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

Nationwide confirmed cases jump past 84,000, death toll crosses 1,700; global death toll tops 379,000

Web Desk

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 84,907 on Tuesday after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The province-wise break up of the total number of cases as of 12:45am, June 4, is as follows:

Total confirmed cases: 84,907

• Sindh: 32,910

• Punjab: 31,104

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 11,373

• Balochistan: 5,224

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 3,188

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 824

• AJK: 284

Deaths: 1,766

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 500

• Punjab: 607

• Sindh: 555

• Balochistan: 51

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 12

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 34

• AJK: 7

More than 6.39 million people have been reported infected with the novel coronavirus globally and over 379,000 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 4 to begin here.

12:45am (June 4) — Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab reports 37 more deaths, 1,615 new cases

11:56pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh reports 29 deaths, 1,824 new cases

11:50pm — Quetta, Pakistan — Balochistan  reports two more deaths


11:42pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — FM Qureshi exchanges views over COVID-19 with Canada's Karina Gould

Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi held video conference with Minister of International Development of Canada Karina Gould. 

The Foreign Office, in a statement said: "The two Ministers discussed the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also exchanged views on bilateral relations. The Ministers agreed to further strengthen the historic cordial ties between the two countries and acknowledged the role of Pakistani diaspora in the bilateral relationship."

FM Qureshi, while appreciating the efforts of the Government of Canada to handle the pandemic and acknowledging its assistance to Pakistan, emphasized the importance of continued mutual collaboration between the two countries. He apprised the Canadian Minister of the decisions taken to gradually open the Pakistani economy in order to support the livelihood of millions of people. He elaborated Government efforts to maintain delicate balance of saving lives by preventing spread of COVID-19 pandemic and securing livelihoods of millions affected economically.

11:28pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — FM Qureshi discusses coronavirus with Dutch counterpart

Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with the Dutch Foreign Minister, Staphanus Abraham Blok. Matters of mutual interest, including the COVID-19 Pandemic, cooperation at multilateral fora and other issues came under discussion.

The Foreign Office, in a statement, said: "Foreign Minister Qureshi offered condolences on the loss of precious lives in the Netherlands due to the Pandemic. Expressing solidarity with European and Dutch partners, the Foreign Minister commended the European Union’s coordinated response to strengthen financial and health sectors of Member States in the wake of the crisis."

The two Ministers exchanged views about the socio-economic ramifications of the pandemic. The Foreign Minister apprised his Dutch counterpart of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “Global Initiative on Debt Relief” for developing countries. He underscored that coordinated and comprehensive actions are essential to create fiscal space needed by the developing world to deal with the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19.

11:21pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — Administration seals several areas to stem spread of coronavirus

The areas are as follows:

- Hawai Tech. Saudi Pak Tower, Blue Area, Islamabad

- Pakistan Sport Board, Islamabad 

- Gulrajgan, Chatha Bakhtawar, Islamabad

- Street No 13-C, National Pace Foundation, E-11/4. Islamabad 

- Main Street No 26, Sub Street-110, I-10/4, Islamabad 

- Street No.111, G-9/4, Islamabad 

- Street No 54, G-7/2, Islamabad 

- Block No 6, PWD Colony, Islamabad 

- Street No 62, G-6/4, Islamabad

11:16pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — President Alvi says coordinated efforts needed to deal with coronavirus effectively

11:10pm — Amsterdam, Netherlands — Dutch school shuts after teachers test positive for COVID-19

An elementary school in the Netherlands closed in the city of The Hague on Wednesday after two teachers tested positive for coronavirus and seven students developed gastrointestinal symptoms, an official said, Reuters reported.

It was the first to close again after the Netherlands, which has reported more than 46,000 COVID-19 cases and 5,977 deaths, reopened elementary schools on May 11 at reduced capacity as part of a gradual lifting of lockdown measures.

High schools reopened on Tuesday.

Though Western European nations are easing coronavirus restrictions as death and infection rates fall, some experts fear an over-hasty relaxation could bring a second wave.

“Two teachers developed symptoms over the weekend and tested positive today,” said Eke Wolters, a spokeswoman for the “Haagse” school district, adding that they had not returned to work since becoming ill.

