Global coronavirus cases have exceeded 2 million with the US infection and mortality numbers surpassing other worst-hit nations by the thousands. With over 644,000 cases, the US is about half a million infections ahead of Spain, the second most affected country. Italy, that holds the second spot in global coronavirus fatalities, has been surpassed by the US by 5,000 deaths with its toll now reading over 28,000.
On Tuesday, US coronavirus deaths rose by a single-day record 2,228 to top 28,300, as officials debated how to reopen the economy without reigniting the outbreak. On Wednesday, France death toll also rose by record 1,438 in the biggest single-day increase as a number of nursing homes reported cumulative tolls following the three-day Easter weekend. Spain’s daily death toll, however, slipped to 523 from the 567 reported on Tuesday.
While Pakistan also sees a steady rise in cases with its tally now at over 6,500, fears loom that the virus cases may be potentially underreported here. CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah in a shocking revelation on Wednesday pointed to an alarming rise of DOA (dead on arrival) and near-death cases reported lately by hospitals in Sindh. Most of these cases, he said, exhibited Covid-19 symptoms. Numbers from the Edhi Foundation also supported the claims.
While the number of new Covid-19 cases is slightly easing in some parts of Europe, including Italy and Spain, outbreaks are still growing in Britain and Turkey, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday. “The overall world outbreak, 90 percent of cases are coming from Europe and the United States of America. So we are certainly not seeing the peak yet,” WHO spokeswoman Dr. Margaret Harris said.
Here are the latest updates:
Coronavirus claims another 753 lives in France in 24 hours: official
The coronavirus outbreak has claimed another 753 lives in the last 24 hours in France, bringing the country’s total fatalities to 17,920, top French health official Jerome Salomon said Thursday.
But the number of virus patients hospitalized dropped by 474 and the number in critical care fell by 209, the health ministry’s number two official said.
“The spread of the virus is stabilizing at a high level,” he added. Among the dead were 11,060 who died in hospital and 6,860 in care homes or other establishments, he said.
Iran coronavirus death toll up as official warns of autumn rise in cases
Iran’s official coronavirus death toll rose to 4,869 on Thursday but a parliamentary report said the actual number could be much higher and a deputy minister warned the infection could spread further in autumn.
Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur, speaking on state television, said the death toll had risen by 92, while the total number of cases of infection reached 77,995.
However, a report by the Iranian parliament’s research centre suggested that the coronavirus tolls might be almost twice as many as those announced by the health ministry.
Human Rights ministry posts guide to ensure mental and psychosocial well-being
The #COVID19 crisis has generated a high degree of stress, anxiety and uncertainty amongst the general population. Please follow the guidelines below to protect & support the mental and psychosocial well-being of those around you#mentalhealth🧠 #COVID19Pakistan 🇵🇰 pic.twitter.com/UuOfC36s8p
— Ministry of Human Rights (@mohrpakistan) April 16, 2020
99-year-old British war veteran raises over $15 million for UK’s health service
He’s done it! 99-year-old British war veteran Tom Moore has completed 100 laps of his garden and raised more than $15 million for the UK’s health service https://t.co/vuBwyxBkWc pic.twitter.com/bnFVNvEgtO
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 16, 2020
Europe coronavirus death toll tops 90,000
The coronavirus has killed more than 90,000 people in Europe, over 65 percent of the overall global death toll, according to an AFP tally Thursday at 1030 GMT from official sources.
With a total of 90,180 deaths out of some 1,047,279 infections, Europe is the hardest-hit continent by the pandemic, which has killed a total of 137,499 worldwide.
The largest number of deaths have been seen in Italy with 21,645 and Spain with 19,130, followed by France with 17,167 deaths and Britain 12,868.
40 Pakistanis to return from Wagah Border
Some 40 Pakistanis will return to Pakistan from India through the Wagah border, which will be especially be opened for them.
US investigating whether virus came from Wuhan lab: Trump
US President Donald Trump says his government is trying to determine whether the coronavirus emanated from a lab in Wuhan, China, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Beijing “needs to come clean” on what they know.
The source of the virus remains a mystery, although the broad scientific consensus holds that SARS-CoV-2, its official name, originated in bats. It is generally believed that it infected humans via another animal, possibly a pangolin, sold at a wet market in Wuhan.
