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Coronavirus Cases in Pakistan Double Crossing 200 Mark: Live Updates

As more coronavirus cases are testing positive, that have more than doubled in just past 24 hours, the federal and provincial governments are fast becoming the target of mass criticism for the measures that were in place, despite an early warning and examples from other countries we had in advance.
Governments (both provincial and central) argue that these cases are mostly foreign returners and toll has risen rapidly only because results of clinical tests are now becoming available.
Not to mention, majority — more than two third of — cases are those who returned from Iran, while there are also cases that were Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Syria returners.
Despite all these new cases, no major lock-down is announced, for any of the cities in the country. However, with rising cases, a mass-scale lock-down seems imminent.
Here are the latest updates on coronavirus for the day:
11.00 PM

Saudi Arabia Suspends Prayers at Mosques to Stop Spread of Coronavirus

Saudi Arabia will be suspending all Friday and other main prayers at mosques across the Kingdom as part of efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Saudi Press Agency reports.
The only prayers permitted to continue outside the home will be at the Two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina, according to SPA’s report.
10.00 PM

‘Ghabrana Nahi Hai’ – Imran Khan Addresses the Nation

PM Imran Khan addressed the nation on coronavirus spread as the disease has affected 237 people in Pakistan so far with the numbers increasing significantly by the day. Here’s a summary of what he said:
  • This virus is a type of flu and what sets it apart is that it spreads very quickly; but 97% of the people survive
  • National shutdown in Pakistan is not possible as our situation is not the same as that of the US or Europe
  • Coronavirus will spread further and even developed countries have not been able to curb the COVID-19
  • An economic committee will be formed to review the effects the COVID-19 crisis will have on the economy
  • The government suspects that an artificial shortage of basic commodities will be created causing prices to shoot
  • People must not panic and should take precautions to prevent the virus from spreading
9.30 PM

Abbottabad Reports New Positive; KP Tally Now At 16

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Taimur Salim Jhagra has announced that a new positive case has been confirmed in Abbottabad.
He added that the new victim, who had a recent travel history to the UK, was kept in home quarantine since he showed no symptoms.
10.00 PM

CAIEs Postponed: Saeed Ghani

Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani has announced that Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIEs) examinations scheduled to be held in May/June will be postponed on the basis of a meeting held today.
He added in his tweet that an official announcement on the matter will also come from Cambridge, which is still awaited.
9.30 PM

Baluchistan Coronavirus Total Now At 16 With 6 New COVID-19 Cases

Balochistan government spokesman Liaquat Ali Shahwani has informed that six new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Quetta. This brings the province total to 16 so far.
Shahwani added that the affected individuals were under treatment at the Sheikh Zayed Hospital.
9.00 PM

18 New Cases Take Punjab Tally to 26

According to Punjab CM Usman Buzdar, confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province have risen to 26.
“We are testing all the suspected patients and 736 zaireen quarantined in DG Khan. 1,276 zaireen coming from Taftan will also be quarantined,” he added.
8.00 PM

International Flight Operations to Resume at All Major Airports in Pakistan From March 21: CAA

The government has announced that it would be resuming international flight operations from all major airports across Pakistan except for Gwadar and Turbat.
The announcement comes only days after the National Security Committee (NSC) restricted international flight operations to Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore airports only.
“However, the decision has been reviewed and from March 21, all airports other than Gwadar and Turbat will resume such operations,” said Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar at a news conference.
All major airports are now reportedly equipped with necessary infrastructure and resources for proper screening of passengers for the novel coronavirus.
Moreover, all international travelers arriving in Pakistan will be required to provide a copy of test results for COVID-19 conducted during the 24 hours prior to boarding the flight.
07.30 PM

Sindh Shuts Down Malls, Restaurants, and more for 15 Days

The Sindh provincial government has decided to shut down shopping malls and restaurants for the next 15 days.
Section 144 has been imposed on beaches & parks.
Government offices will also be shut down by Thursday and inter-city bus services will be suspended as well.
Shopping stores, grocery stores,  fish and chicken markets & chemists will remain open.
6.50 PM