11:04pm — Brussels, Belgium — Businesses to reopen on June 8, borders on June 15

Belgium will allow almost all businesses to reopen on June 8, including cafes and bars, after its lockdown to combat the coronavirus, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said on Wednesday, although social distancing measures will remain, Reuters reported.

She said Belgium, among the European countries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic but now seeing a significant drop-off in the infection rate, will also reopen its borders to all fellow European Union states on June 15.

“From June 8 everything will be allowed, with exceptions,” Wilmes told a news conference after a meeting of the country’s national security council.

“The virus is still among us, it is still taking victims and will probably take more, and certainly if we are not vigilant,” she added, saying large gatherings would remain banned until August 31. Nightclubs also cannot open before the end of August.

Belgium's Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes holds a news conference after a meeting of the National Security Council discussing post-lockdown measures amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Brussels, Belgium, June 3, 2020. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via Reuters

10:58pm — Moscow, Russia — St. Petersburg records 1,552 more deaths in May than same month last year: official data

The Russian city of St. Petersburg, which has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus, recorded 1,552 more deaths in May than in the same month last year, official data shows, Reuters reported.

Official data also shows that Russia’s second-largest city only had 171 deaths from the coronavirus last month.

Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, St. Petersburg has recorded 17,069 coronavirus cases and a total of 240 deaths.

10:53pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — 17,000 tests conducted in 24 hours

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said that Pakistan conducted 17,000 tests in the last 24 hours, as the country’s infection rate stands at 24%.

“We are witnessing a surge in the local transmission of COVID-19 cases,” he said while speaking in Geo News’ programme Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath, adding: “The cases are more than we had anticipated.”

Dr Mirza said that the government was introducing an application to help people identify hospitals where they could go get treated for coronavirus.

10:48pm — Moscow, Russia — Coronavirus lockdown eases in 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, Reuters reported.

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.

10:43pm — London, UK — COVID-19 death toll surpasses 50,000: Reuters tally

The United Kingdom’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 50,000, according to a Reuters tally of official data sources that highlighted the country’s place as one of the worst hit in the world, Reuters reported.

New data from Scotland brought the toll to 50,059, a dire milestone for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he tries to ease the stringent coronavirus lockdown.

The figure is the highest in Europe and puts the UK behind only the much larger United States in a pandemic that has killed more than 379,000 people around the world.

10:37pm — Madrid, Spain — First new COVID-19 death since Sunday

Spain reported its first death from the coronavirus since Sunday as the government sought parliament’s backing for a final extension to the country’s state of emergency, Reuters reported.

Confirmed cases increased by 219 from the previous day to 240,326, while the cumulative death toll reached 27,128.

Just a month ago Spain was logging over a thousand new cases and hundreds of deaths every day, overwhelming the health service.

In recognition of their “enormous personal sacrifice”, front-line medical workers were awarded the prestigious Princess of Asturias Award on Wednesday. More than 50,000 health workers have been infected with the virus.

Data released by the National Statistics Institute (INE) revealed a shocking 155% spike in mortality at the epidemic’s early-April peak, though not all excess deaths can be directly linked to the coronavirus.

10:31pm — Ottawa, Canada — Most airport workers, flight crews to wear masks

Canada will require most airport workers and flight crews to wear non-medical masks from June 4, but pilots will be exempt while they are on the flight deck, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said, Reuters reported.

Airline passengers have been required to wear face coverings since April.

Garneau, asked why masks for transport staff were imposed more than a month after passengers, acknowledged the new measures could have been done “a little sooner”, but said organizing the new rules and consulting with all affected industry took time.

“The measures we are putting in place today will further reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 for transportation workers and passengers,” he said, referring to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

10:25pm — Global vaccine group urges virus solidarity ahead of summit

The head of the global vaccine alliance has warned "nobody is safe unless everybody is safe" from the new coronavirus, urging international solidarity ahead of a fundraising summit as the pandemic threatens to trigger a resurgence of preventable diseases, AFP reported.

Scientists are racing to identify and test possible vaccines for COVID-19 as nations grapple with the economic and societal consequences of the virus lockdowns.