General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Tuesday, US time, that US intelligence indicated the coronavirus likely occurred naturally, as opposed to being created in a laboratory in China, but there was no certainty either way.
-Sydney Morning Herald
G20 countries agree to suspend debt payments for Pakistan
Countries in the G20 group have agreed to suspend debt payments for the world’s poorest nations as they struggle to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Pakistan has been added to the group of countries that are eligible for debt relief.
According to the official communique of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting, all IDA-countries, that are currently on any debt service to the IMF and the World Bank and all least developed countries as defined by the United Nations, that are currently on any debt service to the IMF and the World Bank will be eligible for the debt relief. The IDA group consists of 76 countries, which includes Pakistan as well.
According to the standardized term sheet, the suspension period will start on May 1st, 2020 and will last until end-2020. It also mentioned that the creditors will consider a possible extension during 2020, taking into account a report on the liquidity needs of eligible countries by the World Bank and IMF.
Read full story here.
Pakistan’s coronavirus cases will increase drastically after April 26: health expert
More testing times are awaiting Pakistan as coronavirus outbreak may worsen two weeks from now, a health expert has claimed.
Professor Masood Hameed Khan, the former Vice-chancellor of the University of Health Sciences, believes that coronavirus is yet to peak in the country. He noted that Pakistan is likely to report more COVID-19 infections and fatalities between April 26 and May 10.
According to him, the virus took 50 to 60 days to show its effects around the world and added that the number of cases in the USA and Europe increased multifold after 50-60 days since its emergence.
China says WHO has said no evidence virus was made in a lab
China’s foreign ministry says the WHO has said there is no evidence that the coronavirus that has infected more than 2 million people globally was made in a lab.
Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made the remark in response to a question about accusations the coronavirus originated in a lab in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the epidemic first emerged in late 2019.
Sindh Covid-19 tally jumps by 340 to 2,008
The coronavirus tally in Sindh has crossed 2,000 with a jump of 340 new cases. The provincial tally now reads 2,008.
Earlier today, 4 more deaths were also reported in the province that took its toll to 45.
The following information is relevant to assess the situation of #COVIDー19 in Sindh as of 16th April at 8 AM:
Total Tests 18900
Positive Cases 2008 (today 340)
Recovered Cases 576
In the last 24 hours, 16 people have recovered from corona in Sindh
— SenatorMurtaza Wahab (@murtazawahab1) April 16, 2020
READ: Poor internet is making studying impossible for students in remote areas
Where the ill-preparedness of universities to conduct online learning or remote classes is affecting the overall quality of education, students are appealing to the government for better internet services, especially in remote areas. The lack of standard broadband services in these areas is preventing a large segment of students from attending online lectures and exams.
Even though the country has seen a massive surge in the availability and use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), the rate of internet penetration remains alarmingly low. As of December 2019, according to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, broadband services only extend to 36% of the population, up from 22% in 2018.
This shows the spread of the internet across the country has been far from homogenous and highlights an emerging ‘digital divide.’ For the uninitiated, the Digital Divide refers to inequality in the access, use, and impact of ICTs.
Read full piece here.
Sindh reports 4 more deaths
Four more coronavirus deaths have been reported in Sindh.
This brings the national Covid-19 death toll to 128.
Pandemic to bring Asia’s 2020 growth to halt for 1st time in 60 years: IMF
Asia’s economic growth this year will grind to a halt for the first time in 60 years, as the coronavirus crisis takes an “unprecedented” toll on the region’s service sector and major export destinations, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday.
Policymakers must offer targeted support to households and firms hardest-hit by travel bans, social distancing policies and other measures aimed at containing the pandemic, said Changyong Rhee, director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department.
— IMF (@IMFNews) April 16, 2020
Only a Covid-19 vaccine will allow return to ‘normalcy’: UN chief
A Covid-19 vaccine may be the only thing that can bring back “normalcy,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday, hoping for just that before the end of the year.
“A safe and effective vaccine may be the only tool that can return the world to a sense of ‘normalcy,’ saving millions of lives and countless trillions of dollars,” he added during a video conference with the 50 or so African countries that are members of the United Nations.
He called for its accelerated development and accessibility to all, adding it must have a “universal global benefit” and “allow us to control the pandemic.”
