Coronavirus updates, April 15: Latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from Pakistan and around the world

KARACHI / LAHORE / ISLAMABAD / PESHAWAR / QUETTA: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 6,253 on Wednesday after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The province-wise break up of the total number of cases as of 9:15pm, April 15, is as follows:

Total confirmed cases: 6,253

• Sindh: 1,668

• Punjab: 3,016

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 865

• Balochistan: 281

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 140

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 237

• AJK: 46

Deaths: 113

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 38

• Sindh: 41

• Balochistan: 2

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 3

• Punjab: 28

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 1

Officials have recorded more than 2 million cases and as many as 126,000 deaths since the virus emerged in China in December.

Read on for the latest updates from Pakistan and around the world

Disclaimer: There may be some discrepancy in the number of confirmed cases reported at the country level due to differences in figures quoted by federal and provincial authorities.

Geo News is constantly gathering fresh information from concerned authorities and striving to keep our readers up to date with the most accurate information available.

Orange: General updates coming in from Pakistan

Red: Reports on new cases in Pakistan

Maroon: Reports on new deaths in Pakistan

Green: Reports on recovered patients in Pakistan


09:59pm — Paris, France — Two million cases recorded globally: AFP tally

More than two million cases of the new coronavirus have been officially registered around the world, half of them in Europe, according to a tally compiled by AFP at 1000 GMT based on official sources.

At least 2,000,576 infections, including 126,871 deaths, have been recorded. Europe is the hardest hit continent, with 1,010,858 cases and 85,271 fatalities. The United States, where the virus is spreading most rapidly, registered 609,240 cases, and 26,033 deaths.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organisation (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. Many countries are testing only the most serious cases.

09:40pm —  Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — G20 agrees to one-year debt relief for poorest countries

With the global economy plunged into the worst recession in a century, the Group of 20 nations has announced a one-year debt standstill for the world’s poorest nations as they struggle to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

The G20, which brings together the world´s largest economies, also reiterated the pledge to deploy “all available policy tools” to deal with the health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

The G20 finance ministers and central bankers endorsed “a time-bound suspension of debt service payments for the poorest countries,” and in the communique following their virtual meeting, said “All bilateral official creditors will participate in this initiative.”

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan, who currently chairs the group, said this means “poor countries don’t need to worry about repaying over the course of the next 12 months.”

The initiative will “provide north of $20 billion of immediate liquidity” for poor countries to use “for their health system and support their people facing COVID-19,” he said in a press briefing.

The G20 officials “put our money where our mouth is, and commit to further support the world as it faces this pandemic,” he said.

09:15pm — Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan — Region reports three more recoveries, cases

The Gilgit-Baltistan health department has reported three more recoveries, two from Astore and one from Nagar.

Three more cases were also reported, taking the region’s tally of infected to 237.

Health Department Gilgit-Baltistan@HealthDeptGB

District wise cases of in Gilgit-Baltistan
Today’s recoveries :
2 in Astore
1 in Nagar

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08:28pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP’s focal person on coronavirus shares lockdown extension notification for province

Zain Raza@smzrz

Notification of decisions take regarding extension and exemption of lockdown in KP.

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07:55pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP chief minister to adhere to protocol rules during visits

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa information minister Ajmal Khan Wazir has said that Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has “taken strict notice of the unwanted protocol presented to him in Charsadda yesterday”.

Wazir said the chief minister “has thanked the public” for pointing out the error at a time when social distancing must be observed by everyone.

Henceforth “only essential protocol and security” will be used by the chief minister.

Ajmal Khan Wazir@ajmalkwazir

CM @IMMahmoodKhan has taken strict notice of the unwanted Protocol presented to him in Charsadda yesterday. He thanked public for pointing such mistakes. Our government strictly believes in the principles of social distancing and only essential Protocol and security for the CM

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07:31pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh’s cases at a glance

According to the Sindh health department’s daily update, there are a total of 1,067 active cases in the province, with the greatest number of cases — 879 — in Karachi.