Seth Berkley of Gavi, the vaccine alliance, said the international community must ensure all countries will have access to any potential vaccines, regardless of their wealth.

"This is a global problem that needs a global solution and we have to all work together," he said.

10:18pm — Gilgit, Pakistan — GB's cases at a glance

10:10pm — Chennai, India — Rickshaw driver ensures safety measures

10:02pm — London, UK — 12-year-old dies of coronavirus

A 12-year-old child is among the latest to have been confirmed to have died of the Covid-19 coronavirus in hospital in the UK, according to data from NHS England, The Independent reported.

The healthcare body confirmed 179 new fatalities as a result of the virus — with the eldest victim aged 97 and the youngest recorded in the tally just 12 years old.

The deaths, which include previously uncounted fatalities related to the virus in hospitals and span a time period from 24 March to 2 June, bring the total toll reported by NHS England to 27,044.

WATCH: WHO chief's media briefing on COVID-19

9:55pm — Geneva, Switzerland — WHO set to resume hydroxychloroquine trial in battle on COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) is set to resume its trial of hydroxychloroquine for potential use against the new coronavirus, its head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday, after testing was suspended due to health concerns, Reuters reported.

Tedros also told an online media briefing he was “especially worried” about the outbreak in Central and South America, where infections have been spreading rapidly.

Explainer: Are asymptomatic COVID-19 patients safe or silent carriers?

 China said 300 symptomless carriers of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, the epicentre of the pandemic, had not been found to be infectious, in a bid to reassure people as countries ease restrictions. But some experts say asymptomatic infections are common, presenting a huge challenge in the control of the disease.

What is asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines here asymptomatic cases as those who don't show symptoms but have been confirmed infected through a lab test. WHO notes there are few reports of truly asymptomatic cases.

The incubation period, or the time a person takes to show symptoms after getting infected, is the pre-symptomatic phase, the WHO says. Carriers can infect others during this period.

Health experts are not yet sure whether asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases are infectious. Some say data so far suggests those cases are probably equally likely to be able to spread infection.

Read complete story here.

9:40pm — Moscow, Russia — WHO says COVID-19 cases declining in country 

Russia representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Melita Vujnovic said here that the number of coronavirus cases was slowly declining in Russia, AFP reported.

"We are seeing a good, albeit slow, decline" in the number of infections in Russia including the capital Moscow, Vujnovic said.

"We are hoping that the epidemic will continue to decline further," she told reporters.

The Russian government is preparing to stage a vote to change the constitution. 

9:34pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — An employee of deputy chairman senate's chamber contracts COVID-19

An employee of deputy chairman senate's chamber concentrated coronavirus.

The deputy chairperson, Saleem Mandviwala said that the cases were drastically increasing the Parliament House.

It is pertinent to mention here that at least three employees in the Senate have tested positive for coronavirus before the upcoming budget session.

08:50pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — Two KP Assembly members of ANP test positive

Awami National Party has said that it's two members Faisal Zeb Khan and Salahuddin Khan have tested positive for COVID-19.

08:39pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP's focal person on COVID-19 shares hotline for home testing

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's focal person on COVID-19, Zain Raza, has shared a contact number — 1700 — for the province's residents to call if they wish to be tested.

"If you have symptoms just call the number and a team will be sent to your address for sample collection," he wrote.

08:03pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP reports 10 more deaths, 46 new cases

07:47pm — Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan — Region reports 45 new cases

US firms lay off 2.76 million workers in May

07:00pm — Berlin, Germany — Germany to lift coronavirus travel warning for Europe from June 15: Minister

Germany will lift its blanket travel warning for European nations from June 15, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said, as the continent looks to further ease restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus.

"We have decided today that the travel warning for the named circle of countries will not be continued but replaced by travel advice," Maas said, referring to EU nations plus a handful of countries in the region including Switzerland and Iceland.

The warning will be replaced by advice for individual nations, "provided that there are no longer any entry bans or large-scale lockdowns in the respective countries", he said.

Germany will also be watching contagion data very carefully, he added, saying that warnings could be reintroduced if new infections were to reach 50 per 100,000 people in a week in the country concerned.

