COAS Calls for National Unity As Coronavirus Cases and Fatalities Rise

  • Bajwa calls for national unity in the fight against the pandemic
  • Commander of Army’s Air Defence Command designated as NCOC convener
  • PM Imran Khan launched the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Initiative
  • Special PIA flights to bring back 2,000 stranded Pakistanis
  • Covid-19 death toll now at 31, confirmed cases over 2,200

Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa on Wednesday called for national unity in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected over 2,200 and killed 31 so far in Pakistan.

To bolster the fight, the Commander of Army’s Air Defence Command, Lt Gen Hamood Uz Zaman Khan, has been designated as convener of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).

In another development, PM Imran Khan launched the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Initiative on Wednesday in an attempt to reduce the adverse impact of virus lockdowns on the poor. Under the Rs. 144 billion program, 12 million families (72 million individuals) will receive Rs. 12,000 each to sustain life in this time of crisis.

It was also revealed by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf on Wednesday that the govt had decided to allow special flights to bring back Pakistanis who are stranded abroad.

About 17 PIA flights will operate between April 3 and April 11 to bring back nearly 2,000 Pakistanis from different countries including Canada, United Kingdom, Turkey, Malaysia, and Azerbaijan.

Here are the latest updates:


10.25 pm

KP recorded 37 new cases, 1 death in the past 24 hours

37 new cases and 1 death were reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the past 24 hours.

The new official tally of the province stands at 311, and its death toll is at 8.

The number of recoveries in the province currently stands at 30.

10.15 pm

NEW CASES: Sindh 20, Balochistan 5

20 new coronavirus cases have emerged in Sindh, Meeran Yousuf, media coordinator to the Sindh health minister, confirmed.

Of these cases, 12 were reported in Karachi, while 8 were detected among zaireen quarantined in Sukkur.

Balochistan recorded 5 more coronavirus cases too which take its tally to 169.

10.00 pm

Sindh bans all public movement on Fridays between 12-3pm

Hours after the Sindh govt denied reports of a curfew-like lockdown in Sindh of Fridays between 12-3pm, Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah has confirmed the said lockdown.

He said that while normal lockdown timings will continue in other days, all public movement will be restricted in the province between 12pm to 3pm on Fridays.

8.30 pm

Sindh reports 11 more recoveries

11 more people have been recorded to recover from coronavirus in Sindh, confirmed Sindh govt spokesperson Murtaza Wahab.

8.00 pm

KP quarantines all Tableeghi Marakiz

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has issued directives for all Tableeghi Marakiz in the province to be put under quarantine.

It has also instructed authorities to collect at least two samples from each Markaz for coronavirus testing.

7.45 pm

Thailand Imposes Nationwide Curfew to Curb Coronavirus

Thailand will impose a nationwide night curfew from Friday to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the prime minister said on Thursday, adding that people had to adapt to survive.

The 10 p.m.-4 a.m. curfew, which will run indefinitely, is the latest measure by the government to curb gatherings and have people stay at home as much as possible.

Exceptions include those people transporting medical supplies and health workers traveling to and from work, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said.

Source: Reuters

7.30 pm

Another coronavirus death reported in Sindh

Sindh has reported another coronavirus death with the provincial tally reaching 11.

The victim, a Karachi resident, was aged 86 and had a history of hypertension.

7.00 pm

CII stands by govt restrictions on congregational prayers

Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) in its emergency meeting on Thursday endorsed the govt decision to ban mass prayers and religious gatherings.

The Council also urged people to practice social distancing and offer prayers at home.

6.30 pm

WHO calls for debt relief for poor nations

6.15 pm

Saudi Arabia enforces a 24-hour daily curfew in Mecca and Medina

6.00 pm

Swat reports 7 new cases

7 new coronavirus cases have emerged in Swat taking the city’s tally to 12.

All new cases are of local transmission.

5.30 pm

No curfew-like lockdown on Friday from 12-3pm, clarifies Sindh govt

Sindh govt has clarified that it’s not going to implement any additional or special lockdown measures on Fridays in the province.

The statement comes in response to some news circulating in the media saying Sindh govt had announced a curfew-like lockdown in the province from 12 to 3pm for Fridays.

5.15 pm

Peshawar Zalmi owner contributes Rs10m to PM Coronavirus Funs

Peshawar Zalmi owner Javed Afridi has made a donation of Rs10m to Prime Minister’s Coronavirus Relief Fund.

He made the contribution on behalf of the Zalmi Foundation.

4.45 pm

Baisakhi Mela called off due to coronavirus

The famed Baisakhi Mela of Pakistan and all related festivities have been suspended in view of the coronavirus pandemic. A notification from the district police officer Attock instructed the Sikh community to cancel all Baisakhi festivities that were scheduled to be held at the Gurdwara Punja Sahab in Hasan Abdal.

