The novel coronavirus emerged in the central China city of Wuhan towards the end of last year and proliferated to almost the whole world within a couple of months. It’s not the virulence or fatality, but the infectivity of the new virus – also known as SARS-CoV-2 – that has set off a global frenzy.
The Covid-19 respiratory illness caused by this mysterious contagion has so far infected more than 7.9 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world – and over 435,000 of them have died and counting.
Pakistan, despite its close proximity with China, remained coronavirus-free until February 26 when a young man from Karachi tested positive after returning from Iran – one of the worst-hit countries. After a brief hiatus following the first case, Covid-19 cases spiked as more pilgrims returning from Iran tested positive for the virus.
Nearly one-and-a-half months after imposing the lockdown across the country, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced to ease the lockdown in phases.
The nationwide tally of Covid-19 patients stands at 160,118 with 60,138 cases in Punjab, 59,983 in Sindh, 19,613 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 8,794 in Balochistan, 1,214 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 9,637 in Islamabad and 740 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The virus has claimed at least 3,093 lives while around 59,215 coronavirus patients have recovered.
The situation remains fluid and we’re updating stats as soon as new figures are officially released.
11:30am: NDMA delivers more testing equipment across Pakistan
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has delivered more testing equipment to the four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).
Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Balochistan each received 20,000 RNA auto extractors, while 10,000 each were given to AJK and G-B.
Punjab and AJK received one RNA auto extraction machine each.
11:05am: Dr Zafar Mirza discusses testing capacity, unified testing fee
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Health Dr Zafar Mirza chaired a meeting to strengthen testing capacity and a unified testing fee for Covid-19.
Representatives from public and private laboratories attended the meeting.
Special Advisor to PM for Health, Dr. Zafar Mirza, chaired a meeting to strengthen testing capacity and unified testing fee regarding COVID-19. All representatives from the public and private laboratories attended the meeting. pic.twitter.com/UjM4LCboub— NIH Pakistan (@NIH_Pakistan) June 18, 2020
Punjab reports 1,899 coronavirus infections, 53 more deaths
60,138 individuals have been infected with #Covid19 in Punjab till 10pm June 17, 2020. 1,899 new #coronavirus cases have been detected, 11,739 tests performed while 53 more lives have been lost in last 24 hrs 1,202 lives in total have been lost while 17,825 people have recovered pic.twitter.com/8Ua3Q5zM4r— PDMA Punjab Official (@PdmapunjabO) June 17, 2020
10:40am: Govt reopens Taftan border for seven days
The federal government has reopened the Taftan border for seven days and declared the implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) mandatory.
The notification has been issued by the Interior Ministry.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had a telephonic conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to discuss matters of mutual interest, including Covid-19.
Qureshi offered condolences to the Russian foreign minister for the loss of lives due to the pandemic and the ministers discussed the socioeconomic ramifications of the virus. Lavrov expressed solidarity with Pakistan in its fight against Covid-19.
Qureshi apprised his Russian counterpart of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call for ‘Global Initiative on Debt Relief’ for developing countries. Lavrov expressed support for the initiative.
Sindh’s cases at a glance
Number of people unemployed during pandemic higher in Sindh: PM Imran
Prime Minister Imran Khan revealed that the number of people who got unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic were higher in Sindh than any other province.
The poverty & those unemployed because of Covid19 in Sindh is far greater proportionally than in other provinces acc to applications received by my PM Relief Fund – 32% of all applicants are from Sindh whereas pop of Sindh comprises around 22% of Pak's pop. While distributing— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) June 17, 2020
GB’s cases at a glance
District wise distribution of #COVID19 cases in Gilgit-Baltistan— Health Department Gilgit-Baltistan (@HealthDeptGB) June 17, 2020
@DCGILGIT @DCNagarGB @DCGhanche @deputy_hunza @AstoreDeputy @DKharmang @DCDiamer @DC_Ghizer @DCSkardu #CombatCoronaVirus #CoronaFreeGB #InshAllah #StayHomeStaySafe pic.twitter.com/O883Rcqmna