06:39pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — Govt reminds everyone to wear masks whenever out and about

06:10pm — Karachi, Pakistan — KU council to decide future mode of education

Karachi University's Academic Council, in a first, will have a virtual meeting ti decide the future course of action with regard to the varsity's academic activities during the lockdown measures.

The meeting will take place on Friday, June 5.

"The Academic Council has to decide the best mode of teaching when the regular classroom-based studies could not be conducted by Karachi University [...] because of the lockdown regime in place against the spread of COVID-19," said a statement issued by the university.

"One of the preferred choice before the Academic Council is to conduct online classes wherever it is possible to impart education related to its various degree programmes," it added.

05:28pm — Lahore, Pakistan — PML-N MPA passes away from COVID-19

PML-N MPA Shaukat Manzoor Cheema from Gujranwala has passed away after contracting the virus a few days ago.

Cheema, a member of the Punjab Assembly, had been admitted to the Pakistan Kidney And Liver Institute (PKLI). He had been on a ventilator since Eid, according to hospital officials.

He also suffered from heart ailments, said the officials.

5:00pm - Brussels, Belgium — Belgium to open bars and restaurants but not nightclubs

Belgium will reopen bars, restaurants and other areas of social and cultural life from June 8, but not nightclubs, a government minister said on Wednesday.

The comments by federal budget minister David Clarinval came ahead of a government meeting later in the day to announce a further easing of the coronavirus lockdown.

“All sectors will reopen, but not for night clubs unfortunately,” Clarinval told La Premiere television. Tourist attractions, camping sites and movie theatres would resume, along with sports training and matches behind closed doors.

Clarinval said Belgians would be allowed to meet more people, abolishing a rule that said a maximum of four people were allowed to visit the same household.

“All numbers are green,” Clarinval said, as Belgium reported only 70 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

With a population of 11.5 million, Belgium is one of the nations hardest hit by COVID-19, but it began phasing out lockdown measures at the beginning of May.

After reopening non-food shops last month, the country allowed schools, markets, museums and zoos to partially operate again. Belgium may also decide to reopen its borders with European countries from June 15.

Belgium has so far reported a total of 58,685 cases of COVID-19 and 9,522 deaths.

4:40pm - Geneva, Switzerland — COVID-19 death toll among nurses doubled in past month, says nurses group

More than 600 nurses worldwide are known to have died from COVID-19, which has infected an estimated 450,000 healthcare workers, the International Council of Nurses said on Wednesday.

The death toll among nurses more than doubled in the past month from 260 on May 6, according to its figures, which are based on data from more than 30 countries.

"In the last two months, we have seen the number of deaths of nurses as a result of coronavirus around the world rise from 100 to now in excess of 600 and we think worldwide the number of healthcare workers who could be infected by the virus is around 450,000," Howard Catton, chief executive officer of the Geneva-based ICN, told Reuters Television.

"These are numbers that keep going up," he said.

The pandemic's true cost among health professionals was not known, the association said, renewing its appeal for greater protection for them and systematic collection of reliable data.

4:25pm - Lahore, Pakistan — PML-N MPA Shaukat Cheema passes away due to coronavirus  

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MPA Shaukat Cheema has become the latest casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to hospital authorities, the MPA was on a ventilator since Eid and was under treatment at PKLI hospital in Lahore. They added that he was also a heart patient.

4:00pm - Karachi, Pakistan — PPP senator Maula Bux Chandio tests positive for the virus

PPP leader Maula Bux Chandio became the latest lawmaker to contract the coronavirus, confirmed a spokesperson of the senator.

According to the spokesperson, the senator is in home isolation and his daughter-in-law and wife have also tested positive for the virus. He added that servant of the senator has also tested positive for the virus. 

3:35pm - Karachi, Pakistan —  Sindh govt issues advisory for govt offices

Sindh government has issued an advisory for government offices to resume operations in the province.

According to the notification, no employee will be asked to enter the premises without face masks and social distancing has been made mandatory. The administration has also been tasked to ensure disinfection spray is carried out at least thrice a week.

The government has also asked the relevant departments to set up a health desk in their offices. 

3:25pm - Berlin, Germany — Germany to lift travel ban in Europe from June 15

Germany will lift a travel ban for European Union member states plus Britain, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland from 15 June as long as there are no entry bans or large-scale lockdowns in those countries, the foreign minister said.

Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Heiko Maas said all countries concerned met those criteria except Norway due to an entry ban and Spain, where he said parliament was deciding whether to extend an entry ban.

Maas said the travel warning would be replaced with guidelines, adding that Germans would be urged not to travel to Britain when not essential while a 14-day quarantine in place.

“Travel advice is not an invitation to travel - and we want to make clear that the travel guidelines may also strongly discourage travel, for example to Britain as long as there is a 14-day quarantine for all those arriving there,” Maas said.

“We will continue to make the lifting of the travel warning dependent on how the situation on the ground develops,” he said, adding new warnings could be issued if a country records more than 50 newly infected people per 100,000 over seven days.

2:40pm - Karachi, Pakistan — Trader leader claims more than 1 million working in marriage halls unemployed

Chairman of All traders Alliance Atiq Mir has claimed that more 1 million employed in marriage halls have become unemployed.

Mir also alleged that more than 30 businesses related to marriage halls have also been shut down. He added that marriage hall owners should be allowed to work with safety measures. 

2:30pm - Hanoi, Vietnam — Vietnam says most serious COVID-19 patient on path to recovery

Vietnam’s most gravely-ill COVID-19 patient, a British pilot who works for its national airline, has started to recover from the illness and may no longer require a lung transplant, state media said on Wednesday.

Vietnam, which has reported no deaths from the coronavirus, has mounted an all-out effort to save the 43-year-old man, who has been identified officially by the government as “Patient 91”.

Until recently, the Vietnam Airlines pilot was thought by doctors and officials to be in urgent need of a lung transplant.

The fate of “Patient 91” has received unprecedented national attention, with more than 50 people in Vietnam offering themselves as potential lung donors, according to state media.

The man, who is being treated at a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, can now smile, shake hands and respond to commands from hospital staff, the official Vietnam News Agency (VNA) said on Wednesday.

2:00pm - Stockholm, Sweden — Sweden should have done more to combat coronavirus, health chief says

Sweden should have done more to combat the coronavirus and prevent a much higher national COVID-19 death rate than in neighbouring countries, the man behind the Public Health Agency’s pandemic strategy said on Wednesday.

Nearly 4,500 Swedes have died in the outbreak, a higher mortality rate than in Denmark, Norway and Finland, and criticism has been growing over the government’s decision not to impose lockdown measures as strictly as elsewhere in Europe.

Anders Tegnell, the chief epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency, said that in hindsight Sweden should have done more.

“If we were to run into the same disease, knowing exactly what we know about it today, I think we would end up doing something in between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world has done,” Tegnell told Swedish radio.

“Yes, I think we could have done better in what we did in Sweden, clearly.”

While most of Europe, including Norway, Denmark and Finland, closed schools, shops and businesses, bringing much of society to a halt, Sweden has relied more on voluntary measures, social distancing and common-sense hygiene advice to stem the outbreak.

1:55pm - Berlin, Germany — Coronavirus pushes up German unemployment, short-time work

The coronavirus pandemic further hit Germany’s labour market in May as companies continued to slash thousands of jobs and put millions of employees on reduced working hours, data showed on Wednesday.

The bleak figures, published by the Labour Office, came as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition wrestled over the final details of a stimulus package to help firms and employees in Europe’s largest economy recover quickly from the crisis.

The number of people out of work in May rose by 238,000 to 2.875 million in seasonally adjusted terms, the data showed. A Reuters poll had predicted a rise of 200,000.

The unemployment rate jumped to 6.3% from 5.8% in April.

“The labour market remains under immense pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Labour Office head Detlef Scheele said. But he added that unemployment did not rise as much as in April.

SBP creates dedicated page to share measures taken to cuounter corona impact 

1:25pm - Peshawar, Pakistan — KP govt to aggressively pursue SOPs implementation: Taimur Jhagra

12:50pm - Sydney Australia — Australia mulls return of crowds to sporting stadiums as COVID-19 cases slow

Small crowds at sporting events may be possible in the near future, Australia’s deputy chief medical officer said on Wednesday, citing successful efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Australia has not reported a death from the disease for more than a week. It has recorded 102 COVID-19 deaths and almost 7,200 infections.

