I was not much of a hugger anyway, and not a high-five person as well, so that doesn't trouble me a lot," Bumrah said in an ICC video chat with the former West Indies pace bowler Ian Bishop and the ex-captain of South Africa, Shaun Pollock.

Read complete story here.

7:36pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP reports nine deaths, 458 new infections

False information on coronavirus is putting people in danger: WHO

7:08pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — NCC meeting decides on complete lockdown on weekends, no change in shop timings

Prime Minister Imran Khan in a live televised address apprised the nation on the decisions made regarding the lockdown in Pakistan to contain the novel coronavirus during the National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting.

In its meeting, the NCC decided to maintain a complete lockdown on weekends to curb the coronavirus and to not change shop timings. It also eased the restrictions for Fridays, sources told Geo News. Chaired by PM Imran, the meeting discussed whether or not the countrywide lockdown should be extended or relaxed, as coronavirus cases continue to surge across Pakistan.

Read complete story here.

6:30pm —  How has COVID-19 affected the air transport sector?

6:15pm — Quetta, Pakistan — Balochistan says following SOPs can ward off a strict lockdown

6:02pm — Hong Kong — Hong Kong will not hold a mass vigil commemorating the Tiananmen square massacre for the first time in 30 years

5:56pm — Geneva, Switzerland — How WHO is supporting refugees and migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic

5:50pm — Washington, US — Gilead trades that made millions on COVID-19 drug news raise eyebrows

Well-timed trades in Gilead Sciences Inc’s (GILD.O) options ahead of good news on the biopharmaceutical company’s COVID-19 drug treatment may draw regulatory scrutiny, experts said.

On April 17, Gilead’s shares jumped nearly 10% following a media report detailing encouraging partial data from trials of the U.S. company’s experimental drug remdesivir in severe COVID-19 patients.

Those gains were dwarfed by a price jump in bullish options which traded in unusually high volume just hours before the report and which more than doubled in value overnight.

Remdesivir subsequently received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization to treat COVID-19 patients on May 1.

Gilead has not heard from regulators regarding the trades, company spokesman Chris Ridley said, declining any additional comment on the matter.

“They are pretty big trades,” said Henry Schwartz, president of options analytics firm Trade Alert, adding that the fact they were made around the same time was also unusual. “It stands out,” he said.

Read complete story here.

5:43pm — Eli Lilly starts human study of potential COVID-19 antibody treatment

Eli Lilly and Co said it had started an early-stage trial to test its potential treatment for COVID-19, in the world’s first study of an antibody treatment against the disease.

An antiviral drug from Gilead Sciences called remdesivir has shown some promise against COVID-19 and is being given to patients by some countries under compassionate or emergency use rule.

Lilly said its early stage study will assess safety and tolerability in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and results are anticipated by the end of June.

The experimental treatment, LY-CoV555, has been developed through collaboration with privately held AbCellera Biologics, which Lilly partnered with in March.

Lilly’s treatment is an antibody directed against the spike-shaped protein structures of the virus and is designed to block it from locking on to human cells, thus neutralizing the virus.

5:34pm — Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — Recycling plant starts making face shields from plastic bottles

A recycling plant in Tanzania’s port city of Dar es Salaam has traded paper for plastic bottles and started making anti-coronavirus face shields that are being snatched up by hospitals and health centres nationwide.

“I think key is to remain relevant. You should not panic, because these crises have been there, this is not the first time we are facing this kind of crisis,” he said.

“If you panic, you will get lost and then you will not be able to come up or be active as you used to be before.”

Orders are flooding from the health sector from across Tanzania, Kimbabo said. In recent weeks they had made 6,000 units that go for about $2 a piece.

The firm has had to meet extra costs to protect its employees while keeping the business in operation, including for special transportation to and from the workplace.

Workers prepare face shields from recycled plastics at the Zaidi Recyclers workshop as a measure to stop the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania May 27, 2020. ReutersStringer/Files

5:24pm — What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

Scientists hunt pandemic hotspots

The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic may be waning. For vaccine developers, that could be a problem.