The notification further read that the Gurdwara will be completely closed and nobody will be allowed to enter or exit the shrine.

The festival of Baisakhi — also known as Vaisakhi — is one of the most important Sikh festivals, marking the birth of the Sikh faith. It also signifies the start of the Punjabi New Year and the beginning of the harvesting season.

4.00 pm

British Airways is in talks to suspend around 32,000 staff

3.30 pm

Spain registers a grim one-day toll of 950

Coronavirus death toll in Spain jumped by a massive 950 overnight in a new record.

This one-day spike made the country’s toll cross the 10,000 threshold.

3.15 pm

Punjab reports 69 new cases

With the addition of 69 new cases, Punjab’s coronavirus tally has reached 914.

These take Pakistan’s national tally to 2,355.

2.45 pm

Emirates gets approval to operate limited number of passenger flights

Emirates has received approval from UAE authorities to start flying a limited number of passenger flights.

“From 06 April, these flights will initially carry travelers outbound from the UAE,” revealed Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman & CEO of Emirates Airline & Group.

2.30 pm

Israel’s health minister has virus, top officials to isolate

The new coronavirus is forcing more top Israeli officials into isolation after the country’s health minister, who has had frequent contact with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tested positive, the Health Ministry said Thursday.

Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and his wife, who also contracted the virus, are in isolation, feel well and are being treated, the statement said.

Source: AP

2.00 pm

China’s Shenzhen bans the eating of cats and dogs after coronavirus

The Chinese city of Shenzhen has banned the eating of dogs and cats as part of a wider clampdown on the wildlife trade since the emergence of the new coronavirus.

Scientists suspect the coronavirus passed to humans from animals. Some of the earliest infections were found in people who had exposure to a wildlife market in the central city of Wuhan, where bats, snakes, civets and other animals were sold.

1.00 pm

Disinfection drive begins in Sindh

On the directives of Sindh Minister for Local Government Nasir Hussain Shah, a disinfection drive has begun in Sindh.

The drive will focus on Karachi and Hyderabad in the first phase. Spraying of disinfectants is also underway in Nawabshah, Sukkur, and Larkana.

12.45 pm

Sindh registers 34 new cases

34 new coronavirus cases, all of local transmission, have been reported in Sindh taking its tally to 743.

Of the new cases, Karachi reported 17, Hyderabad 9, Shaheed Benazirabad 6, while 2 were reported in Jamshoro.

12.30 pm

Sindh reports death of a Tableeghi Jamaat member

A member of the Tableeghi Jamaat has died in Sindh after testing positive for coronavirus.

The 64-year-old patient, who hailed from Tando Mohammad Khan, had Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.


Another Chinese company donates medical supplies to Pakistan

11.45 am

Here’s how is Covid-19 is different from the seasonal flu

11.30 am

President Alvi urges families to contribute to relief efforts

11.15 am

NEW CASES: Islamabad 8, AJK 3, GB3

Islamabad has reported 8 new coronavirus cases with AJK and GB each registering 3 more confirmed cases.

11.00 am

Another shipment of relief goods arrives from China

A PIA plane carrying relief goods from China has arrived in Islamabad on Thursday morning, an NDMA spokesperson confirms.

The relief goods include 100 thermal scanners and personal protective equipment including 900,000 masks, 60,000 protective goggles, 3,300 protective suits, and more.

11.00 am

Australia begins pre-clinical testing for coronavirus vaccine

Australia’s national science agency said on Thursday it has commenced the first stage of testing potential vaccines for COVID-19, as it joins a global race to halt the coronavirus pandemic.

The first phase testing would take around three months, CSIRO’s director of health Rob Grenfell told Reuters, adding that any resulting vaccine would not be available to the public before late next year.

“We’re still sticking to the optimistic 18 months for delivery of vaccine to the general consumers,” Grenfell said from Melbourne in an interview over Skype. “Now this, of course, may change. There’s a lot of technical challenges that we’re having to go through.”

Source: Reuters

9.15 am

10 more test positive in Multan quarantine

Out of the 30 suspected coronavirus patients housed in a Multan quarantine, 10 have tested positive for the virus.

The news was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Nishtar Hospital in the city.

9.00 am

KP to release 121 Taftan returnees tomorrow

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister Taimur Khan Jhagra has said that about 121 Taftan returnees will be released tomorrow after completing their quarantine period.

2.30 am

One more death in Punjab

Punjab has registered one more coronavirus death taking its toll to 11.

A 35-year-old woman who was suffering from a liver ailment in addition to Covid-19 died at Lahore’s Mayo Hospital.

2.00 am

97 new cases emerge in Punjab

Punjab has reported as many as 97 new coronavirus cases.

This brings Punjab’s tally to 845.


For our coronavirus coverage from April 1, click here

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