Latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from Pakistan and around the world

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The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 51,653 on Thursday after new infections were confirmed in the country.

The province-wise break up of the total number of cases as of 7:13pm, May 22, is as follows:

Total confirmed cases: 51,889

• Sindh: 20,883

• Punjab: 18,455

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 7,391

• Balochistan: 3,074

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 1,326

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 602

• AJK: 158

Deaths: 1,087

• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 381

• Sindh: 340

• Punjab: 310

• Balochistan: 39

• Gilgit-Baltistan: 4

• Islamabad Capital Territory: 12

• AJK: 1


Officials have recorded more than 5.1 million cases and more than 332,000 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



9:20pm — Madrid, Spain —  Coronavirus death toll rises by 56 to 28,628

Spain’s overnight death toll from the new coronavirus rose by 56 on Friday to a total of 28,628, the health ministry said.

The number of diagnosed cases rose to 234,824 cases from 233,037 on Thursday, the ministry added.

The daily increase in the death toll and the number of cases is not directly comparable to the previous day due to various regions reporting their recent data with delays.


9:12pm — New York, US  —Two regions close to New York City almost ready to reopen: governor

The two regions closest to New York City could start the process of reopening their economies next week if deaths from the novel coronavirus continue to decline and a tracing program is up and running, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Cuomo told a daily briefing the Long Island region, which includes Nassau and Suffolk counties, and the Mid-Hudson region, which includes Dutchess, Orange and Westchester counties, were close to reopening.


9:05pm — London, UK — George Soros says EU may not survive coronavirus crisis

Billionaire financier George Soros said the European Union could break apart in the wake of the new coronavirus pandemic unless the block issued perpetual bonds to help weak members such as Italy.

Soros, 89, said the damage to the euro zone economy from the new coronavirus would last “longer than most people think”, adding that the rapid evolution of the virus meant that a reliable vaccine would be hard to develop.

The hedge-fund veteran and chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC said perpetual bonds, used by the British to finance wars against Napoleon, would allow the European Union – itself created out of the ashes of World War Two – to survive.

“If the EU is unable to consider it now, it may not be able to survive the challenges it currently confronts,” Soros said in a transcript of a question-and-answer session emailed to reporters. “This is not a theoretical possibility; it may be the tragic reality.”


08:23pm — Gilgit, Gilgit-Baltistan — Deputy commissioner overviews ‘disinfectant spray’ and SOP adherence


7:36pm — Unemployment rose in all 50 US states in April: Labor Department’s BLS

Unemployment rates rose and total employment fell in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia in April as efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses to close across the United States, the Labor Department said on Friday.

The department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said 43 states set record-high levels of unemployment last month, with the highest being in Nevada, the state with the greatest reliance on the hard-hit food services and hospitality industry. The rate in Nevada surged 24.2 percentage points to 28.2% – nearly twice April’s national employment rate of 14.7%.


7:13pm — Peshawar, Pakistan — KP reports 16 more deaths


7:06pm — London, UK —Human trials of British coronavirus vaccine to reach 10,000

Oxford University and AstraZeneca are recruiting around 10,000 adults and children in Britain for trials of an experimental coronavirus vaccine, a day after receiving U.S. backing worth up to $1.2 billion, Reuters reported.

Institutions across Britain had begun enrolling up to 10,260 adults and children to see how well the human immune system responds to the vaccine and how safe it is, the university said.

Researchers are mainly looking for healthcare staff and other public-facing workers to join the trial as in order to get a clear signal on the vaccine’s efficacy, they need a minimum number to catch the coronavirus in their everyday lives.

“The speed at which this new vaccine has advanced into late-stage clinical trials is testament to Oxford’s ground-breaking scientific research,” AstraZeneca executive Mene Pangalos said.


6:56pm — New York, US — Coronavirus has shown how human health is intimately connected to the natural world


6:50pm — Moscow, Russia — Putin urges more testing as coronavirus death toll climbs

President Vladimir Putin told officials to ramp up testing for the new coronavirus, but said Russia’s outbreak was stabilising even as the death toll rose by a record one-day amount.

Russia’s overall case tally rose by 8,894 to 326,448, while Friday’s tally of 150 new deaths pushed the toll to 3,249.

Moscow’s Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has said he expects the toll to prove much higher in May than in April. It is still much lower than many European countries with fewer cases, something that has sparked debate, but which Russia defends.

Speaking at a televised government meeting by video link, Putin said there had been a gradual decrease in the number of new infections reported daily in recent days and that the situation “as a whole is stabilising”.

