Corona is Pakistan's biggest challenge, says Sarwar
Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar said that the coronavirus outbreak is the biggest challenge Pakistan has faced.
Speaking to the media, the governor said: "The only way to solve it, is by staying at home. That is why we have established a separate helpline (0304 1112101) so that citizens do not have to step outside their homes for medical advice."
Pakistan Science Foundation invites research proposals on Covid-19
Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Hussain Chaudhry has announced that the Pakistan Science Foundation is inviting research proposals on Covid-19. He encouraged universities and researchers to submit proposals.
Human rights ministry stresses 'urgent need' to release sick prisoners
The Ministry of Human Rights has requested the Attorney General to submit a brief on the "urgent need" to release sick prisoners to the Supreme Court citing prison conditions, as a precautionary measure to control the spread of Covid-19.
The brief also calls for the release of prisoners with underlying health conditions, those entitled to bail under non-prohibitory clause and under-trial prisoners.
China's coronavirus numbers seem 'on the light side', says Trump
United States President Donald Trump has said that the coronavirus statistics China was reporting seemed “a little bit on the light side”, while his national security adviser said Washington had no way of knowing if Beijing's figures were accurate, Reuters reported.
During a daily briefing by his coronavirus task force, Trump said: "The numbers seem to be a little bit on the light side — and I am being nice when I say that — relative to what we witnessed and what was reported.”
Israel's health minister tests positive, 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, AP reported.
Health minister Yaakov Litzman and his wife, who also contracted the virus, are in isolation, feel well and are being treated, read a statement from the health ministry.
Shortly after the announcement, the prime minister's office said Netanyahu returned to self-quarantine because of his contact with Litzman.
Infection rate steepens as India searches for 9,000 exposed to Delhi cluster
India has reported its biggest single-day increase in coronavirus cases as officials raced to track down some 9,000 people exposed to the country's biggest infection cluster during a Muslim missionary group's gathering in the capital last month, according to Reuters.
The number of cases jumped on wednesday fuelled by infections among people who either attended prayers and lectures at the Tableeghi Jamaat's headquarters in a packed densely-packed Delhi neighbourhood or came into contact with them later. A government official said about 9,000 people were unaccounted for, of which 2,000 were identified as officials of the Tableeghi and the rest were described as primary contacts.
Under pressure, British PM vows 'massive' increase in testing
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to ramp up testing for coronavirus after his government faced criticism for being slower than some European peers to roll out mass checks for frontline health workers and the population, Reuters reported.
"We're also massively increasing testing,” Johnson said in a video message from a flat in Downing Street where he is self-isolating after testing positive himself.
Spain sheds nearly 900,000 jobs since coronavirus lockdown
Spain has shed close to 900,000 jobs, more than half of them temporary, since it went into lockdown in mid-March to fight the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported.
Social security data showed that 898,822 Spaniards have now lost their jobs since the start of the lockdown, including around 550,000 temporary workers.
The number of people officially registered as unemployed in Spain rose to 3.5 million in March, the highest level since April 2017. That data does not include all the new job losses as not all workers officially registered as unemployed.
Spain has the world's second highest death toll from the disease after Italy.
Cambridge International outlines criteria for grading candidates
Cambridge International has issued a statement regarding the criteria under which they will grade candidates that were supposed to appear for the May/June 2020 exam series that has since been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"The decision on grades to be awarded to candidates will be made by Cambridge, using our own evidence combined with evidence from schools," the statement read.
The types of evidence that Cambridge will be looking at include:
Millions of messages received for Ehsaas cash grant: PM's aide
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar said the government has started receiving millions of text messages on 8171 for the cash grant allocated under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme.
According to Radio Pakistan, those eligible for the grant will be able to withdraw the money by next week (Wednesday).
The PM's aide stated this programme has been launched for those facing financial problems due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Tableeghi Jamaat member dies of coronavirus in Sindh
Sindh has recorded another death from the novel coronavirus, Meeran Yousuf, media coordinator to the health and population welfare minister confirmed.
The 65-year-old patient was a resident of Tando Mohammad Khan and was a member of the Tableeghi Jamaat. He was brought to a hospital in Hyderabad on March 28, where he tested positive and was being treated.
According to Yousuf, the patient had Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and was on a ventilator.
