Top Pakistani civil and military leadership to take important decisions regarding coronavirus pandemic in today’s NSC meeting
The number of confirmed cases in Pakistan of COVID-19 has risen to 21 after Sindh reported its 15th patient on Friday.
Karachi has been the worst affected city so far, with 15 of the total confirmed cases. Of the remaining, three cases have been reported in Gilgit-Baltistan and one case has been reported each in Islamabad, Hyderabad and Quetta.
More than 4,900 people have died and more than 131,500 are infected globally from COVID-19.
Read on for live updates on what’s happening in Pakistan and around the world.
11:40am – Coronavirus declared as ‘epidemic’ in Delhi
The Delhi government on Thursday declared coronavirus an epidemic and ordered closure of schools, colleges, cinema halls till 31st March.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal announced these measures while talking to media.
11:10am – Coronavirus deaths rise to 4,970 worldwide
About 134,530 people have been infected by the coronavirus across the world and 4,970 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Infections outside China have been reported by 125 countries.
Trinidad and Tobago as well as Ghana reported their first cases, while Algeria, Azerbaijan, Greece, India, Norway and Poland had their first fatalities.
10:45am – President Arif Alvi ‘to visit China soon’
President Arif Alvi will visit China soon, a lawyer representing the government informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday.
During hearing of a case pertaining to the Pakistanis stuck in China, director general foreign ministry shared that those Pakistani nationals trapped in Wuhan will be compensated.
“The president will visit China soon,” lawyer told the IHC. However, the foreign ministry official said that it is not finalised yet.
10:00am – Sindh confirms one more coronavirus case
The health authorities in Sindh confirmed one more coronavirus case in the province on Friday.
09:45am – Chinese CG lauds Sindh govt for extending schools closure
Consul General of China to Karachi Li Bijian on Friday lauded the Sindh government for extending closure of educational institutions in the province.
“Great decisions by #CM Murad and his team for continuing #PSL matches without spectaculars and the schools remaining closed till May 30,” he said.
“It is always commendable that Governments putting people first. Well done, government of #Sindh!”
Earlier this week, Bijian had suggested the provincial authorities to not open schools and extend the closure to contain the coronavirus epidemic.
09:30am – PSL matches without spectators: PCB to suffer losses
The Pakistan Cricket Board is likely to incur losses of around 100 million PKR for having Pakistan Super League matches in Karachi behind closed doors.
The PCB, on Thursday, had announced to hold remaining PSL matches without spectators in National Stadium as a precautionary measure to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
The Pakistan Cricket Board was expecting an income of over 100 million rupees from these games in terms of ticket sales and hospitality boxes deals.
09:18am – Pakistani Marine Academy closed till May 31
Pakistani Marine Academy will remain closed till May 31, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi said.
Zaidi said that all classes will now be conducted online
The announcement came after the Sindh government decided to extend closure of educational institutions in the province.
09:05am – 1,500 more discharged from quarantine center in Taftan
1,500 pilgrims who have completed their quarantine period have been discharged from Pakistan House, Levies officials said on Friday.
According to officials, they were at the quarantine center for the last 15 days and were allowed to go home after complete screening and monitoring.
Pilgrims from Iran are being kept at the quarantine centers established at the border for monitoring.
08:45am – National Security Council meeting today on coronavirus
Prime Minister Imran Khan has convened a meeting of National Security Council (NSC) today to discuss Pakistan’s response to the spread of COVID-19.
According to Geo News, the NSC is expected to decide on declaring health emergency in the country.
Top civil and military leadership will also review the measures taken at the borders and take important decisions on national response to global epidemic.
Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah has also been invited to attend the meeting, a spokesperson confirmed.
08:25am – General Bajwa directs army’s full support to national effort
The 230th corps commanders conference on Thursday discussed the latest coronavirus situation and preventive measures taken at the army level.
Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa chaired the conference at the General Headquarters (GHQ). The COAS directed all concerned to contribute to the national effort to counter the pandemic in case of any eventuality.
The conference also reviewed operational preparedness, situation along the Line of Control (LoC), geostrategic environment and national and regional security situation with particular emphasis on the Afghan peace process.
General Bajwa observed that the path to regional stability in the region passed through Afghanistan. “Collaborative approach and patience can help overcome all challenges for which Pakistan is ready to play its part with utmost sincerity,” he emphasized.
08:15am – Coronavirus Helpline in Pakistan
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza has reminded everyone that the ministry of health has set up a special helpline, 1166, for people to call in and discuss any concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.
The minister held a meeting in Islamabad to review the situation in the country along with provincial chief ministers, chief secretaries, health ministers, and health secretaries, who tuned in via video link.
08:00am – Coronavirus conference cancelled due to coronavirus
NEW YORK: A business conference focusing on coronavirus has reportedly been cancelled to avoid spreading the virus.
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) was due to hold a roundtable titled “Doing Business Under Coronavirus” on Friday, but decided to cancel it amid fears that it could lead to a spread of the deadly bug, Bloomberg News reported. The CFR also cancelled other conferences scheduled between 11 March and 3 April around the US, reports said.
According to Bloomberg, the CFR’s “Doing Business Under Coronavirus” conference joins a growing list of cancelled or postponed events in New York state, which holds the largest cluster of cases in the US.
The think tank’s website carried a statement reading: “There are currently no upcoming events. Please check back soon for new events.” The Independent has contacted CFR for comment.
11:35pm/March 12 – WHO Country Representative visits Karachi airport, expresses satisfaction
World Health Organisation’s Country Representative in Pakistan, Dr Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala, has reviewed arrangements for coronavirus screening at the Jinnah International Airport and expressed his satisfaction.
“I have spent almost an hour at the Karachi International Airport and I’m quite satisfied with the screening arrangements at the airport. There are two setups for screening and they are quite satisfactory. I have given some suggestions to authorities but overall I’m satisfied with the arrangements”, Dr. Palitha said while talking to The News on Thursday.
11:10pm/March 12 – Sindh’s educational institutions to remain closed till May 31
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has announced that educational institutes will remain closed till May 31 over coronavirus concerns.
The decision came in a special cabinet meeting on Thursday at 10 pm.
The extended holidays will be considered summer vacation.
Senator Murtaza Wahab confirmed that schools will reopen on June 1.
11:05pm/March 12 – India announces first coronavirus death
A 76-year-old man who recently died tested positive for the novel coronavirus, an India state health minister reported on Thursday, marking the country´s first fatality from the virus.
The man “has been Confirmed for #COVID19. The necessary contact tracing, isolation & other measures as per protocol are being carried out,” B Sriramulu, health minister for Karnataka state, wrote on Twitter.
10:50pm/March 12 – 5,000-10,000 people ‘likely’ have COVID-19 in UK: govt
Britain has said up to 10,000 people in the UK could be infected with the novel coronavirus, as it announced new measures to slow the spread of the outbreak, AFP reported.
Government chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance said there were currently 590 confirmed cases but it was “much more likely we´ve got somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 people infected”.
Britain was “about four weeks” behind the level of cases currently seen in Italy and other worst-hit countries in Europe, he added.
Vallance was speaking after Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the outbreak, which has so far killed 10 people in Britain, “the worst public health crisis for a generation” and warned it would get worse.
“Many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time,” he told a news conference at his Downing Street office.