The largest social assistance program in the country’s history was rolled out on Thursday to lessen impact of the virus lockdown on impoverished communities. Under the program, cash handouts worth around Rs 144 billion will be made in a bid to counter the economic fallout of the Covid-19 crisis.
Around 40 million people received text messages for collection of the amount on the first day of cash distribution under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program. Up to 17,000 branches of two designated banks – Habib Bank Limited and Bank Al-Falah – are disbursing the payments, in addition to 3,000 camp sites established by provinces.
The virus lockdowns across Pakistan have taken a heavy toll on the earnings of daily-wagers. While a few big industries have been allowed to resume operations, the country largely remains shut adversely affecting the poor. So far, the pandemic has affected over 4,500 in Pakistan while claiming 66 lives as the country exhausts its resources in the fight.
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WATCH: How doctors, nurses sickened by Covid-19 are rushing back to front lines in Europe’s coronavirus battle
How long will coronavirus lockdowns, travel bans last?
With a vaccine at least a year away, the world faces an uphill battle. Any one country or region’s success in containing the disease is shaky so long as the pathogen continues to sicken people elsewhere.
This all presumes that SARS-CoV-2 remains stable without significant mutations that may make it more virulent. Scientists say the public health threat the virus represents is the most serious seen in a respiratory virus since the 1918 influenza pandemic, in which as many as 100 million people died across the world.
That portends a long period of intermittent lockdowns for the world, with governments tightening and easing controls as infections surge and fall, as well as continued restrictions on international travel, until a vaccine is found or enough of the world’s population develop immunity through infection, a concept known as herd immunity.
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SHC rejects petition filed for holding Friday prayer congregations
Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday rejected the petition filed for holding congregations for Friday prayers, while justifying provincial government’s measures to curb the virus spread in the province.
“Sindh government did not ban Friday prayers, it directed lowering of population in religious gatherings”, said Additional Advocate General Jawad Dero, adding that the government has taken steps to protect people’s lives from coronavirus.
“Up to 3-5 people are allowed to attend Friday prayers in mosque”, he informed the court.
Ministry of Human Rights issues guideline for elderly
NDMA dispatched more PPEs for Balochistan Hospitals
Global virus death toll passes 94,000, but some signs of hope
Another horror day of the coronavirus pandemic saw the global death toll pass 94,000, although there were tentative signs of hope that the crisis was peaking in the United States and Europe.
The picture of the unfolding economic catastrophe also became clearer with the IMF warning of a Great Depression and data showing 17 million Americans lost their jobs, but a European Union financial rescue package agreement offered some relief to the barrage of bad news.
Another 1,700 people died in the United States on Thursday, while there were hundreds more deaths across Europe, driving the confirmed global toll above 94,000. Nearly half of all pandemic fatalities have occurred over the past week.
But authorities in worst-hit Europe and the United States said a slight decline in daily deaths and infections gave reason to hope the worst could be over.
Coronavirus recoveries reach 727 in Pakistan
With the addition of 200 new recoveries, Pakistan’s tally of patients recovered from the novel coronavirus now stands at 727.
New Coronavirus Cases in Pakistan
- Islamabad: 5
- GB: 5
- AJK: 2
- Punjab: 55
- KP: 65
Up to 150 members of the Saudi royal family infected with coronavirus: report
According to The New York Times, as many as 150 members of the Saudi Arabian royal family may have been infected with coronavirus.
The infections are supposedly a key element in the Saudi decision to announce a ceasefire in Yemen, where Riyadh has been battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels on behalf of the country’s deposed president since 2015.
Saudi Arabia reported its first coronavirus case six weeks ago. There have now been 2,932 confirmed cases in the kingdom, with 41 deaths and 631 recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins University.
US cautiously optimistic as coronavirus curve appears to flatten
US health officials made cautiously optimistic noises about coronavirus despite high death tolls Thursday, suggesting Americans might be able to take summer holidays, as falling hospitalization rates hint at a turning point in the battle against COVID-19.
With unemployment skyrocketing and the economy tanking, President Donald Trump is keen to lift social confinement measures and get the United States open for business again as soon as possible.
Trump’s top pandemic advisor Anthony Fauci warned America cannot be reopened overnight due to the threat of further waves of infections, but said it could be up and running again by the summer months.
Govt okays clinical trial of plasma therapy, locally made ventilators
While the number of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the country has risen to 4,500, the government has taken some major decisions, including approval of clinical trials of plasma therapy and locally made ventilators for treatment of critically ill patients and permission for manufacturing of sanitizers and production of Chloroquine, the medicine for malaria.
On the other hand, the government has come under criticism over its decision to allow export of Chloroquine as Pakistan is located in the ‘malaria belt’ and the medicine is being experimented as a possible treatment for Covid-19.
UK’s Boris Johnson out of intensive care as condition improves
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care as his condition improves, his office said.
Johnson remains in the hospital “where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery,” his office said in an emailed statement on Thursday evening. “He is in extremely good spirits.”
Johnson, 55, announced he was isolating with coronavirus on March 27, and was admitted to St. Thomas’s hospital in London on April 5 after struggling to shake off the symptoms. He was moved to intensive care the following evening when his condition worsened, and was given oxygen but not put on a ventilator.
CM Sindh’s brother in law succumbs to coronavirus
For our coronavirus coverage from April 9, click here.