“At the same time it is very important this decline happens against the backdrop of a constant and significant rise in the number of tests,” he said.


Antimalarial drug touted by Trump is linked to increased risk of death in COVID-19 patients


6:36pm — Quetta, Balochistan — Tourist points closed in province’s capital

The district administration of Quetta has closed all tourists points in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus.


Take stock of your mental health during the pandemic


6:20pm — Kabul, Afghanistan — Afghans throng markets ahead of Eid despite virus fears

Kabul’s markets were teeming in the countdown to the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr as Afghans disregarded government safety guidelines to contain rising coronavirus infections across the country, Reuters reported.

Afghanistan had recorded 9,216 cases of COVID-19 and 205 deaths as of Friday, the health ministry said. The highest number of cases has been in Kabul, a city of six million that has been under a lockdown of varying intensity since March 28.

“It’s almost two months that Afghans have been in quarantine and surely everyone has suffered a lot during this period,” Ghulam Hussain, a Kabul resident at one busy market, told Reuters.

Prices for everything in the market have shot up during the lockdown, he added.

People shop for festive goods in preparation for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kabul, Afghanistan May 21, 2020. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail


6:12pm — New Delhi, India — COVID-19 recovery rate reaches 41%


6:04pm — Madrid, Spain — Lockdown eases in capital, allowing outdoor dining to resume

Madrid’s coronavirus lockdown will be eased on Monday to allow outdoor dining and gatherings of up to 10 people, as the rate of infection there has slowed, the regional health department said, Reuters reported.

The restrictions in the capital will now be the same as in most of the Spanish mainland, which started relaxing the lockdown early this month. Both Madrid and Barcelona, Spain’s second city, had been kept in full lockdown because their outbreaks were so severe.

Bars and restaurants in the capital will be allowed to reopen on pavements and terraces from Monday, churches will also reopen, and people will be free to travel within the province.


5:57pm — Sao Paulo, Brazil —  Biggest state brings forward holiday to contain virus spread

Lawmakers in Brazil’s biggest state of Sao Paulo have decided to bring forward to Monday a holiday scheduled for July 9, in an attempt to strengthen social distancing and contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, Reuters reported.

The move adds to efforts already made by the city of Sao Paulo, which had earlier this week brought forward two holidays.

The state of Sao Paulo has 73,739 confirmed cases of COVID-19, nearly one quarter of the country’s total toll, and 5,558 deaths caused by the disease.


5:50pm — Moscow, Russia — Chechen leader Kadyrov in Moscow hospital with suspected coronavirus

Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s southern region of Chechnya, is suspected of having contracted the new coronavirus and is receiving treatment in a Moscow hospital, three Russian new agencies reported.

The TASS news agency, quoting an unnamed medical source, said the condition of Kadyrov, who is 43, was stable, but provided no further details. Chechen authorities have not confirmed or denied the reports and officials including Kadrov’s spokesman Ilman Vakhidov did not answer telephone calls.


5:42pm — Geneva, Switzerland — WHO has worked ‘day and night’ on pandemic, funding lags: Tedros tells board

The World Health Organization (WHO) has worked non-stop since the novel coronavirus emerged, informing its 194 member states of its evolution and providing technical advice, its director-general said, Reuters reported.

WHO has worked day and night to coordinate the global response at all three levels of the organisation, providing technical advice, catalysing political solidarity, mobilising resources, coordinating resources and much more,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the WHO Executive Board.

“So far almost $800 million has been pledged or received towards WHO’s appeal for COVID-19 programmes, leaving a gap of just over $900 million,” Tedros told the 34-member board holding a virtual three-hour session.


5:35pm —Alibaba revenue, profit beat as online sales surge during lockdown

China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd reported fourth-quarter revenue and profit that topped market expectations, as the COVID-19 lockdowns drove more people to shop online for essentials, Reuters reported.

As people stayed indoors and brick-and-mortar stores remained shut during the health crisis, online orders surged, with the company’s core commerce business rising nearly 19% to 93.87 billion yuan ($13.16 billion) in the quarter.

Revenue at its cloud computing business surged about 58%.


5:20pm – Dubai, UAE — Saudi Arabia, UAE mosques to stay closed for Eid prayers

Mosques will remain closed for prayers on the Eid Al-Fitr festival, Saudi and United Arab Emirates officials said on Friday, calling on the population to adhere to safety guidelines to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus, Reuters reported.

The Eid, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, may fall on Saturday or Sunday in the Gulf region.