Scientists in Europe and the United States say the relative success of draconian lockdown and social distancing policies means virus transmission rates may be at such low levels in some places that there is not enough disease circulating to truly test potential vaccines.

They may need to look further afield, to pandemic hotspots in Africa and Latin America, to get convincing results.

Future of tourism

Sri Lanka plans a limited reopening of its tourism sector on Aug. 1, according to the head of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau. Small groups of tourists will be allowed to enter with a certificate from their governments or a reputable agency stating they were free of COVID-19.

They would be tested on arrival in Sri Lanka, would have to stay in approved five-star hotels with strict safety measures, and would be allowed to visit sites including national parks and beaches.

5:17pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh records 22 deaths, 1,402 new cases

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah disclosing said that the new month of June kicked off with 22 deaths and detection of 1,402 new cases.

CM Shah, in a statement, said that the death toll had surged to 503 and the number of cases had risen to 29,647.

5:10pm — Pulau Ujong, Singapore — Health ministry says face shields no substitute for mandatory masks

Tropical city-state Singapore said it was curbing the use of face shields as a substitute for masks, as its residents look for ways to protect themselves from the coronavirus and avoid discomfort on hot, humid days.

The Southeast Asian nation is one of several states globally that have made masks in public compulsory, but transparent shields attached to headbands or glasses that do not touch the face have become a popular replacement.

“The design of face shields typically leaves a gap... Masks that are worn closely and completely over the nose and mouth do not have such gaps,” the health ministry said.

“With the re-opening of our economy and society, we can expect more activities and close contact amongst people, including on public transport. So masks will now be required as the default.”

Face shields would only be allowed for children under the age of 12, those who face medical difficulties wearing masks or persons speaking to a large group, such as in a classroom.

5:01pm — New Delhi, India — Coronavirus infections overtake France amid criticism of lockdown

India’s cases of coronavirus crossed 190,000, the health ministry said, overtaking France to become seventh highest in the world, as the government eases back on most curbs after a two-month-long lockdown that left millions without work.

With a record 8,392 new cases over the previous day, India is now behind the United States, Brazil, Russia, Britain, Spain, and Italy, according to a Reuters tally.

Community transmission is well underway among the population, a team of independent experts said, adding this would only get worse as public transport opens.

Criticism has grown in recent days that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden lockdown of 1.3 billion Indians in March has failed to halt the spread of the disease while destroying the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on daily wages.

4:56pm — Rome, Italy — Doctor claim virus 'no longer exists' sparks row

A claim by a leading Italian doctor that the new coronavirus "no longer exists" in the country sparked a furore, with the government urging caution.

"In reality, the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy," said Alberto Zangrillo, head of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, the capital of the northern Lombardy region, which has been the worst-hit by the pandemic.

"The swabs performed over the past 10 days have showed a viral load that is absolutely infinitesimal in quantitative terms compared to those carried out a month or two months ago," he said in an interview on RAI television on Sunday.

4:50pm — Lahore, Pakistan — CM Punjab warned 670,000 may be infected with COVID-19 in provincial capital alone

A summary forwarded to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar last month said that an estimated 670,000 could be affected by the coronavirus in Lahore alone.

Captain (retd) Muhammad Usman, Secretary, Primary & Secondary Healthcare Department, said that the summary was forwarded to CM Buzdar on May 15. It contained results of samples collected from hotspots, residences, and offices in Lahore.

As per the summary, 6% of the total samples collected tested positive for COVID-19. In some towns, samples' results stated that 14.7% of the samples came back with positive results. The report said that there wasn't a single area in Lahore or a qasba where the infection had not reached. 

4:45pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — NCC meets to decide on easing or ramping up restrictions

The National Coordination Committee (NCC) held an important meeting Monday chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan to determine whether or not the countrywide lockdown should be extended or relaxed, as coronavirus cases continue to surge across Pakistan.

The meeting commenced at 4:30pm under PM Imran's leadership and included the chief ministers of all the four provinces, federal ministers, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chairperson, and the provincial health ministers.

Read complete story here.