Health and Population Welfare Department, Sindh@SindhHealthDpt

Update of in as on 15.04.2020

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07:16pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — Faisal Edhi donates Rs10 million to PM’s relief fund

Faisal Edhi, on behalf of the Edhi Foundation, has presented a cheque of Rs10 million to the prime minister for the Corona Relief Fund.


وزیر اعظم عمران خان سے فیصل ایدھی کی ملاقات

ایدھی فاونڈیشن کی طرف سے ایک کروڑ روپے کا چیک وزیراعظم کرونا ریلیف فنڈ کے لیے وزیر اعظم کو پیش کیا

اپٹما کے چئیرمین گوہر اعجاز نے بھی 5 کروڑ کا چیک وزیراعظم کو پیش کیا

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07:07pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh governor notifies ‘change of schedule’ for PM’s visit

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail has notified a “change of schedule” for the prime minister’s visit to Sukkur, Larkana and Jacobabad.

The visit was scheduled for April 17 but will now take place next week.

Imran Ismail


PM Khan @ImranKhanPTI to visit Sukkur, Larkana and Jacobabad on Friday, 17th April in order to monitor Covid 19 Situation in Sindh. CS to brief on Sindh situation. Briefing on Ehsas emergency cash program. He will visit Karachi in next phase.

Imran Ismail


Change of schedule PM @ImranKhanPTI will be visiting Sindh next week inshallah.

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06:55pm — Kabul, Afghanistan — Afghan girls try building ventilator from used car parts

A team of robot-designing girls in Afghanistan is trying to build a low-cost medical ventilator from car parts, as health authorities look to boost critical-care capabilities for coronavirus patients in the impoverished country, AFP reports.

If the teenagers succeed and can get government approval for their prototype, they say it could be replicated for as little as $300, where normally ventilators sell for around $30,000.

“The team is working with local health specialists, as well as experts from Harvard University, to produce the prototype based on a design by Massachusetts Institute of Technology,” said Roya Mahboob, who runs an Afghan tech company and sponsors the team of five girls, aged 14-17.

They are part of a bigger group of high-achieving high school girls known as the “Afghan Dreamers”, from the western city of Herat, where coronavirus is on the rise after thousands of people returned from neighbouring Iran as it experienced a spike in cases.

As of Wednesday, Afghan officials had reported at least 784 coronavirus cases and 24 deaths across the country. The true number of cases is feared to be much higher, as only limited testing kits are available.

In these photographs taken on April 8, 2020, workers of an all-female robotic team build a ventilator in preparation for COVID-19 coronavirus patients, at a workshop, in Herat .— AFP/Ahmad Idres Naderi

6:27pm – Islamabad, Pakistan — PM’s aides agree on bringing back Pakistanis stranded in UAE on April 18

A statement issued by the government stated that Special Assistants to Prime Minister Zulfi Bukhari and Moeed Yousuf have agreed to bring back stranded Pakistanis in the UAE on a flight on April 18.

The two decided to issue a new flight schedule after April 18.

6:22pm – Quetta, Pakistan — Nationwide tally rises to 6,250

The number of confirmed cases in the country rose to 6,250 after more cases were reported in Balochistan.

Liaquat Shahwani@LiaquatShahwani

میں کرونا وائرس سے متاثرہ افراد کی تعداد 281 ہوگئی۔
مذید 4 مقامی افراد میں کرونا وائرس کی تصدیق ہوگئی ہے۔
39 رپورٹس موصول ہوئے جن میں سے 4 مثبت اور 35 منفی نتائج سامنے آئے

مقامی سطح پر سے متاثرہ افراد کی تعداد 133ہوگئی

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According to the spokesperson of Balochistan government, 4 new cases were reported in province, taking the provincial tally to 281.

6:14pm – Karachi, Pakistan — PM to visit three cities of Sindh on Friday: Governor

Governor Sindh Imran Ismail announced that Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Sukkur, Larkana and Jacobabad on Friday to monitor the coronavirus situation in Sindh.

