Pakistan Reports First 2 Coronavirus Deaths in One Day; 301 Affected So Far

  • Pakistan reported its first two coronavirus deaths on March 18
  • Both deaths were reported from KP within hours
  • Number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan has risen to 301
  • Sindh has been affected the most with 208 confirmed cases so far
  • Punjab has reported 33, Baluchistan 23, KP 19, AJK/GB 16, and Islamabad 2 cases
  • Center and provinces continue to announce measures to curb the spread

Pakistan reported its first two coronavirus deaths on March 18, both in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The first person who succumbed to the deadly disease was a 50-year-old man who had returned from Saudi Arabia and was being treated at Mardan Medical Complex (MMC). The second death followed within hours where a 36-year-old man from Hangu being treated at Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital lost his fight against the virus.

Meanwhile, confirmations of more positive cases continued to flood in throughout the day from all parts of the country. Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) also reported its first positive case, a 45-year-old who had returned from Taftan recently and was now kept in isolation. Tourist curbs were announced by Punjab, KP, and GB governments to restrict the spread. KP and Punjab also announced partial lockdowns that include social and commercial restrictions.

CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah announced establishment of a Rs3 billion fund to boost efforts to tackle the epidemic. President Alvi, FM Qureshi, and other members of the delegation who visited China earlier this week have tested negative for the virus. Alvi and Qureshi had announced on Wednesday that they would be going in self-isolation as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, a new study carried out by scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), University of California, Los Angeles and Princeton, emerged on March 18 revealing that the novel coronavirus can survive in the air for hours and on surfaces for days. This may force us to revisit our approach to personal hygiene and the use of face masks which so far has been discouraged by health practitioners.

Here are the latest updates.

11.15 am

U.S. Imposes Fresh Sanctions on Iran

The United States imposed fresh sanctions on Iran, keeping up its economic pressure campaign despite an earlier offer to help Tehran cope with the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. also called on the Islamic Republic to release detained Americans.

10.45 am

U.S. suspending visa services worldwide due to coronavirus – State Department

The United States is suspending all routine visa services as of Wednesday in most countries worldwide due to the coronavirus outbreak, a spokeswoman for the State Department said, an unprecedented move that will potentially impact hundreds of thousands of people.

The Department did not say which or how many countries are halting services but U.S. missions in more than half a dozen countries including South Korea, South Africa, Germany and Spain on their web sites announced that they were either stopping or significantly reducing services.

Source: Reuters

10.30 am

Wuhan Reports No New COVID-19 Cases for First Time Since Outbreak

Wuhan, China’s coronavirus epicenter, has reported no new cases of the disease for the first time since the outbreak began there in late December.

According to China’s health ministry, 34 cases were detected over the last 24 hours with all positives coming in people arriving in the country from abroad.

The development of zero new local transmission cases in Wuhan or the surrounding Hubei province could mark the beginning of the outbreak’s end.

10.00 pm

WHO to Launch Multinational Trial to Jumpstart Search for Coronavirus Drugs

The World Health Organization said Wednesday that it would launch a multiarm, multicountry clinical trial for potential coronavirus therapies, part of an aggressive effort to jumpstart the global search for drugs to treat Covid-19.

Four drugs or drug combinations already licensed and used for other illnesses will be tested, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Ten countries have already indicated they will take part in the trial.

Source: StatNews

9.30 am

WB, ADB to provide $588m to Pakistan

The Ministry of Planning on Wednesday cleared an amount of US$238 million from World Bank funding and endorsed another $350 million funding offered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in support for the COVID-19 emergency response in Pakistan and to address the socio-economic disruption associated with it.

A special meeting of Concept Clearance Committee of Central Development Working Party (CDWP) was held here on Wednesday under the Chairmanship of Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan, said a press release issued here.

Source: Pakistan Observer

8.50 am

COVID-19: The World in Numbers

As of March 19, 8:50 am (PKT) 219,240 coronavirus cases have been reported across the world with 8,967 deaths and 85,745 recoveries.

China remains the country worst hit by the VOCID-19 outbreak reporting about 80,928 cases, 3,245 deaths, and 70,420 recoveries. Italy follows with 35,713 cases, 2,978 deaths, and 4,025 recoveries. Iran is also hit bad with17,361 cases, 1,135 deaths, and 5,710 recoveries.

Spain, Germany, the USA, France, S. Korea, Switzerland, and the UK, among other countries, are also seeing sharp surges in the number of reported cases.

8.00 am

Iran Coronavirus Deaths Surge Past 1,100

Iran on Wednesday reported its single biggest jump in fatalities from the coronavirus as another 147 people died, raising the country’s overall death toll to 1,135.

The nearly 15% spike in deaths — amid a total of 17,361 confirmed cases in Iran — marks the biggest 24-hour rise in fatalities since Iranian officials first acknowledged infections of the virus in mid-February.

For our coronavirus coverage from March 18, click here.