Saudi Islamic Affairs Minister Abdullatif al-Sheikh gave instructions not to have Eid prayers in mosques, Saudi state TV quoted him as saying.

“Muslims will hold the Eid prayer at home because of the pandemic,” the Saudi Press Agency cited Sheikh Abdul Bari al-Thubaiti, the imam, or the prayer leader, of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, as saying in the Friday sermon.

During Ramadan, prayers without worshippers were held by the imams in the two holy mosques of Mecca and Medina, in the west of the kingdom.

In the UAE, the Dubai government’s media office said on Twitter that mosques will remain closed, and listed a series of Eid customs that should not be observed, including family visits and giving gifts or money to children.


5:00pm – Jakarta, Indonesia — Isolating Indonesia palm workers to spend Eid holiday on plantation

Thousands of Indonesian palm oil workers who are in lockdown on plantations due to the coronavirus outbreak will have to stay put for Eid celebrations this weekend, rather than go home to celebrate the end of Ramadan with their families.

Fearing a spike in new COVID-19 cases, the Indonesian authorities have sought to discourage people from travelling for the festival this year, which usually sees workers from across the archipelago return to their hometowns.

Around 2,000 workers at a plantation in Indragiri Hilir on Sumatra island run by Singapore-based firm Musim Mas have been in isolation since March 20, with nobody allowed to leave or to enter the site, the company said.

A plantation manager said the workers were permitted to leave if they required medical assistance or for family reasons.


4:15pm – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Malaysia PM in home quarantine after officer tests positive for COVID-19

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will be home quarantined for 14 days after an officer who attended a meeting with him this week tested positive for the new coronavirus, the prime minister’s office said in a statement on Friday.

Muhyiddin has tested negative but “all members of the meeting have been instructed to undergo screening and 14 days’ home quarantine”, the statement added.


4:00pm – Punjab health minister reviews emergency plan for Eid 


3:15pm – London, UK —  Schools should decide whether to reopen, says UK public health chief

It should be for British schools to decide when to reopen following nationwide closures to stem the spread of the coronavirus and some have the confidence to do so, a senior health official said on Friday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government wants schools in England to reopen for some pupils from June 1 but the plans have been criticised by teaching unions and many local authorities say they will not be reopening institutions in their areas.

“Ultimately, it will be for the schools to decide whether they are ready for this and whether parents have confidence that they will send the children back,” Yvonne Doyle, medical director and director for health protection at Public Health England, told parliament’s science committee.

“I am confident that some schools may already feel they are ready to open, others may not.”


3:00pm – AKU Karachi out of beds for coronavirus patients 

2:45pm – Islamabad, Pakistan — SAPM on health warns situation could further worsen

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza has warned the coronavirus situation could further worsen if the people do not follow the precautionary measures.

Dr Mirza, in a press conference, said the country had recorded 2,603 new coronavirus cases with 50 deaths in the last 24 hours which was the highest rise in a single day.

The SAPM also appealed the people to follow the SOPs agreed for Ramadan in the prayers of Juma-tul-Wida and Eid.

He said it has been made mandatory for the people to wear masks at any gathering or while using the public transport. He said this will help the people to keep themselves and others safe from the contagion.


NDMA starts supply of sixth consignment of PPE 


2:25pm – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Malaysia reports 78 new coronavirus cases with 1 new death

Malaysian health authorities on Friday reported 78 new coronavirus cases, raising the cumulative total to 7,137 cases.

The health ministry also reported one new death, bringing the total fatalities up to 115.


2:00pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Nationwide death toll rises to 1,071

The death toll from the novel coronavirus rose to 1,071 after four more deaths were reported in Sindh.

Sindh’s death toll from the virus now stands at 340.


2:00pm — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh becomes first province to report more than 20,000 cases

Confirmed cases in the country rose to 51,653 after new cases were detected in Sindh.

According to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, 959 cases were recorded in the province in the last 24 hours, taking the provincial tally to 20,883.

The CM added that 7,015 patients have recovered from the virus and 13,528 active cases are in the province. 


Life after lockdown


1:30pm – London, UK — UK set to outline quarantine measures for international arrivals

The United Kingdom will later on Friday spell out details of its plans for a COVID-19 quarantine for travellers arriving from overseas, a measure that airlines have warned will devastate their industry.

The government is expected to announce that all international arrivals, including returning Britons, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and provide details of where they will be staying to the authorities.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that those who breached the quarantine would be fined 1,000 pounds with health and border officials carrying out spot checks.