With fewer than 20 cases each day, Australia has allowed professional sport to begin, though no crowds are permitted.

Australia’s national cabinet will on Friday meet to discuss how to further ease social distancing restrictions, including potentially allowing small, spaced out crowds at stadiums.

“We’re going to try and get back to as much normality as we can, and I would join many people in wanting to go and watch a football match. But we need to do this in a staged fashion,” Australia’s deputy chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, told reporters in Canberra.

Australia’s national cabinet in May agreed on a three-step plan to remove the bulk of social distance curbs by July, though it did mention crowds at sporting venues could be problematic.

Journalist Gharidah Farooqi tests positive for virus

12:25pm - Sindh governor's focal person tests positive for coroanvirus 

12:00pm - Fawad Chaudhry once again calls for virtual assembly session 

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry has once again asked for a virtual session of the Parliament after four lawmakers passed away due to the coronavirus.

“Close to 18 assembly members are fighting for their life against the coronavirus,” the minister said, adding that safety measures should not be abandoned.

“Many members have contracted the virus after attending the sessions,” he added.

11:50am - London, UK — British PM Johnson is in charge of coronavirus response, junior minister says

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in charge of the government’s coronavirus response and always has been, a junior minister said on Wednesday after a report that Johnson was taking control of the crisis.

The Telegraph newspaper said Johnson was taking back control of the crisis with a Downing Street shakeup: two committees will make decisions about the government’s response.

“The prime minister is the head of this government and the prime minister runs this government. The prime minister has always been in charge,” junior health minister Edward Argar told Sky News when asked about the report.

Asked about the government’s COVID-19 tracing system, he said: “We are into the thousands being successfully traced at the moment, I don’t have the precise figures because we are working with the UK Statistics Authority to agree the process to make sure that they accept it’s reliable.”

11:30am - Karachi, Pakistan — Saudi Airlines carrying 240 Pakistanis lands in Karachi 

Saudi Airlines carrying stranded 240 Pakistanis from the kingdom landed in Karachi on Wednesday, aviation sources told Geo News.

They added that the coronavirus test samples are being taken of the Pakistanis and the reports will be received in the next 48 hours. Till their reports come in the passengers will be put in an isolation centre in a city.

Meanwhile, 530 stranded Pakistanis will also return to the country on three PIA flights today and also has the dead bodies of 16 Pakistanis.

11:15am - Berlin, Germany — Germany says coronavirus infections rise 342 to 182,370

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 342 to 182,370, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.

The reported death toll rose by 29 to 8,551, the tally showed.

11:00am - Wellington,  New Zealand — New Zealand could return to normal life as early as next week

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday she could lift all social distancing measures to return the country to normal life, bar the international border closure, as early as next week.

Ardern will decide on Monday whether the country is ready to shift to alert level 1, more than two months after she imposed a strict level 4 lockdown, shutting most businesses and forcing people to stay home, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Arden said waiting until Monday would allow her to see if recent changes, like the removal of restrictions on the number of people in bars and at social gatherings, had led to a rise in cases.

“If it hasn’t, then we will be in a good position to move,” she said during a televised news conference.

Under level 1 there is no requirement for physical distancing or limits on the number of people allowed in places like bars, clubs, churches, and sports venues, she said.

However, there would be one major change from pre-pandemic normality, with no immediate plans to reopen New Zealand’s border.

10:45am - Islamabad, Pakistan — Pakistan registers highest single day surge in positive cases

Pakistan in the last 24 hours reported 4,131 cases in a single day, its highest spike since the coronavirus outbreak began in the country. While Pakistan also recorded 67 new deaths in the last 24 hours and carried out 17,310 tests.

10:15am - New Delhi, India — India's coronavirus cases cross 200,000, peak still weeks away

India’s coronavirus infections crossed 200,000, the health ministry said on Wednesday, and a peak could still be weeks away in the world’s second most populous country.

Cases jumped by 8,909 over the previous day in one of the highest single-day spikes, taking the tally to 2,07,615. Six other nations, from the United States, to Britain and Brazil, have a higher caseload.