Smokers may be more vulnerable to a severe case of COVID-19

WATCH: Musicians from Deutsche Oper offer free concerts in courtyards of nursing homes

4:27pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP has highest recovery rate in the country: Ajmal Wazir

Information Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ajmal Wazir said the coronavirus recovery rate, 31%, was the highest in the country.

Wazir said that KP was implementing the World Health Organisations coronavirus guidelines to stem the spread and that the province's testing capacity stood at 2,300.

4:20pm — Moscow, Russia — Country to roll out its first approved COVID-19 drug next week

Russia will start giving its first drug approved to treat COVID-19 to patients next week, its state financial backer told Reuters, a move it hopes will ease strains on the health system and speed a return to normal economic life.

Russian hospitals can begin giving the antiviral drug, which is registered under the name Avifavir, to patients from June 11, the head of Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund told Reuters in an interview. He said the company behind the drug would manufacture enough to treat around 60,000 people a month.

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and human trials of several existing antiviral drugs have yet to show efficacy.

4:15pm — COVID-19 patient shares account of battling coronavirus

4:08pm — Euro, Aussie gain on economic recovery hopes

The euro briefly hit its strongest since mid-March on Monday and riskier currencies like the Australian dollar rallied as investors looked to further signs that economies may be through the worst of the downturn caused by the coronavirus, Reuters reported.

Economic data suggested the collapse in manufacturing output had found a bottom in some countries.

In the euro zone, the manufacturing PMI recovered somewhat in May from April’s record low, although factory activity still contracted heavily. Japan and South, however, saw the sharpest falls in activity in more than a decade. 

The trade-sensitive Australian dollarwas the standout performer, surging as much as 1.3% to a four-month high of $0.6772.

The Aussie is now up more than 20% from March lows. It gained steadily through May as the country brought coronavirus under control and has started June with a jump as the price of iron ore - Australia’s top export - hit record highs.

The euro gained, rising 0.4% to $1.1154 before falling back to trade flat at $1.1109.

3:55pm — Tehran, Iran — Country risks second wave if people ignore restrictions: minister

Iran could face a second, stronger wave of novel coronavirus infections if people ignore guidance and social distancing rules, health minister Saeed Namaki said on Monday.

The Islamic Republic, one of the worst-hit countries in the region, started easing its lockdown in April after a drop in deaths.

"The outbreak is not over yet and at any moment it may come back stronger than before," Saeed Namaki said in a news conference broadcast on state TV.

"If our people fail to respect the health protocols ... we must prepare ourselves for the worst situation."

Iran has reported a total of 154,445 infections and 7,878 deaths from the virus.

Emirates president says could take four years to rebuild network from virus hit

Emirates President Tim Clark has said it could take the airline four years to rebuild its network that has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.

"I think probably by the year 2022/23, 2023/24 we will see things coming back to some degree of normality and Emirates will be operating its network as it was and hopefully as successfully as it was," he said in a webcast interview.

3:20pm — New Delhi, India — India orders airlines to keep middle seat vacant if passenger load permits

Airlines have been ordered to keep the middle seat empty if passenger load factors and seat capacity allow for it, India's aviation regulator said in a notice to domestic and international carriers.

However, members of the same family would be allowed to sit together, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in its notice, issued on Sunday and seen by Reuters.

If a seat between two passengers is occupied, the DGCA said, the person in that seat must be provided with additional safety gear such as a 'wrap-around gown' apart from the face mask and face shield that airlines already have to provide to everyone on board.

3:00pm — Peshawar, Pakistan – No shortage of ventilators, beds etc: Ajmal Wazir

Adviser to KP chief minister on Information Ajmal Wazir has said there is no shortage of ventilators or beds in the bed province.

“We have enough capacity in our province. There is no shortage of ventilators, beds etc,” Wazir told a press conference.

He added that the province has been following the international health SOPs set by WHO to deal with the pandemic.

Responding to a question about the increase in the number of cases, Wazir said that after flight operations resumed post the lockdown, 21 flights landed in the province. “In these 21 flights, over 4,000 people travelled to KP of which 700 later tested positive,” he said.  

