Pakistan government has decided to keep the international flight operations suspended till May 15 to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The announcement was made by the Civil Aviation Authority in a tweet adding that ‘remaining provisions as applicable to the suspension of Int flights reflected in previous orders remain unchanged.’
On Friday, the Federal Minister for Planning and Special Initiatives Asad Umar had announced the extension of the nationwide lockdown till May 9. The move aimed to curtail the spread of the pandemic that has seen a sharp spike after the lockdown was eased recently for select industries and businesses.
Umar said that Covid-19 testing capacity throughout the country is being ramped up, adding that 5.7 million families have been given monetary aid under the Ehsaas Programme so far. He also wished the nation a happy, safe, and blessed Ramazan.
Here are the latest updates:
Situation Report: 783 new cases, 16 deaths reported in 24 hours
Pakistan reported 783 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally to 12,723. Punjab added 332 new cases to the tally while Sindh reported 287 new cases during past 24 hours. KP reported 85 new cases while 12 more patients tested positive for coronavirus in Islamabad during past 24 hours.
A total of 16 patients died due to coronavirus related complications on April 25th, 2020, taking the tally to 269.
AJK, for the third consecutive day, reported no new cases, while the total number of patients reached 55 earlier last week. With a total of 1,588 tests conducted since March 10th, 2020, AJK, so far, has the lowest coronavirus cases in the country.
Read full report here.
1,450 US citizens, LPRs to leave Islamabad this week: Zulfi Bukhari
We helped over 1,450 #USCitizens and LPRs leave #Islamabad this week to reunite with their loved ones in the United States. Thanks to the Pakistani authorities for facilitating the flights. #RamazanMubarak #AmericansHome #coronavirus #COVID pic.twitter.com/m6dLmTsOij
— U.S. Embassy Islamabad (@usembislamabad) April 26, 2020
Schedule of flights to repatriate overseas Pakistanis in May
[Update] FLIGHTS SCHEDULE (May 1 to May 10)
Please note that scheduled flights are subject to change without prior notice in light of the evolving situation due to the pandemic.
— Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis & HRD 🇵🇰 (@mophrd) April 25, 2020
A Ramadan like no other: Images from around the world.
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A Ramadan like no other: Images from around the world. For the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan is a social and spiritual high point, a time to gather with friends and family, and to focus on fasting, prayer and scripture. But the coronavirus pandemic is transforming this Ramadan across the world, clearing out mosques, canceling communal prayers and forcing families to replace physical gatherings with virtual meet-ups. What’s in these images: SRINAGAR Praying on the banks of Dal Lake in Kashmir. @ahmermkhan. JOHANNESBURG Praying at home on Friday as South Africa remained in lockdown. @gulshanii. JERUSALEM Praying on a rooftop on Friday, the first day of Ramadan. @danbalilty. KABUL The hills overlooking the Afghan capital on the first day of Ramadan. @jimhuylebroek. MUMBAI An iftar before evening prayers. @lokeatul. DEARBORN The Masjid Al-Salaam mosque in Dearborn, Mich., home to the largest Muslim population in America. @brittanygreeson. ISTANBUL The Suleymaniye Mosque. Turkey has imposed a four-day lockdown in 31 provinces. @taratwphoto. KUALA LUMPUR Housemates breaking fast together in Malaysia. @alexandraradu82. BANGKOK Praying at the Islamic Centre of Thailand a few hours before Ramadan arrived with the sighting of the new moon. @adamjdean. Tap the link in our bio for more images of Ramadan from around the world.
Global coronavirus death toll hits 200,000
Global deaths linked to the coronavirus passed 200,000 on Saturday, while confirmed cases of the virus are expected to hit 3 million in coming days, according to a Reuters tally. More than half of the fatalities have been reported by the United States, Spain and Italy.
The first death linked to the disease was reported on Jan. 10 in Wuhan, China. It took 91 days for the death toll to pass 100,000 and a further 16 days to reach 200,000, according to the Reuters tally of official reports from governments.
Over 21,000 Pakistani expats from Gulf region laid off amid COVID-19 – Zulfi Bukhari
Over 21,000 Pakistani expatriates in the Gulf states have so far lost their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Overseas Pakistanis Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari told Arab News in an exclusive interview on Friday.
“There were media reports that the United Arab Emirates alone had laid off more than 40,000 Pakistani workers after the COVID-19 outbreak which is completely wrong. In reality, 17,743 Pakistanis were laid off amid the coronavirus crisis in the UAE,” he said, adding that 1,245 Pakistani nationals in Saudi Arabia, 691 in Qatar, 600 in Oman, 500 in Kuwait, 387 in Bahrain and 200 in Iraq had been downsized until this week.