Imran Ismail


PM Khan @ImranKhanPTI to visit Sukkur, Larkana and Jacobabad on Friday, 17th April in order to monitor Covid 19 Situation in Sindh. CS to brief on Sindh situation. Briefing on Ehsas emergency cash program. He will visit Karachi in next phase.

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The governor said during the trip the chief secretary will brief the PM on the coronavirus situation in the province and the distribution of the stipend under the Ehsaas Emergency cash programme. He added that the PM will visit Karachi in the “next phase”.

5:58pm – Islamabad, Pakistan — Decisions are taken keeping in mind ‘facts on the ground’, says Asad Umar

Decisions are taken keeping in mind 210 million people and facts on the ground are taken into consideration, said Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar.

Outlining the need for a balance between containing the coronavirus from spreading and also ensuring economic activity across the country does not come to a halt, Umar said that it was important to keep in mind those who were facing hardships due to the lockdown.

“We are trying to present the facts in front of you [masses] with honesty,” he said. “We have to take decisions for the betterment of 210 million people,” he added.

Read more here.

5:55pm – Amsterdam, Netherlands — Dutch coronavirus cases rise by 734 to 28,153: authorities

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Netherlands rose by 734 to 28,153, health authorities said on Wednesday, with 189 new deaths.

The total death toll in the country is 3,134, the Netherlands’ Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said in its daily update.

5:41pm – Islamabad, Pakistan — Federal health ministry submits report to SC

The federal health ministry has submitted a report Supreme Court regarding the fight against the coronavirus.

The government has told the court that an 1166 helpline has been set up for the public to get information regarding the virus. It added that 83 thermal screens have been set up at the airport and other areas.

The report says that 300 quarantine centres have been set up in Islamabad and close to 850 doctors and paramedical staff have been trained regarding the virus. It added that there are 112 doctors and 108 paramedical staff is available to hand the coronavirus patients.

5:26pm – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Airlines to bring back pilgrims from Lahore today: Pakistani mission

PakConsulate Jeddah@PakCG_jeddah

Saudi Airline SV 3734 carries back 254 umrah pilgrims to lahore today. Ambassdor and CG thank government for facilitating their travel.@ForeignOfficePk @epwing_official @MoIB_Official

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5:00pm – Barcelona, Spain — Families of overseas Pakistanis face difficulty in bringing back the dead for final rites

Families of overseas Pakistanis are worried as they cannot bring back their dead back to the country for their final rites due to the ban on international flights, Pakistani activist in Spain Ayaz Abbasi told Geo News.

Abbasi shared that the body of the deceased overseas Pakistanis has been lying in the morgues, adding that 14 bodies are in Barcelona alone. He added that nine of them had died due to medical conditions while five had passed away because of the coronavirus.

4:34pm — New Delhi, India — IPL ‘postponed indefinitely’ as lockdown extends

The Indian Premier League — the world’s richest cricket tournament — has been indefinitely postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, a team official told AFP.

Though India’s cricket board made no official announcement, the further delay of the Twenty20 tournament, which draws top players from around the world, was inevitable after the government extended a three-week lockdown until at least May 3.

“Yes, they have informed us that the IPL stands suspended for the moment,” a team official told AFP on condition of anonymity. However, it is said that they will find a window in the later end of the year to do it.”

4:32pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — Japan provides $1mn to fight COVID-19

Japan has decided to provide third cache of assistance worth $1 million to Pakistan through United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to equip the Pakistani people and Afghan refugees to fight against COVID-19, APP reported.

Prior to this grant assistance, the government of Japan provided $2.4 million to Pakistan to support its efforts to combat the novel coronavirus, including $1.6 million through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), $540,000 through the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and $250,000 through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

According to a statement by the Japan embassy, the UNHCR will provide necessary technical assistance and equipment/material to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by considering the on ground situation and on the request of the Government of Pakistan.