2:45pm — Moscow, Russia — Russia reports 9,035 new infections

Russia on Monday reported 9,035 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the nationwide tally of infections to 414,878.

The country's coronavirus response centre said 162 people had died in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall death toll from the virus to 4,855.

One week of new COVID-19 cases

Photo: AFP Twitter

2:20pm — Yerevan, Armenia — Armenian PM tests positive for virus 

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his family have tested positive for the coronavirus.

"My coronavirus test was positive yesterday," Pashinyan said in a self-recorded video message on Facebook, adding that his family were also infected.

He said he had no "visble symptoms" of the virus and would be working from home.

2:00pm — Beijing, China — US 'addicted to quitting' over plan to withdraw from WHO: China

China said on Monday the United States was "addicted to quitting" following Washington's decision to leave the World Health Organisation (WHO) and said the withdrawal reveals a pursuit of power politics and unilateralism.

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters during a daily briefing that the international community disagreed with what he said was the selfish behaviour of the United States.

1:20pm - Lahore, Pakistan — CM Punjab asks officials to strictly implement SOPs in markets

Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar directed officials to ensure strict implementation of the government set SOPs in markets.

“Implementation of SOPs should be monitored,” said the CM. He also urged the people to follow the safety precautions.

Activist Salman Sufi tests positive for virus

12:55pm - Ankara, Turkey — Turkey eases coronavirus measures, reopens restaurants, parks

Turkey reopens restaurants, cafes and parks on Monday and lifts inter-city travel curbs as the country eases restrictions taken to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

President Tayyip Erdogan’s government has been gradually easing the restrictions for the past few weeks, as authorities say the outbreak is now under control.

The coronavirus outbreak has claimed more than 4,500 lives in the country, and infected more than 160,000.

Restaurants, cafes, gyms and swimming pools, beaches, parks, libraries and museums are set to resume operations from Monday.

Daycare centres and kindergartens are also reopening, but restrictions on the movements of those aged over 65 and under 18 will continue.

12:30pm - Faisalabad, Pakistan — Health dept says 47 more doctors have tested positive for virus 

The health department announced that 47 more doctors have tested positive for the coronavirus in Faisalabad.

According to the health department, the new cases take the total positive cases of doctors working in various hospitals to 102. It added that out of the total, 59 male and 43 women doctors have been infected.

12:20pm - London, UK — UK is following scientific advice on cautious lockdown easing, minister says

The British government is following scientific advice in cautiously easing the coronavirus lockdown, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said on Monday, after criticism from some prominent epidemiologists.

“Of course scientific advice does differ but I think the key point is what is the overall view from SAGE?” Sharma told BBC TV.

“The overall view from SAGE - the scientific advisory group on emergencies which advises the government — their overall view is that we must do this cautiously and that is precisely what we are doing,” Sharma said, adding that if people obeyed the rules there was a good likelihood that R0 would not go above 1.

12:00pm - Pakistan doubles flight capacity to bring back stranded Pakistanis from Saudi Arabia

11:45am - Johannesburg, South Africa — South Africa partly lifts lockdown to try to fix battered economy

South Africa partly lifted a two month-old coronavirus lockdown on Monday, letting people outside for work, worship, exercise or shopping, and allowing mines and factories to run at full capacity to try to revive the economy.

President Cyril Ramaphosa was widely praised when he ordered one of the world’s strictest lockdowns at the end of March, confining people to their homes, forcing miners and manufacturers to slash operations by half, and banning the sale of alcohol and cigarettes.

But the measures have battered the economy of Africa’s most industrialised nation, which was already in recession before the virus, owing mostly to power cuts at its dysfunctional state provider, Eskom.

The central bank expects it to contract by 7% this year.

The government hopes Monday’s move to “level 3” lockdown will sputter businesses to a start. It will inevitably increase the number of coronavirus infections, which over the weekend jumped past 30,000.

“The move to level 3 ... marks a significant shift in our approach to the pandemic,” Ramaphosa was quoted in South Africa’s Independent as saying on Sunday at an editors’ forum.

11:30am - Islamabad, Pakistan — NCC to meet today at 4pm

The National Coordination Committee will meet today at 4pm to decide whether to ease the lockdown or make it stricter.

