Pakistan Responds to the Looming Coronavirus Threat [Live Updates]

  • A new case in Sindh could mark the beginning of local spread; Pakistan tally climbs to 22
  • PM Imran Khan calls an emergency meeting of National Security Committee today
  • Military’s top brass discusses COVID-19 developments in Corps Commanders Conference
  • PSL Matches in Karachi to be hosted without spectators
  • New COVID-19 case in Skardu confirmed
  • Engro offices at The Harbour Front Building to resume on Monday
  • Punjab govt. declares Medical Emergency to contain coronavirus

Thursday saw some major developments in Pakistan where the center and provinces took important decisions to forestall the spread of coronavirus in the country. The PM Imran Khan has called an emergency meeting of the National Security Committee on Friday (today) to discuss the coronavirus situation in the country, while the military top brass joined heads on Thursday to review the coronavirus spread situation so far.

Punjab declared a medical emergency and Sindh announced that PSL matches in Karachi would be held without spectators. Sindh also extended closure of educational institutions till May 31 clubbing the recent shutdown with summer holidays. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s COVID-19 positive tally climbed to 21 on Thursday with another person from Skardu contracting the virus.

Here are the latest updates:

7.30 pm | Emergency National Security Council Meeting Concludes

The National Security Council Meeting has concluded. Some of the decisions taken during the meeting include:

  • All academic institutions across country will be closed till April 5
  • Pakistan Day parade on 23 March has been called off
  • Iran and Afghanistan borders will be shut for the next 15 days
  • Weddings and public gatherings will either be banned for 15 days
  • PSL matches in Lahore will also be held in empty stadium
  • International flights will only operate from Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad airports
  • Raiwind religious gathering has been cut short

Read more details here.

7.15 pm | Educational Institutions Across Pakistan to Close Till April 5

All public and private schools, colleges, varsities, vocational institutes, and religious seminaries will remain closed across the country till April 5, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood has announced.

The decision was taken in the National Security Committee meeting that concluded a while ago.

6.30 pm | India shuts malls in Mumbai, bars in Bengaluru after coronavirus death

Two Indian states ordered the closure of public buildings, malls, cinemas and bars in several major cities on Friday, with Mumbai and Bengaluru subject to differing restrictions, after the country reported its first death from the coronavirus.

With just 74 confirmed cases of the virus and a single death, India, a country of 1.3 billion people, has so far fared better than elsewhere in Asia, Europe, and North America.

But experts say India’s already overstretched medical system would struggle to deal with a major rise in serious cases.

Source: Reuters

6.00 pm | Punjab Closes Educational Institutions till March 30

The Punjab govt. has announced the closure of educational institutions, both public and private, across the province till March 30.

The decision follows similar decisions made by the KP and GB governments earlier today. Sindh had announced the closure of all educational institutions in the province till May 31 yesterday.

An official announcement on this is still awaited.

4.45 pm | PCB Cuts Down Matches & Changes PSL 2020 Schedule

The Pakistan Cricket Board has rescheduled the remaining matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) amid coronavirus threats.

As per the updated schedule, the playoffs will be replaced with semi-finals to be played on 17th March. The final will be on Wednesday, 18th March.

Read the full story here.

4.00 pm | Sindh Govt Announces Prize for Whoever Prepares Coronavirus Vaccine

Minister for Information and Local Governments in Sindh, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, has announced a prize for research students and institutes that develop a proper vaccine for novel coronavirus.

In a video message on Friday, Nasir announced the provincial government’s full financial support for the research labs and institutes in this regard. He did not mention the amount or nature of the prize.

Read the full story here.

3.40 pm | GB Educational Institutions to Shut till March 31

Starting March 16, all educational institutions in Gilgit-Baltistan will be shut till March 31, the GB government has announced.

The elementary board exams have also been postponed according to the government notification.

3.35 pm | IPL Postponed till April 15 over Coronavirus

The start of the Indian Premier League has been postponed from March 29 until April 15 over the coronavirus, the Indian cricket board said Friday.

Sports events worldwide have been upended by the deadly virus, including this weekend’s Formula One Australian Grand Prix as well as football and NBA basketball.

Source: AFP

3.30 pm | Telenor Pakistan Announces Work From Home in South

Telenor Pakistan has announced that it will be allowing its staff to work from home in the Southern part of the country as a precautionary measure to contain the novel coronavirus spread.

The company is also prepping to get its teams in place in other parts of the country to get the work done from home, if and when required. When asked if any Telenor employee had tested positive with COVID-19, the company denied and said there’s no such case surfaced as of yet.