Majority of those who want to come back to Pakistan are from the Gulf region. That is the reason we gave 17 flights to the UAE last week, and next week we are expanding flight operation for repatriation from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain & Qatarhttps://t.co/K1wVi3RSI6
— Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis & HRD 🇵🇰 (@mophrd) April 25, 2020
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At a White House #coronavirus briefing on Thursday, President Trump pushed dangerous and unproven theories about treatments, specifically that hitting someone with a “tremendous” beam of light or injecting a household disinfectant into a human body could treat Covid-19. The president later said he didn’t mean the suggestions. But sarcastic or not, his claims are without scientific basis. There is no evidence that sunlight can cure coronavirus in the human body. Same for disinfectant and bleach. So, do not drink bleach. Do not inject disinfectant. And do not believe there is some cure for coronavirus coming from ultraviolet light. Tap the link in our bio to read what numerous studies and medical experts have to say. If you come across someone who has ingested or injected household disinfectants, call the American Association of Poison Control Centers: (800) 222-1222. It’s free, and staffed 24 hours.
Senior doctor dies of Covid-19 in Peshawar
A senior doctor at the Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar has passed away of Covid-19, the hospital’s director Shehzad Faisal has confirmed.
According to the director, Dr Mohammad Javed — who was an ENT specialist — had been diagnosed with the virus a week ago and was on ventilator.
“He had been fighting on the front lines to combat the coronavirus,” the director added.
Facebook upgrades video chat service to target Zoom users
Facebook on Friday unveiled a new video chat service with virtual “rooms” where people can pop in to visit friends, aiming at users turning to the popular Zoom platform during the pandemic.
Through the Facebook Messenger application, users can make video calls that as many as 50 friends can join and linger in as long as they wish, even if they don’t have Facebook accounts, the leading social network said.
Today, we shared a new way to feel directly connected with someone over video — and announced new product updates across @messenger @facebookapp @instagram @whatsapp @facebookgaming and @portalfacebook (🧵) pic.twitter.com/EeVoJMysC6
— Facebook (@Facebook) April 24, 2020
228 more people have recovered from coronavirus in Pakistan
According to the national coronavirus database, 228 more people have recovered from coronavirus in Pakistan.
This takes the total number of recovered patients in the country to 2,755.
FDA warns of risks with Trump-promoted malaria drug
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning doctors against prescribing a malaria drug widely touted by President Donald Trump for treating the new coronavirus outside of hospitals or research settings.
In an alert Friday, regulators flagged reports of serious side effects and death among patients taking hydroxychloroquine and the related drug chloroquine. The drugs, also prescribed for lupus, can cause a number of side effects, including heart rhythm problems, severely low blood pressure and muscle or nerve damage.
In one such report, doctors at a New York hospital said that heart rhythm abnormalities developed in most of the 84 coronavirus patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin, a combo Trump has promoted.
4 more deaths, 167 new cases reported in KP
167 new cases were confirmed today out of which 56 were reported from quarantine centers for international passengers. Total cases in KP stand at 1,708. 4 new deaths were reported taking the tally to 89. 17 new recoveries were reported taking the tally to 477 in KP. pic.twitter.com/VbqOTgJV0Q
— Health Department KP (@HealthKPGovt) April 24, 2020
Nationwide lockdown extended to May 9: Asad Umar
The minister for planning and special initiatives, Asad Umar, in a press briefing has announced an extension in the nationwide lockdown to May 9.
Umar said that testing capacity throughout the country is being ramped up.
The minister said that 5.7 million families have been given monetary aid under the Ehsaas Programme so far.
127 repatriated nationals diagnosed with coronavirus: Murad Ali Shah
127 out of 823 people who have been flown back in the country have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah has revealed.
He said that so far, 840 people have arrived in Pakistan, all of whom have been tested for the virus. The government has so far received the results of 823 people and the rest are awaited.
Spain records lowest number of daily deaths in over a month
Spain has reported 367 new deaths from coronavirus, the lowest daily toll in over a month.
A total of 22,524 people have died from COVID-19 in Spain, amid 219,764 cases.
Lysol maker says don’t inject disinfectant after Trump remarks
Lysol and Dettol maker Reckitt Benckiser has said its disinfectants should not be administered to humans, after US President Donald Trump said researchers should try putting disinfectant into coronavirus patients’ bodies.
“Under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),” the company said.
‘People in Islamabad can consult with PMDC-certified doctors during lockdown using Hello Doctor app’
Opds are closed but now there is no need for you to visit the hospital. With Hello doctor you can talk to the PMDC certified doctors without any charges. Download the Hello doctor app today.