According to officials, Focal Person to the PM on Coronavirus Dr Faisal Sultan will brief the NCC on the coronavirus situation in the country. While Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza will brief the committee on the spread of the virus and death toll.

The meeting will be attended by all the chief ministers and other top officials. 

11:15am - London, UK — Debates rage in Britain as some children go back to school

Britain partially reopens schools on Monday and allows the most vulnerable to venture outdoors despite warnings that the world's second worst-hit country is moving too quickly out of its coronavirus lockdown.

A death toll that now officially stands at 38,489 has piled political pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was elected in December with a big majority.

Johnson spent much of the past week stamping out a scandal sparked by his chief adviser's decision to drive to a picturesque castle with his family while everyone was under orders to limit outdoor exercise to an hour a day.

Dozens of members of Johnson's own party joined a failed effort by the opposition to get Dominic Cummings fired for undermining the government's public message on health.

The furore over Cummings appears to have abated but concern about Johnson''s handling of the crisis remains.

Asad Umar chairs NCOC meeting in Islamabad 

10:30am - Lahore, Pakistan — 10 more passenger trains resume service: Sheikh Rashid 

Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed announced that 10 more passenger trains have resumed service taking the total passenger trains operational in the country to 40.

“All safety measures are being followed on the trains,” said the minister. He added that only passengers will be allowed to enter the premises of the railway station.

President Alvi condoles on death of two doctors in KP 

9:45am - Hong Kong, China — Hong Kong reports first local COVID-19 cases in two weeks

Hong Kong has confirmed its first locally transmitted coronavirus cases in more than two weeks, fuelling concerns over its spread as restrictions on movement are relaxed.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said on Sunday it was investigating two confirmed cases of coronavirus, taking the number of cases so far to 1,085. Four people have died of the disease in Hong Kong.

The global financial hub last reported a locally transmitted case on May 14, when a 62-year-old man with no travel history was confirmed with coronavirus.

The two new cases involved a 34-year-old woman and a 56-year-old man. Neither had a travel history during the incubation or infectious period, CHP said. Contact tracing was under way, it added.

9:20am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Death toll climbs to 1,543

The death toll from the novel coronavirus climbed to 1,543 on Monday after new deaths were reported across the country.

According to the national dashboard, one new death was recorded in Islamabad.

9:20am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Confirmed cases rise to 72,460

Confirmed cases in the country jumped to 72,460 on Monday after new cases were reported in Islamabad and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

According to the national dashboard, 171 new cases were detected in the federal capital and four new cases in AJK.

9:10am - Moscow, Russia — Coronavirus lockdown eases in Moscow as cases fall in Russian capital

Residents of Moscow can leave their homes to take a stroll for the first time in nine weeks on Monday under a partial easing of a tough lockdown regime following a fall in novel coronavirus cases.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin last week told President Vladimir Putin he would relax some lockdown rules in the Russian capital, which has a population of 12.7 million, and that an array of shops could reopen.

Shops in Moscow that were ordered to close in late March including car dealerships, dry cleaners, shoe repair stores, book shops and launderettes, are set to open.

Residents will be allowed out for walks three times a week on designated days that are determined by the address they live at. People can also jog or do outdoor sports, but only between 5am and 9am, officials say.

Shopping centres and most parks, all of which have been fenced off for weeks, will also open on Monday, though children’s playgrounds inside them and sports facilities will stay shut.

Officials are still reporting thousands of new infections every day across Russia’s 11 time zones and the capital remains the worst-hit region in terms of the volume of confirmed cases.

But the rate of infection has fallen sharply in recent weeks. Moscow on Sunday reported 2,595 new infections. Daily infection increases were previously running at over 6,000.

11:59pm — Quetta, Pakistan — Balochistan extends lockodwn for 15 days

The Balochistan government decided to extend its "smart lockdown" for another 15 days to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Business timings in the province will be from 9am-7pm, while it has been declared mandatory for masses to wear masks.

Transport shall remain suspended, while educational institutions shall remain closed in the light of the federal government's decision