4:28pm — Islamabad, Pakistan — Govt changes SOPs for Pakistan returning from abroad: sources

The federal government has decided to shift passengers coming from abroad directly to hotels, instead of making them stay at the airport for 48 hours, sources informed Geo News.

The passengers will have to stay in the hotels for a period of two weeks if they test positive for coronavirus, while if their results come negative they will be allowed to leave after a week, sources said.

People will have to bear the expenses themselves, sources said.

4:15pm — Washington, US — Several universities consider cancelling in person classes till 2021



A number of universities are beginning to consider the possibility that in-person classes may not resume until 2021. 

Universities begin considering the possibility of canceling in-person classes until 2021

A number of universities are beginning to consider the possibility that in-person classes may not resume until 2021.

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4:00pm – Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab education dept sets up complaint cell

Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas has announced that the education department has set up a complaint cell, and assured the people that action will be taken against those schools who do not waive their tuition fees by 20%.

Murad Raas@DrMuradPTI

In any private school has not reduced the fee by 20%, please call at the following number and file your complaint. The number is 042 99205101 from 9am to 4pm Monday through Friday. To my knowledge private schools have been very cooperative in this matter.

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Raas added that parents can lodge complaints regarding the private school between 9am to 4pm from Monday to Friday.

3:41pm – Quetta, Pakistan — Tally of recovered patients rises to 1,571

Nationwide tally of recovered cases rose to 1,571 after more people recovered from the virus in Balochistan.

Liaquat Shahwani@LiaquatShahwani

بلوچستان میں کورونا وائرس سے متاثرہ افراد کی تعداد 277 ہوگئی۔
مقامی سطح پر کورونا سے متاثرہ افراد کی تعداد 129 ہوگئی۔
ابتک 137 مریض صحتیاب ہوچکے ہیں

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According to the Balochistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani, 13 more people recovered from the virus taking the provincial tally to 137.

3:32pm – Quetta, Pakistan — Nationwide tally rises to 6,246

The number of confirmed cases in the country rose to 6,246 after more cases were reported in Balochistan.

According to the spokesperson of Balochistan government, 15 new cases were reported in province, taking the provincial tally to 277.

3:15pm — Tehran, Iran — Death toll from virus rises to 4,777

Iran’s new coronavirus death toll rose to 4,777 on Wednesday, health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said in a statement on state TV.

Ninety-four people died in the past 24 hours, he said.

Iran, the Middle Eastern country hardest hit by the outbreak, has a total of 76,389 people infected, Jahanpur said.

3:00pm — Madrid, Spain — Daily death toll from virus slips to 523, total at 18,579

The number of deaths from the coronavirus in Spain in 24 hours fell again on Wednesday to 523 from 567 reported the previous day, the country’s health ministry said.

The daily death toll brought the total number of fatalities to 18,579.

The overall number of cases in the country rose to 177,633 on Wednesday from 172,541 the day before.

2:45pm — Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — 85 new cases reported, one new death

Malaysia on Wednesday reported 85 new cases of coronavirus, the lowest daily rise since the government imposed curbs to limit the virus’ spread on March 18, taking the total number of infections to 5,072.

The health ministry also reported one new death, with a total of 83 fatalities so far.

2:35pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Pharmaceutical company donates testing kits to Sindh govt

SenatorMurtaza Wahab@murtazawahab1

Getz Pharma has donated 15000 rapid anti body testing kits, about 1.9 Million hydroxychloroquine tablets & 1500 personal protective equipment to . On behalf of the Govt & people of Sindh, my heartfelt appreciation & gratitude to the management of Getz Pharma. Thank you

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2:29pm — Mansehra, Pakistan — JUI-F leader sent on 14-day remand for violating section 144

A court in Mansehra has sent Jamiat Ulema-e-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Mufti Kifayatullah for a 14-day remand after he was arrested for violating section 144 imposed by the provincial government.

2:21pm – Karachi, Pakistan — Every step being taken to deal with coroanvirus: Ali Zaidi

Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi has assured that every step will be taken to deal with the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The minister added that apart from saving from coronavirus there is need to ensure that people don’t starve. He added that government was playing a pivotal role to control the spread of the virus.