Virus data: What’s known and not known about China’s numbers
Skepticism about China’s numbers has swirled throughout the crisis, fueled by official efforts to quash bad news in the early days and a general distrust of the government. Long lines of people waiting to collect the ashes of loved ones at funeral homes last week revived the debate.
There is no smoking gun pointing to a cover-up by China’s ruling Communist Party. But intentional or not, there is reason to believe that more people died of COVID-19 than the official tally, which stood at 3,312 at the end of Tuesday. The same applies to the 81,554 confirmed cases, now exceeded by the US, Italy and Spain.
Lack of policy on Covid-19 troubling, says PML-N leader
PML-N leader Marriyum Aurangzeb said that not having a clear government policy while coronavirus cases continue to increase steadily is troubling.
In a statement, she said: "Clear standard operating procedures need to be established for testing and screening patients. There needs to be a proper system regarding the medical aspects of the coronavirus implemented at a national level."
Australia begins pre-clinical testing for coronavirus vaccine
Australia's national science agency has said 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 of testing would take around three months, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Health Director Rob Grenfell told Reuters, adding that any resulting vaccine would not be available to the public before late next year.
“Were still sticking to the optimistic 18 months for delivery of vaccine to the general consumers,” Grenfell said. "There's a lot of technical challenges that were having to go through.”
Punjab has conducted nearly 15,000 Covid-19 tests — why are other provinces lagging behind?
The infographic below shows the number of confirmed cases in each province and region, and the tests carried out there until March 31. The data for this information has been obtained from the National Institute of Health (NIH) for Islamabad and situation reports released by the respective provincial health departments.
For more on the status of testing across the four provinces, Islamabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan, click here.
North Korea remains totally free of the coronavirus, a senior health official in Pyongyang has insisted, despite mounting scepticism overseas as confirmed global infections near one million, according to AFP.
The already isolated North quickly shut down its borders in January after the virus was first detected in neighbouring China, and imposed strict containment measures.
Pak Myong Su, director of the anti-epidemic department, said: "We have carried out preemptive and scientific measures such as inspections and quarantine for all personnel entering our country and thoroughly disinfecting all goods, as well as closing borders and blocking sea and air lanes."
Provincial govts must act in national interest, says Jhagra
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health minister Taimur Jhagra has said that out of the 121 pilgrims that came to the province from the Pakistan-Iran border at Taftan, several were from Punjab, Sindh and Islamabad. Despite this, the KP government acted in national interest and did not abandon them.
"We kept these people from Islamabad, Pindi, Karachi, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Jhang and Mandi Bahauddin because it was the right thing to do, despite our limited space and facilities. Because once here transporting them back would have exposed many other people across Pakistan to risk," he said in a tweet.
In this crisis, governments may not be able to fix the issues that have built up over 72 years, but we owe it to each other and to this country to act in national interest, not just in self-interest, he said.
Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa has called for national unity in the fight against Covid-19 as the Commander of Army’s Air Defence Command, Lt Gen Hamood Uz Zaman Khan, was designated as convener of the newly-established National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).
“The Commander of Army Air Defence Command, Lieutenant General Hamood Uz Zaman Khan, has been designated as chief coordinator of NCOC,” ISPR said in a statement.
The decision to set up the NCOC was taken a few days ago at a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC), the government’s lead agency in the anti-Covid-19 campaign. The NCOC would act as the implementation arm of the NCC.
Most Americans huddle indoors as coronavirus deaths keep spiking
Four new states have imposed sweeping stay-at-home directives in response to the coronavirus pandemic, putting over 80 per cent of Americans under lockdown as the number of deaths in the United States nearly doubled in three days.
The governors of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Nevada each instituted the strict policies on a day when the death toll from COVID-19 shot up by 925 to more than 4,800 nationwide, with 214,000 confirmed cases, according to a Reuters tally.
President Donald Trump said he saw no need for the federal government to issue a nationwide decree, with 39 states and the District of Columbia now requiring residents to stay home except for essential outings to the doctor or grocery store.
A six-week-old infant is believed to be the youngest patient to die from the coronavirus, Connecticut's governor has said.
Governor Ned Lamont tweeted that the newborn was “brought unresponsive to a hospital late last week and could not be revived”.
“Testing confirmed last night that the newborn was Covid-19 positive,” Lamont said. “This is absolutely heartbreaking. We believe this is one of the youngest lives lost anywhere due to complications relating to Covid-19.”