All Foreign Passengers Must Present Coronavirus Test Results Before Entering Pakistan: CAA

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority has announced that it will be requiring all foreign passengers to present their coronavirus test results before making entry into Pakistan.
The reports must contain the passenger’s name and passport number, in addition to having been performed within the 24 hours of the travel.
The directive will go into effect starting March 21 and all airlines have already been notified accordingly.
6.30 PM

Pakistan Coronavirus Total Jumps To 212 with New Sindh Cases

As COVID-19 positive cases balloon to 172 in Sindh alone, the Pakistan tally has reached a grand total of at least 212.
Murtaza Wahab, Adviser to Chief Minister of Sindh on Law, Anti-Corruption Establishment, and Information, shared the latest figures in a tweet.
5.00 PM

No Coronavirus Death in Pakistan

The patient who lost his life in Lahore’s Mayo Hospital earlier today was not a coronavirus patient, it is learned.
Punjab CM Usman Buzdar announced in a tweet that the test reports of Imran Ali, the suspected COVID-19 patient, had arrived confirming that he was not suffering from the disease.
4.15 PM

CAA Defers Consultation on Closure of Nighttime Flight Operations

The Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan has decided to postpone the deliberative/consultative process to implement a shutdown of nighttime flight operations.
The decision has been made in view of the COVID-19 epidemic and its negative impact on the aviation industry that has resulted in a drastic decline in demand for air travel.
3.30 PM

Train Passengers to be Screened for Coronavirus – Pakistan Railways

Pakistan Railways spokesperson has informed that travelers are being screened for COVID-19 using thermal scanners at all entry and exit routes at Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan, Karachi, Rohri and Quetta railway stations.
He also said that doctors and paramedical staff have been deployed on all stations for improved screening and detection.
3.25 PM

Unicef Cautions Public Against Misinformation Attributed to It

Unicef has warned people to beware of the fake message attributed to it that’s doing rounds on social media.
The organization has advised people to only rely on its official platforms for authentic information.
3.15 PM

Bachat Bazaars Banned  In Karachi

Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar has banned all bachat bazaars across the city in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.
A recent notification issued by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation said that the mayor of Karachi has directed for the stoppage of all bachat bazaars and festivals that fall under KMC’s jurisdiction.
3.00 PM

GB Lab to Test Coronavirus Suspects Now Operational

In Gilgit-Baltistan, the laboratory established by the Federal Government to test coronavirus suspects has been made operational.
Secretary Health Rashid Ali told our Gilgit correspondent on Tuesday that Federal Government has also provided kits.
Source: Radio Pakistan
2.45 PM

PM Imran Khan to Address Nation Over Coronavirus

Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to address the nation on the coronavirus situation in the country.
He will take people in confidence over the government’s measures to curtail the virus spread and advise people on how to fight the outbreak together.
1.45 PM

All Broadcasters to Undergo Coronavirus Tests as Alex Hales Shows Symptoms – Ramiz Raja

Ramiz Raja has revealed that since Alex Hales – the English Cricketer who was a part of the Karachi Kings squad – was showing coronavirus symptoms, all broadcasters might undergo the COVID-19 test.
Alex Hales was among the other foreign players who withdrew from Pakistan Super League (PSL) and returned to their country after a sudden surge in coronavirus cases in Pakistan. As he returned home, Alex had announced that he was going into ‘self-isolation’.
1.15 PM

Five New Coronavirus Cases Reported In Punjab

At least five new COVID-19 cases have emerged in Punjab, taking the province’s tally to 6 so far.
Punjab CM confirmed the development in a tweet adding the province was providing the ‘best possible’ medical facilities to the suspected patients and Zaireen.
12:57 PM