“We are very far away for the peak,” said Dr Nivedita Gupta, of the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research. Government officials have previously said it could be later this month, or even July, before cases start to fall off.

The death toll from the disease stood at 5,815.

10:05am - Nowshera, Pakistan — PTI MPA loses life to coronavirus 

Former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister Jamshed ud Din Kakakhel passed away due to the coronavirus on Wednesday, said the deputy commissioner of Nowshera.

According to the DC, the PTI MPA was under treatment at a private hospital in Islamabad and was also on a ventilator since the last three days.

Kakakhel was elected in the 2018 elections on from KP Assembly seat PK-63 in Nowshera. 

9:30am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Death toll rises to 1,688

The death toll from the novel coronavirus climbed to 1,688 on Wednesday after new deaths were reported across the country.

According to the national dashboard, four new deaths were recorded in Islamabad and one in AJK in the past 24 hours.

9:30am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Confirmed cases breach 80,000

Confirmed cases in the country jumped to 80,463 on Wednesday after new cases were reported in Balochistan, Islamabad and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

According to the national dashboard, 295 new cases were detected in the federal capital, 226 in Balochistan and 13 new cases in AJK.

France savours return of its iconic cafes and restaurants

World Bank says coronavirus to leave 'lasting scars' on developing world

The World Bank has said that it expects the coronavirus and resulting recessions to leave "lasting scars" on developing and emerging market countries, with the worst damage on oil exporters and those suffering financial crises.

In analytical chapters of its new Global Economic Prospects report, the bank said that the average emerging market country suffering a financial crisis could see potential output fall by 8% over five years, with lost output for developing oil exporters falling 11%.

Photo: Reuters

World Bank officials said that because the growth outlook had already dimmed significantly due in part to trade conflicts, the shock from the pandemic could easily spill over into solvency problems for emerging market countries.

"What is needed now is urgent measures to limit the harm and damage, but also staying away from policies that can lead to this health crisis, which has turned into an economic crisis, turning into a financial crisis," it said.

8:45am — Washington, US — US Army says reasonable to expect some sort of vaccine by year-end

A senior US army vaccine researcher said on Tuesday it was reasonable to expect that some sort of coronavirus vaccine could be available to some parts of the US population by the end of the year.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper vowed on May 15 that the US government would in collaboration with the private sector produce a vaccine to treat the American people and partners abroad by the year-end.

Col. Wendy Sammons-Jackson, director of the Military Infectious Disease Research Program, told a Pentagon news briefing it was "reasonable to expect that there will be some form of a vaccine that could be available at some level, to a certain population by the end of the year."

8:30am — Seoul, South Korea — South Korea approves import of anti-viral drug remdesivir for treatment

South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety approved a request by the country's health authorities to import Gilead Sciences’ anti-viral drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19, the ministry said.

The decision came after a government panel concluded last week that remdesivir showed positive results.

The ministry said it will cooperate with the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), other ministries and Gilead Sciences to swiftly import the drug.

10:42pm/June 2 — London, UK — Black and Asian people in England more likely to die from COVID-19, says report

Black and Asian people in England are up to 50% more likely to die after becoming infected with COVID-19, an official study has said, putting pressure on the government to outline plans to protect the most at-risk communities.

While the report by Public Health England (PHE) reinforced previous studies which indicated ethnic minority groups were more at risk from the virus, it was not accompanied by specific government advice for those people.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that equalities minister Kemi Badenoch would look at the issue further.

“We will put action in place as soon as we can. We won’t wait for a report,” Hancock said.

Sindh issues SOPs for intra-city transport

Sindh issued SOPs for intra-city transport after holding successful talks with transporters earlier in the day.

A few SOPs are as follows:

- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces of buses, bus terminals and waiting areas.

- Observing social distancing during ticketing, boarding. travelling and alighting with minimum 3 feet distance.

- Wearing masks and hand gloves is mandatory for all the passengers, drivers and conductors.

- Keep minimum baggage.

9:55pm/June 2 — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh approves Health Risk Allowance for frontline workers

Sindh approved Health Risk Allowance for frontline workers battling coronavirus at health facilities and laboratories.

The allowance will be equivalent to basic running pay, the notification said.