— Deputy Commissioner Islamabad (@dcislamabad) April 24, 2020
Sindh govt decides Ramazan lockdown SOPs
The Sindh government has issued details of lockdown measures that will be taken in the province during the month of Ramazan.
During a meeting chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, it was decided that:
- Businesses will be allowed to open from Monday-Thursday from 9am-3pm
- Grocery shops will remain open from 8am-5pm
- Food delivery will be allowed from 5-10pm
- Food delivery will not be allowed at Sehri time
- Lockdown will be imposed after 5pm
- Ehteram Ramazan Ordinance will be in place
An official notification will be issued by the home ministry regarding the above-decided standard operating procedures.
Railways minister to hold iftar party despite lockdown
Railways Minister Shaikh Rashid invited journalists for an iftar party despite the ongoing lockdown imposed in the country due to the coronavirus.
According to the spokesperson of railways, the party will be held at Railways Mayo garden, adding that social distancing will be maintained during the party. He added that the expenses for the party were being paid by the minister, not from the government budget.
WATCH: CNN’s Anderson Cooper clashes with Las Vegas mayor calling for businesses to reopen
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Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman criticized Anderson Cooper for showing a graphic from Chinese researchers that shows how easily the coronavirus can be spread in public. “This isn’t China. This is Las Vegas, Nevada,” Goodman said, prompting a stunned Cooper to respond: “Wow. OK, that’s really ignorant.” Goodman has repeatedly called for the city’s businesses to reopen, including casinos, while refusing to provide any social distancing guidelines on how to do so safely.
Experts react with horror to Trump disinfectant idea
Doctors and epidemiologists have reacted with alarm to comments from US President Donald Trump that injecting disinfectant and exposure to ultraviolet rays could help people with the coronavirus.
“Trump is absolutely wrong and irresponsible,” Dr Eugene Gu, whose laboratory is involved in coronavirus testing, wrote on Twitter, adding “Clorox, Tide Pods and Lysol will kill coronavirus. No question about it. But if you are infected then the coronavirus is inside your cells. If you use any of those disinfectants to kill the coronavirus in your own cells then you’ll die right along with the coronavirus.”
Sindh reports 274 new cases
The following information is relevant to assess the situation of #COVIDー19 in Sindh as of 24th April at 8 AM:
Total Tests 35589 (today 2561)
Positive Cases 3945 (today 274)
Recovered Cases 772
In the last 24 hours, 42 people have recovered from corona in Sindh
— SenatorMurtaza Wahab (@murtazawahab1) April 24, 2020
Prices of goods being monitored: Hammad Azhar
The prices of goods are being monitored. The government has a zero tolerance policy on hoarding, cartelisation or violation of SOPs by industries/commercial entitites that have been allowed to operate under the present circumstances.
— Hammad Azhar (@Hammad_Azhar) April 24, 2020
US has one of deadliest days for coronavirus: AlJazeera
At least 3,332 more people died in the US from the coronavirus in 24 hours, bringing the death toll to nearly 50,000.
The US, the worst-hit country in the world, now has 868,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, up 27,000 from the previous day. Because of a lack of testing, the actual number of infections is likely to be much higher.
Graph shows air quality in Pakistani cities drastically improving following lockdowns
UK PM Johnson in ‘incredible’ shape after COVID-19, Trump says
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in ‘incredible’ shape after falling gravely ill with COVID-19, U.S. President Donald Trump said, as speculation mounted that the British leader is preparing to return to work to decide how to lift the lockdown.
Johnson, 55, spent three nights in intensive care at a London hospital earlier this month with COVID-19 complications for which he was treated with oxygen. He later said he owed his life to the hospital staff.
Social distancing being strictly enforced at cash distribution sites: Sania Nishtar
— Sania Nishtar (@SaniaNishtar) April 24, 2020
Air traffic before and after European countries went into lockdown
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These animated graphics released by an international aviation organisation show the dramatic impact lockdowns have had on air travel. Eurocontrol, which manages flight networks across Europe, said the continent's largest airports had 90% fewer flights compared with April last year.
Too early to say anything: Zafar Mirza on trials of Chinese vaccine in Pakistan
About vaccine for COVID-19: Pakistan is approached by Chinese company for possible trails. We have asked for more info which we will evaluate through relevant experts from safety, ethics, regulation & feasibility perspectives before deciding. Too early to say anything! <290>
— Zafar Mirza (@zfrmrza) April 24, 2020
Hundreds gather in Indonesia’s Aceh to mark start of Ramadan
Huge crowds ignored social distancing by packing close together to attend Friday prayers in Indonesia, as the country surpassed the Philippines for the most coronavirus infections in South-East Asia.