“Because Of the Effects of the Economic Slowdown, My Worry Is Poverty and Hunger” – Imran Khan

PM Imran Khan has said that he fears the new coronavirus will devastate third-world economies.
12:55 PM

5 New COVID-19 Cases in Sindh Take Provincial Tally To 155

Senator Murtaza Wahab, in his latest COVID-19 updates, has revealed that 5 new coronavirus cases have emerged in Sindh.
This takes the provincial coronavirus tally to 155. Out of the total 234 tests performed on pilrims returning from Taftan quarantine, 119 have tested positive so far.
12:50 PM

Corporate Sector Resort to “Work from Home” Policy

Corporations across the country are adopting “work from home” policy to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Below is the list of companies that have started work from home.
  • Reckitt Benckiser
  • Unilever (from Tuesday)
  • Engro
  • PnG
  • Byco
  • ProPakistani.PK
  • Total Parco
  • Loreal
  • Phillip Morris International
  • Careem
  • Lals Chocolates
  • Sino Sindh Resources Pvt. Limited
  • Shanghai Electric
  • IRD Pakistan
  • Nielson
  • Telenor
  • Daraz (partially)
  • Taskeen Health Initiative
  • Alkaram
  • TPS
  • Zak technologies (Islamabad)
  • MPCl
  • MOL
  • Transworld Associates Pvt. Ltd.
  • Zindagi Trust
  • The Digital Factory
  • GSK (optional)
  • 10Pearls
  • Folio3
  • Qinvest Qatar
  • Airlift
  • Sasta Ticket
  • Eli Lilly
  • Rohde and Schwarz
  • Nokia
  • Cybernet
  • Dani & Dani Advocates & Legal Consultants
  • Kiran Foundation
  • Netsol Technologies (Lahore)
  • AzCorp Entertainment
  • Davaam (Optional)
  • Art Now Pakistan
  • Jazz
  • Empact Activation Services (optional)
  • Nestle
  • Mc Kinsey
  • Akhund Forbes
  • Sekurus International
  • DKT Internationa
12:45 PM

Suspected Coronavirus Patient Dies in Lahore

A suspected coronavirus patient died in Lahore’s Mayo Hospital, the CEO has confirmed.
50 year old had returned from Muscat and was brought to hospital from Wazirabad last night.
Patient wasn’t tested for the virus but had symptoms, such as difficulty in breathing and high-grade fever.
12:45 PM

Social Media Companies Issue Joint Statement on Coronavirus

world’s biggest social media platforms has come together to address the situation through a joint statement.
This group of social media giants includes Facebook, Google, Linkedin, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube, and they are also inviting more companies to join them.
Here’s the statement:
12:40 PM

Foreign Affairs Ministry Halts Walk-in Council Services

Foreign Affairs has said that its halting walk-in council services at Foreign Office in Islamabad. Services are suspended immediately for at least two weeks.
11.55 PM

Breaking: PCB Cancels PSL 2020 Semi-Final & Final Matches

The 5th edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) has been called off amid fears of coronavirus with only three matches to go.
As per the initial reports, the league has been postponed for an indefinite period, however, it is unlikely that the remaining matches will take place anytime soon.
Earlier, the PSL schedule was tweaked to slash off 4 days by introducing semi-finals for the first time instead of play-offs.
Read the full story here.
11.45 AM

No Locally Transmitted Coronavirus Case in KP Yet: Ajmal Wazir

KP government has said that there’s no locally transmitted coronavirus case in the province yet. All 15 positive tested cased came from Taftan and they were quarantined in DI Khan.
He further said that another 225 Iran-returners are going to reach DI Khan quarantine soon and they will also be tested for the coronavirus.
He emphasized that the provincial government is proactively monitoring the situation and is thoroughly tracing all possible cases in the province.
11.00 PM

Australia Suspends Professional Cricket at All Levels

All professional cricket has been canceled in Australia in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and national organizers are “strongly recommending” that the remainder of the season be called off at all levels — right down to children’s community games.
Cricket Australia announced the cancellation of the Marsh Sheffield Shield final and recommended that all cricket played within the community is ceased for the remainder of the 2019/20 season in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
10.50 AM

Traveling? Take These Precautions to Stay Safe.