“I can’t say just yet how long this quarantine will last for,” Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told BBC TV. “It is something we will be reviewing every three weeks or so.”

The government has indicated that only those arriving from the Irish Republic would be exempt from the quarantine along with those in a number of specific jobs, such as freight drivers.


1:15pm – Karachi, Pakistan — PIA announces sixth special flight for US

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has announced that the sixth special flight for the US will depart from Islamabad on May 31.

A spokesperson of the PIA stated that the flight will depart for Pakistan from the New Jersey on June 1. He added that citizens were registering for the flights at the embassy and four consulates in the US.


1:00pm – Mumbai, India — India reports biggest 24-hour rise in virus cases as lockdown eases

India registered some 6,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, the country’s biggest jump in 24 hours, as New Delhi eases a nationwide lockdown and airlines prepare to resume some domestic flights.

The country of 1.3 billion people reported a total of over 118,000 confirmed cases on Friday, a roughly 5% increase from Thursday’s figures. Included in the total are 3,583 deaths.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended a lockdown, begun on March 25, to May 31, but relaxed rules in areas with lower numbers of cases and allowed state governments to issue their own guidelines on some matters.

India’s airlines will be allowed to resume flights with about a third of operations as of Monday, but only on domestic routes and under rules that are among the strictest in the world.

“This surge in cases has happened after movement of people has been partially allowed. But if you see overall, this is a much lower exponential trajectory as compared to the rest of the world,” said Giridhar Babu, a professor of epidemiology with the Public Health Foundation of India.

“The only question now is: How do you reduce mortality? Do we have the capacity? The answer seems to be yes,” Babu added.

India’s contagion hotspots include the capital New Delhi, financial hub Mumbai, Modi’s home state of Gujarat, and the southern state of Tamil Nadu.


12:55pm – Moscow, Russia — Russia reports record daily rise in new coronavirus deaths

Russia on Friday reported 150 new fatalities from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, a record daily rise, taking the country’s official nationwide death toll from the virus to 3,249.

The country’s coronavirus crisis response centre reported 8,894 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infections to 326,448.


12:45pm – Restaurant association to protest from June 1 onwards if demands not met

All Pakistan Restaurant Associations Joint Action Committee has stated that if their demands are not met then they will protest against the government from June 1.

Committee chairman Sheikh Abdul Wahid has claimed that more than 2.5 million workers have become unemployed due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Wahid, in a press conference, stated that they are ready to follow the SOPs that the government may set for them. He added that there was not even 10% of the work being done through the parcel service.

“Parcel services have been allowed to benefit multi-national fast food outlets,” alleged Wahid.

Meanwhile, Farooq Chaudhry, a member of the committee, said that the government has opened airports, rail transport, shopping malls and shrines but has closed down the restaurants.

Chaudhry warned that if their demands are not met then they will protest on the roads. He also demanded the government to waive off the GST imposed on them for a year.

“We should be considered as an industry and decision should be taken about us,” said Chaudhry. 


12:10pm – Bangkok, Thailand — Thailand to extend coronavirus emergency to end of June

Thailand will maintain its state of emergency over the coronavirus until the end of June, its COVID-19 task force said on Friday, in an effort to keep infections under control as the government prepares to ease restrictions further.

Shopping malls and department stores reopened at the weekend after almost two months of closure as the number of cases slowed, but bars, nightclubs, cinemas, playgrounds and some sports remain off-limits.

The government’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) proposed the extension in response to developments with the global pandemic and to allow time to prepare for further easing at the start of next month.

“The reason for extending the emergency decree for one more month is health security, enabling a unified and continued operation by officials in a pandemic situation that has not been resolved,” said CCSA spokesman Taweesin Wisanuyothin.

The extension is subject to Cabinet approval on Tuesday.


12:00pm – NIH conducts virtual training


11:45am – Lahore, Pakistan — IG Punjab proud of officials performance 

Inspector General Punjab Police Shoaib Dastagir said that his head was held high after seeing the performance of the cops amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Police officers without caring about their lives are standing at the frontline of coronavirus,” said IG Punjab, in a special message to officers on account of Eid and Jummat ul Wida. He added that two police officials have died and close to 500 cops have contracted the virus.

“Close to 100 officers [tested positive for the virus] have returned to their duties after recovering from the virus,” said the IG.


11:30am – Washington DC, US — US adds 1,255 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours: Johns Hopkins

The United States recorded 1,255 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 94,661, according to the latest real-time tally Thursday reported by Johns Hopkins University.