2:14pm – Islamabad, Pakistan — Over 1 million have joined PM’s Corona Relief Tiger Force: PM Office

Prime Minister’s Office, Pakistan


Over 1 million men and women from across Pakistan have joined PM’s Corona Relief Tiger Force. This is Pakistan’s largest volunteer force, ready to serve the people. We as a nation will fight this pandemic by taking care of our fellow citizens

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2:04pm – Lahore, Pakistan — Nationwide tally rises to 6,231

The number of confirmed cases in the country rose to 6,231 after more cases were reported in Punjab.

According to the spokesperson of the Punjab’s primary and secondary health care department, 71 new cases were reported in Punjab, taking the provincial tally to 3,016.

1:59pm – Peshawar, Pakistan — KP declares 18 public places as sub-jails to reduce chances of ‘virus spread’ among inmates

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa declared 18 public places as sub-jails to reduce the chances of virus spread among inmates, according to the notification issued on Wednesday.

Jails in Kohat, Nowshera Swabi, Lakki Marwat, Tank, Malakand are overcrowded, however, new prisoners will not be taken to prisons overcapacity, the notification said.

According to the notification, public cases such as schools, colleges, agriculture, hotels, shelter homes and other public buildings are turned into sub-jails to manage the influx of prisoners in the time of crisis.

While talking to Geo News, Inspector General Prisons KP Masudur Rehman stated that these measures are taken in line with all other preventive measures to curb the spread of virus in prisons.

The jail official also notified that there is no case reported for coronavirus in inmates and other staff members so far.

1:56pm – Beijing, China — China urges United States to fulfill its obligations to WHO

China urged the United States on Wednesday to fulfill its obligations to the World Health Organisation (WHO), after US President Donald Trump halted funding to the body over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

1:47pm – Karachi, Pakistan — Centre and provinces have decided to make lockdown more stricter: CM Sindh

Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah has said the federal government has agreed to impose a stricter lockdown in the country for the next 14 days.

The chief minister also announced that standard operating procedures (SOPs) have been set for the industries that have been allowed to open up. He added that the deputy commissioners of the area will be responsible to make sure the guidelines will be implemented.

Read more here.

1:04pm – Quetta, Pakistan — Nationwide tally of confirmed cases rises to 6,160

The number of confirmed cases in the country rose to 6,160 after more cases were reported in Balochistan.

According to the provincial government spokesperson, 22 new cases were reported in Balochistan, taking the provincial tally to 262.

1:03pm – Moscow, Russia — Coronavirus cases in Russia near 25,000 after record daily rise

Russia on Wednesday reported 3,388 new cases of the coronavirus, a record daily rise, bringing its overall nationwide tally to 24,490, the country’s coronavirus response centre said.

It said 198 people in Russia diagnosed with the virus had now died, an overnight rise of 28.

1:02pm – Peshawar, Pakistan — Traders in Peshawar decide to close business on advice from commissioner

Traders in Peshawar have decided to close down their businesses after meeting the commissioner of the city.

According to the chairman of the central committee of traders Shaukat Ali Khan, the government has advised opening up of businesses at a certain time. He added that they also advised the government to provide support to the small businesses.

Shaukat stated that businessmen should be given an interest-free loan between Rs1 million to Rs10 million.

12:46pm – Lahore, Pakistan — 29 more recover in Punjab: Yasmin Rashid

Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid on Wednesday said that 29 more patients, out of which 24 in Expo centre and 5 others at Mayo Hospital in Lahore, have recovered in the province.

Moreover, 93 confirmed patients from Mayo Hospital and Expo centre have recovered so far, the health minister added.

The provincial minister also notified that the authorities are also working to facilitate unemployed workers and daily wagers amid the virus lockdown.

12:43pm – Gilgit, Pakistan — GB govt to unveil SOPs for partial lockdown today

Advisor to Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan for Information Shams Mir announced that the government will unveil its schedule for the partial lockdown in the evening.