The COVID-19 situation is worsening by the day and Pakistan has reported at least 186 confirmed cases to date. Countries are resorting to extreme measures that include national level shutdowns in many instances.
Travel in such a crisis situation is highly discouraged. Instead, people are advised to stay indoors and practice social distancing until the COVID-19 curve flattens.
But, if your travel is inevitable, we recommend some precautions that you must take during travel to stay safe. Read the tips here.
9.30 AM

SAT and ACT College Tests Canceled Because of Virus Fears

The College Board, the organization behind the college placement exam, announced on Monday that it would no longer administer the test in May amid coronavirus concerns.
“The College Board will remain focused on student safety and ensuring all students have the tools they need to work, and opportunities to receive the credit they have earned, during this challenging time,” it said in its statement.
The ACT, which also administers college placement exams in the US, announced similar measures regarding its April test.
“The safety of students and test center staff is ACT’s top priority. ACT has rescheduled its April 4 national test date to June 13 across the U.S. in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus,” the ACT said in a statement.
9.20 AM

UAE Suspends Prayer in Mosques and All Houses of Worship

UAE’s state news agency WAM reported that the country has suspended prayer in mosques and all other houses of worship across all emirates for four weeks starting March 16.
The move comes as a part of the country’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. The country has reported 98 coronavirus positives to date with 23 recoveries.
9.00 AM

China Extends COVID-19 Assistance to Pakistan

Quoting the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing, China Global Television Network (CGTN) has revealed that the country has sent Pakistan emergency kits for COVID-19 prevention.
These include 12,000 test kits, 300,000 masks, 10,000 protective suits, and also an aid of USD 4 million to build hospitals.
3:10 AM

Outbreak in Numbers

  • Total Coronavirus cases: 182,726
  • Deaths: 7,174
  • Recovered: 79,883
  • Top Countries with coronavirus cases: (Cases / Deaths)
    • China: 80,881 / 3,226
    • Italy: 27,980 / 2,158
    • Iran: 14,991 / 853
    • Spain: 9.942 / 342
    • South Korea: 8,320 / 81
    • Germany: 7,272 / 17
    • France: 6,633 / 148
    • USA: 4,727 / 93
    • Switzerland: 2,353 / 19
    • UK: 1,543 / 55
2:30 AM

Europe, US Prepare for Large Scale Lock-Down

Europe, the epicenter of conronavirus epidemic is set to brace for a continent wide lock-down, with five states announcing the closure of borders.
French President Emmanuel Macron ordered a nationwide lockdown, starting on Tuesday at midday and lasting for at least two weeks. Anyone breaking the quarantine could be punished, the France has said.
The European Union, as a whole, will close its borders for 30 days from tomorrow to external visitors from non-EU countries.
Similarly, Germany has announced more stringent measures that will close most shops, venues, and closed borders with several neighbouring countries.
Switzerland declared a national emergency, closing public venues and borders.
In US, President Trump has for the first time agreed that coronavirus situation in the country is bad, and not in control.
He said that people should avoid meeting in groups of more than 10, but that a nationwide quarantine is not yet planned
Trump said that outbreak will last “until July or August, or perhaps longer”, that plunged the stocks with double digit decline.
New York Mayor has said that state is considering everything, including curfew.
12:30 AM

“Our message is: test, test, test”, WHO Chief

World Health Organisation head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that there has not been enough testing of COVID-19, isolation and contact tracing, which should be the “backbone” of the global response.
He said it is not possible to “fight a fire blindfolded”, and social distancing measures and hand-washing will not alone extinguish the epidemic.
More on this here.

To read our coverage of coronavirus from March 16th, click here.

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