The country — hardest hit by the pandemic in terms of the number of fatalities — has now confirmed a total of 1,576,542 cases, the Baltimore-based school reported.


11:20pm – Quetta, Pakistan — Home minister urges people to follow social distancing 

Balochistan Home Minister Zia Langove has urged the people to follow social distancing and safety precautions while shopping for Eid.

The minister stated that the easing of lockdown has made the chances of coronavirus spreading much higher. He added that if safety precautions are not followed then they will have to seal the markets.


11:00am – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — Brazil passes 20,000 virus deaths after record 24-hour toll

The novel coronavirus death toll in Brazil surpassed 20,000 on Thursday, after a record number of fatalities in a 24-hour period, the health ministry said.

The country is the epicenter of the outbreak in Latin America, and its highest one-day toll of 1,188 pushed the overall death tally to 20,047.

Brazil has now recorded more than 310,000 cases, with experts saying a lack of testing means the real figures are probably much higher.

With its curve of infections and deaths rising sharply, the country of 210 million ranks third in the world in terms of total cases, behind the United States and Russia.

The death toll — the sixth highest in the world — has doubled in just 11 days, according to ministry data.

Despite the worrying spread of the disease, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday continued his calls to scrap lockdown measures to revive a flagging economy.

But almost all of the country’s 27 states are under some sort of lockdown order, though Brazilians are wearying of the restrictions in place since the end of March.


10:35am – Karachi, Pakistan — Complete lockdown not being observed in Sindh today

A complete lockdown will not be observed in Sindh today, and Jummat ul Wida congregations will be held as per the government announced SOPs.

The Sindh government has announced that arrangements will be made where the congregations will be held. 


10:15am Mike Pompeo welcomes Pakistan’s goodwill donation 


10:00am – Berlin, Germany — Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 460 to 177,212

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 460 to 177,212, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

The reported death toll rose by 27 to 8174, the tally showed.


9:55am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Nationwide death tolls rises to 1,067

Death toll in Pakistan due to the coronavirus rose to 1,067 after Islamabad and Punjab reported new deaths.

According to the national dashboard, 13 new deaths were reported in Punjab, two new deaths were recorded in Islamabad.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa leads the tally in the country with the highest number of deaths 365, followed by Sindh 336. Punjab has reported 310 deaths, Balochistan 39, Islamabad 12, four in Gilgit-Baltistan and one in AJK.


9:55am — Islamabad, Pakistan — Confirmed cases jump past 50,000 as Islamabad, AJK, Punjab report new cases

Confirmed cases in the country jumped to 50,694 on Friday after new cases were detected in Islamabad, Punjab, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

According to the national dashboard, 1,073 new cases were recorded in Punjab, 91 new cases were recorded in Islamabad, while 10 new cases were reported in AJK.

SIndh leads the tally in the country with the highest number of infections 19,924, followed by Punjab 18,455. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has reported 7,155 cases, Balochistan 3,074, Islamabad 1,326, 602 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 158 in AJK.


9:35am – Sydney, Australia — Australia’s most populous state to relax restrictions on restaurants, cafes

Australia’s most populous state said on Friday restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus will be eased to allow cafes and restaurants to have up to 50 patrons from June 1.

New South Wales (NSW) state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the easing of restrictions, which currently limit restaurants and cafes to 10 patrons, was needed to revive the local economy.

“Losing 221,000 jobs in April was a disaster. We don’t want to see that continue,” Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

Australia’s hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit by social distancing restrictions imposed in March to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Nationally, nearly 600,000 people were in April forced out of work by the restrictions.


11:34pm/May21 — San Fransisco, USA — Facebook’s Zuckerberg embraces more permanent remote work

Facebook Inc (FB.O) will shift toward more permanently embracing remote work even after coronavirus lockdowns ease, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has told employees in a publicly broadcast livestream.

Zuckerberg said the world’s largest social network would start “aggressively opening up remote hiring,” expecting that about half its workforce would work remotely over the next five to ten years.


10:07pm/May21 — Karachi, Pakistan — Sindh’s cases at a glance

Figures reported by the Sindh health department show that Karachi witnessed a sharp spike in cases over the last 24 hours. The city reported 856 new cases of the total 960 in the province.


9:20pm/May21 — Karachi, Pakistan — Eid congregations to be offered in open spaces: Sindh govt

Sindh government in the 20 points SOPs issued for Eid-ul-Fitr congregations said that they should be prayed in open spaces.

According to the notification issued by the provincial home department security and cleanliness should be ensured for Eid prayers.





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