Mir stated that the government was working on creating SOPs regarding the partial lockdown. He added that a schedule for a partial lockdown during Ramzan can be considered.

12:30pm – Larkana, Pakistan — Shops reopen in the city

Shops in Larkana started reopening on Wednesday after a partial lockdown was announced by the federal government.

Tailors, mechanics, barbers and auto part repair shops have partially re-opened in the city.

12:28 – Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh govt issues SOPs for work places and industries


SOPs for Work Places and Industries.

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SOPs for Work Places and Industries.

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12:25pm – Lahore, Pakistan — Punjab to soon carry out 10,000 tests per day

Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar has announced that the province will soon be capable of carrying out 10,000 tests per day.

The CM stated that Punjab has so far carried out 43,000 tests, adding that field hospitals with the capacity to keep 4,500 patients have been set up.

The CM also announced that the bed capacity of the field hospitals can reach 10,000.

12:11pm – Islamabad, Pakistan — Police yet to receive notification for relaxing lockdown measures

Police in Islamabad is yet to receive the notification to open up certain businesses and has forced many shopkeepers to shut down their shops.

A large number of shopkeepers had gathered in Islamabad’s Aabpara market to open up their shops after the federal government decided to relax the lockdown in parts of the country.

A shopkeeper claimed that the government had ordered the opening up of shops of tailors and barbers yet the police were closing down the shops.

However, the police have claimed that they haven’t received the notification to open up the shops, which was why they were shutting down the shops.

11:59: Karachi, Sindh — CM Sindh presides meeting to enforce SOPs on businesses allowed to open

SenatorMurtaza Wahab@murtazawahab1

CM Sindh is presiding over a meeting regarding enforcement of SOPs in . LEAs, Civil Adminstration, Doctors, representatives of WHO & UNICEF are present so that various aspects of enforcement are deliberated & acted upon.

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11:42pm – Karachi, Pakistan — Death toll from virus reaches 113

Pakistan’s death toll due from the coronavirus rose to 113 after more deaths were reported by Sindh.

According to Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab the provincial tally of deaths stands at 41 after six more deaths were reported in the province.

11:42pm – Karachi, Pakistan — Nationwide tally of confirmed cases crosses 6,000

The nationwide tally of confirmed cases has reached 6,146 after new cases were reported in Sindh.

According to Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab, the provincial tally of confirmed cases rose to 1,668 after 150 new cases were reported in Sindh.

SenatorMurtaza Wahab@murtazawahab1

The following information is relevant to assess the situation of in Sindh as of 15th April at 8 AM:

Total Tests 16026
Positive Cases 1668 (today 150)
Recovered Cases 560
Deaths 41

In the last 24 hours, 133 people have recovered from corona in Sindh

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11:42pm – Karachi, Pakistan — Nationwide recoveries cross 1,500

The number of recoveries from the coronvirus crossed 1,500 after more people recovered from the virus in Sindh.

Provincial government spokesperson tweeted that 133 people have recovered in the province from the virus taking the proivnicial tally to 560.

11:23am – Tokyo, Japan — Health ministry projects 400,000 deaths without containment measures

Japan’s death toll from the novel coronavirus could reach 400,000 without measures to stem the contagion, according to a health ministry projection reported by local media.

A ministry team studying clusters of the disease estimated that serious cases needing ventilator intervention could reach 850,000, Kyodo and the Asahi newspaper reported.

The projections are based on research from Hokkaido University professor Hiroshi Nishiura, one of the infectious disease experts guiding the government’s response to the outbreak.

The health ministry could not immediately confirm the report.

11:10am — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh establishes Corona Operation Cell to deal with virus issues

The Sindh government on Wednesday established the Corona Operation Cell to deal with the issues related to the spread of the coronavirus epidemic in the province.

The operation cell was established in the Chief Minister House and consists of ten experts leading the virus fight across the province.