“We need an ambitious effort to ensure that international stakeholders operate through a harmonized, integrated and leveraged approach to maximize the speed and scale needed for the universal deployment of such a vaccine by the end of 2020,” he insisted.
Situation Report: 520 New Cases, 17 Deaths Reported in Last 24 Hours
Pakistan saw a surge in Coronavirus positive cases on April 15th, 2020, as the country added 520 new cases to reach a total of 6,505 COVID-19 cases in the country.
Of new cases, 272 were reported from Punjab only. With new additions, daily toll remains the second-highest daily rise since the beginning of the outbreak in mid-March.
Pakistan also reported its highest deaths due to Coronavirus related complications since the emergence of the virus in the country. A total of 17 deaths were reported on April 15th, with 6 fatalities each from Sindh and Punjab while another 4 patients died in KP.
Death numbers have surged during the past few days as coronavirus related deaths stayed in double-figure and 52 out of 124 deaths were reported during the past five days only. If the rate remains the same, then deaths in the country could double in seven days.
Read full report here.
Trump to ease lockdown, saying virus cases have ‘passed peak’
President Donald Trump vowed to unveil plans Thursday to reopen the world’s top economy, following cautious moves in Europe, claiming the US had “passed the peak” of new coronavirus cases, even as the country logged a record number of deaths from the disease.
The death toll has topped 134,000 with more than two million infected, according to an AFP tally — with nearly 2,600 dying in the past 24 hours in the US alone.
But a bullish Trump told reporters his “aggressive strategy” against the virus was working and that “the data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new cases”.
He promised swift “guidelines” on reopening parts of the country, suggesting less-affected states could ease restrictions before May 1.
Punjab reports 6 more deaths, 201 new cases
Six more Covid-19 deaths have been reported in Punjab in the past 24 hours taking its death toll to 34.
Moreover, with the addition of 201 fresh cases, the province’s tally now reads 3,217.
Centre assails Sindh govt over ‘stricter’ lockdown measures
The federal government has slammed the Sindh government on its decision to apply even stricter measures during the continuing lockdown, apparently against the spirit of what was agreed upon at a meeting of the National Coordination Committee a day earlier.
Special Assistant to the PM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said: “The Sindh government will soon witness the people’s reaction if it continues to confine them to their homes without any plan to provide them help in cash or kind.”
Germany plans cautious first steps to restart public life after coronavirus shutdown
Germany plans to let smaller shops reopen next week after a weeks-long coronavirus shutdown and to start reopening schools in early May, but Europe’s biggest economy is keeping strict social distancing rules in place for now.
After much-anticipated talks Wednesday with Germany’s 16 state governors, Chancellor Angela Merkel set out a plan for the first steps of a cautious restart of public life — following neighboring Austria and Denmark and other countries in launching a slow loosening of restrictions.
New infections in Germany have slowed in recent weeks, but Merkel cautioned that the country has achieved only “a fragile intermediate success” so far and doesn’t have “much room for maneuver.”
UK Virus Outbreak ‘Probably’ Peaking, but Too Soon to Ease Lockdown
Britain’s coronavirus outbreak is probably peaking, but it is too early to start relaxing restrictions, officials said as critics warned that the country may end up with the worst death rate in Europe due to government failings.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top medical adviser, Chris Whitty, said on Wednesday that data on the extent and impact of the outbreak was encouraging but that it was too soon to focus the next phase of the government’s response.
So far, more than 12,868 people with COVID-19 have died in British hospitals, though new official data indicates the true death toll could be much larger. Whitty said the daily number of deaths could rise in coming days due reporting lags.
4 more deaths, 47 new cases reported in KP
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has reported 4 new Covid-19 fatalities with its toll now reaching 42.
The province also reported another 47 cases, most in Tableeghi Jamaat members with travel history, taking its tally to 912.
50 new cases reported in the last 24 hours taking the tally to 912. 4 more deaths were reported taking the tally to 42. 13 more patients have recovered taking the total tally to 191 in the province.
Any discrepancy in numbers from past reports is because of data synchronization. pic.twitter.com/MmXHKIb2ZW
— Health Department KP (@HealthKPGovt) April 15, 2020
For our coronavirus coverage from April 15, click here.