Read the full story here.

FACT CHECK | COVID-19 Virus Can Be Transmitted in Areas With Hot and Humid Climates

From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather, says WHO. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19.

The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

2.25 pm | KP Shuts Educational Institutions for 15 Days

Amid increasing coronavirus cases, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to close educational institutions across the province for 15 days.

Exams of all educational institutions and other official and public gatherings have been postponed until further notice. The decision on Torkham border closure will be taken at the National Security Committee meeting scheduled to take place later today.

2.15 pm | China Accuses US of Spreading Corona Virus as Biological Weapon

China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, has claimed that it was the US that transmitted Coronavirus to China originally.

The Chinese government firmly believes that 300 athletes of the US army who participated in the 7th Military World Games in Wuhan in October last year were already infected with the virus when they landed in China.

Read the full story here.

2.00 pm | Bangladesh Refuses to Tour Pakistan for Remaining Matches

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has refused to send its team to Pakistan for the remaining matches citing coronavirus fears, media reports said. The Bengal Tigers are scheduled to play a one-off ODI and a Test match in Karachi starting from April 1st.

PCB has not yet given an official stance.

Read the full story here.

1.45 pm | Bill Gates and Zuckerberg Are Working to Fix COVID-19 Testing

Zuckerberg, via his Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, has announced an affiliation with CZI Biohub. He will be purchasing two clinical diagnostic machines to increase the testing and diagnosing of possible cases in the San Francisco Bay.

Bill Gates, under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is going to fund his own testing kits that will focus on people in the Seattle area, another region that is home to an outbreak.

Read the full story here.

1.30 pm | English Players Quitting PSL & Flying Back to England: Report

English cricketers participating in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) have decided to fly out of Pakistan immediately fearing they would be stuck in Pakistan amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier, Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) had decided to conduct remaining PSL matches at Karachi behind closed doors after the outbreak of Coronavirus in the country.

Read the full story here.

1.15 pm | Australian Bowler Tested for Coronavirus Just Before Match Against New Zealand

Australian bowler Kane Richardson has been tested for the Coronavirus after complaining of a mild sore throat to the Australian team’s medical staff.

As a precautionary measure, the 29-year-old was quarantined just hours before the first ODI against New Zealand at Sydney Cricket Ground.

Read the full story here.

1.00 pm | Modi Proposes a Joint SAARC Strategy to Fight COVID-19

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proposed that the leadership of SAARC nations could chalk out a joint strategy to fight coronavirus and set an example for the world.

12.30 pm | First Secondary Contact Case Identified

Pakistan’s latest coronavirus case is a secondary contact case and had no recent travel history according to the media coordinator to Sindh health minister, Meeran Yousuf.

11.00 am | Nepal Govt. Shuts Down Everest for the Rest of the Season

Nepal govt. has announced that it’s shutting down the mountain for climbers for the rest of the expedition season in a bid to contain the COVID-19 epidemic.

The country announced that it would cancel all climbing permits from 14 March until 30 April. It’s pertinent to note that China had already canceled expeditions from the northern, Chinese-controlled, side of the mountain.

10.00 am | New COVID-19 Case in Sindh Could Mark the Beginning of Local Transmission

It has been reported just hours ago that a new COVID-19 case has emerged in Sindh where a 52-year-old patient tested positive for the virus. The person had ‘arrived from Islamabad 2 days ago’.

The development could mark the first case of local transmission because as of now, all who tested positive had brought the virus from outside Pakistan, mainly Iran.

9.30 am | PM Imran Khan Calls an Emergency Meeting of National Security Committee

PM Imran Khan has called an emergency meeting of National Security Committee on Friday (today) to discuss the coronavirus situation in the country and preventive measures that are required to curb the spread.

The meeting will be chaired by PM Imran Khan. All three heads of the armed forces, DGs of ISI and IB, representatives of all provinces, interior and foreign ministries, as well as PM’s aides on health, economy, information & broadcasting, and national security division will participate in the meeting.

9.00 am | Military Top Brass Discusses COVID-19 Developments in Corps Commanders Conference

Earlier, the military’s top brass discussed country’s COVID-19 related developments in the Corps Commanders Conference presided over by Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ.

8.30 am | PM Office Shares COVID-19 Data from NIH

On Thursday night, the PM Office quoted data from the National Institute of Health in a tweet and rectified the number of affected people to 20, from the previously reported 21.

For our coronavirus coverage from March 12, click here


  • When is sleeping BUZDAAAAR gonna wake up !!!, All schools in Punjab should also be closed immediately,,,

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