10:55am — Karachi, Pakistan — Ghani says Sindh took lead in implementing virus measures

Sindh Minister for Education and Labour Saeed Ghani on Wednesday said that Sindh had taken timely steps to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the province.

“Other provinces followed the steps that Sindh was taking. Unfortunately, a counter narrative to the steps taken by Sindh was also started,” he said.

10:45am — Tokyo, Japan — Citizens urged to limit movements to curb virus spread

Japan’s citizens should do everything in their power to limit interactions with others by 70% to curb the spread of the coronavirus, government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said, according to Reuters.

He said the government will consider the request from coalition partner Komeito to hand out 100,000 yen ($933.45) per person after establishing the extra budget to help cushion the blow from the outbreak to households and businesses.

10:30am — Lahore, Pakistan — Virus spread among inmates in Punjab jail through prisoners returning from overseas: Cheema

Punjab government spokesperson Musarrat Cheema on Wednesday said that the coronavirus epidemic had spread among inmates at a jail in the province from prisoners who returned to the country from overseas.

“Overseas Pakistanis, who were found involved in drugs smuggling operations, were shifted to Lahore jail after they were sent back to Pakistan. The virus spread among prisoners from these overseas Pakistanis,” he said.

9:50am — Wellington, New Zealand — PM Ardern, ministers take 20% pay cut for six months due to coronavirus impact

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, ministers in her government and public service chief executives will take a 20% pay cut for the next six months amid the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported.

New Zealand’s offices, schools and non-essential services have been closed for the last three weeks, and economic activity is at a standstill as the country undertakes one of the strictest lockdowns globally.

9:40am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Number of confirmed coronavirus cases across country rises to 5,996

The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus rose to 5,996 on Wednesday after new infections were reported from different parts of the country, according to an update released by the National Command and Operations Centre.

According to the centre, 1,446 patients had so far recovered from the virus in Pakistan. The number of deaths from the virus stood at 107.

9:20am — Seoul, South Korea — Parliamentary election being held under strict safety measures amid pandemic

South Koreans began going to the polls on Wednesday to elect members of parliament, wearing masks and plastic gloves as part of strict safety measures in one of the first national elections held amid the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports.

About 14,000 polling stations were open at 6am (0900 GMT) around the country after disinfection, and voters were required to wear a mask and have a temperature check upon arrival. Anyone whose temperature was higher than 37.5 Celsius (99.5 Fahrenheit) was led to a special booth.

8:50am — Nairobi, Kenya — Food stampede shows Africa’s lockdown dilemma

AFP news agency


Starve or get sick: Nairobi food stampede shows Africa’s lockdown dilemma.

A food aid distribution event in Nairobi’s Kibera informal settlement, descended into a violent stampede

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8:45am — Islamabad, Pakistan — PM Imran holds telephonic conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday held a telephonic conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the situation arising out of the spread of the novel coronavirus across the world, reported Radio Pakistan.

During the call, the Prime Minister emphasized that the virus had unfolded an unprecedented global health and economic crisis, where developing countries wouldl be hit harder due to lack of fiscal space and debt servicing.

He said people in the developing world faced a stark choice, death by COVID-19 or by hunger.

8:30am — Beijing, China — Fewer coronavirus cases reported but infections from Russia a worry

China reported on Wednesday a decline in new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the mainland, although an increasing number of local transmissions in its far northeast bordering Russia remained a concern for authorities, Reuters reported.

China reported 46 new confirmed cases on Tuesday compared with 89 cases a day earlier, according to the National Health Commission. Of the new cases, 36 involved travellers arriving in China from overseas, compared with 86 a day earlier.

8:15am — Washington, United States — Trump halts World Health Organisation funding amid coronavirus pandemic

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would halt funding to the World Health Organisation over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic while his administration reviews its response to the global crisis, Reuters reported.

Trump, at a White House news conference, said the WHO had “failed in its basic duty and it must be held accountable.” He said the group had promoted China’s “disinformation” about the virus that likely led to a wider outbreak of the virus than otherwise would have occurred.

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