The worshippers were pictured at the Islamic Center mosque in Lhokseumawe, Aceh province, the northernmost part of the island of Sumatra.
The Acehnese Muslims – who are native to Aceh- were seen close together as they stood alongside each other before kneeling down to pray. Very few were wearing masks, despite the infection fears.
US coronavirus deaths top 50,000
US coronavirus deaths hit another grim milestone on Friday topping 50,000, as the number of lives lost in April rises by an average of 2,000 a day, according to the Worldometers website, which tracks the pandemic.
The Johns Hopkins website also showed the death toll inching closer to 50,000. The total number of US cases hit 868,000 with many states yet to report early on Friday.
Trump suggests injecting disinfectant as treatment
US President Donald Trump has been lambasted by the medical community after suggesting research into whether coronavirus might be treated by injecting disinfectant into the body.
He also appeared to propose irradiating patients’ bodies with UV light, an idea dismissed by a doctor at the briefing.
Another of his officials had moments earlier said sunlight and disinfectant were known to kill the infection. Mr Trump’s own public health agencies warn against bleach as a medicine.
Alarmed as COVID patients’ blood thickened, New York doctors try new treatments
As the novel coronavirus spread through New York City in late March, doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital noticed something strange happening to patients’ blood.
Signs of blood thickening and clotting were being detected in different organs by doctors from different specialties. This would turn out to be one of the alarming ways the virus ravages the body, as doctors there and elsewhere were starting to realise.
At Mount Sinai, nephrologists noticed kidney dialysis catheters getting plugged with clots. Pulmonologists monitoring COVID-19 patients on mechanical ventilators could see portions of lungs were oddly bloodless. Neurosurgeons confronted a surge in their usual caseload of strokes due to blood clots, the age of victims skewing younger, with at least half testing positive for the virus.
Situation Report: 642 new cases, 13 deaths recorded in 24 hours
National Command and Operation Center has said that Pakistan reported a total of 642 new cases yesterday, down from 742 new cases from a day earlier. Sindh reported highest number of cases with 298 positive coronavirus patients during the report period.
Similarly the country saw 13 new coronavirus related deaths during past 24 hours, down from 15 deaths reported the earlier day.
Number of patients in ICU or on ventilator increased to 111, up from 60 patients reported a day ago. This sudden spike is caused after data was reconciled with Covid-19 control room and District Administration Islamabad.
Read full report here.
MPA Abdul Rasheed tests positive for coronavirus, isolates at home
Member of the Provincial Assembly from Sindh, Syed Abdul Rasheed, on Friday tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a statement released by his political party, the Jamat-e-Islami.
A spokesperson for the party told the media on Friday morning that Rasheed was tested for the virus at a private hospital in Karachi and after the positive diagnosis, isolated himself at home.
Trump assures Pakistan of medical, economic aid
In a telephonic conversation on Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Trump discussed the coronavirus pandemic-related challenges, their implications on the global economy and the ways to mitigate the impact.
The US president appreciated the prime minister’s telephone call and expression of support for the US efforts to combat Covid-19. Having learned about testing of Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Trump offered to send the latest rapid testing machine for Covid-19 to the prime minister. The prime minister thanked President Trump for the gesture.
5 deaths, 61 new cases reported in Punjab
115 more #COVID19 patients have recovered in Punjab taking total number of recoveries to 905 Alhamdulillah.
Tests conducted so far: 67,882
Total Positive cases: 4,767
— Usman Buzdar (@UsmanAKBuzdar) April 23, 2020
KP reports 2 deaths, 88 new cases
88 new cases confirmed today taking the total provincial tally to 1,541. 31 of the new cases were confirmed from our quarantine centers for Torkham and international flight returnees. 2 new deaths were reported taking tally to 85. 41 new recoveries, taking the tally to 455. pic.twitter.com/NW86ZNELEg
— Health Department KP (@HealthKPGovt) April 23, 2020
Saudi Arabia announces Ramadan starts Friday amid virus fears
Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest shrines, has announced that the holy fasting month of Ramadan will start Friday, as Muslims worldwide face unprecedented restrictions to counter coronavirus.
“Based on the sighting of the new month’s moon … it has been decided that Friday is the start of the month of Ramadan,” the royal court said Thursday in a statement cited by the SPA news agency.
King Salman said he is saddened that Muslims cannot pray at mosques because of coronavirus restrictions.
For our coronavirus coverage from April 23, click here.