ISLAMABAD / KARACHI / PESHAWAR / LAHORE / QUETTA / MUZAFFARABAD: 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 5.5 million people in 202 countries and territories of the world – and over 345,000 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 57,705 with 20,654 cases in Punjab, 22,934 in Sindh, 8,080 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 3,468 in Balochistan, 630 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 1,728 in Islamabad and 211 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The virus has claimed at least 1,197 lives while about 18,314 coronavirus patients have recovered.

The situation remains fluid and we’re updating stats as soon as new figures are officially released.

Follow The Express Tribune’s live coverage of the pandemic here.

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10:00am: Japan offers cooperation to Pakistan to overcome challenges posed by coronavirus

Japan has offered to continuously cooperate with Pakistan to overcome the challenges posed by the spread of COVID-19 worldwide.

In his letter to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi also expressed his heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the government and families over the loss of precious lives in Karachi plane crash.

line-945-15248325229:30am: PM Imran, Abu Dhabi crown prince discuss Covid-19 pandemic, debt relief

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan on Monday discussed matters related to the global outbreak of Covid-19, and prospects of enhanced bilateral cooperation to address the pandemic.

The deliberation was held during a telephone call made by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) prince to the premier.

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line-945-15248325229:00am: Number of COVID-19 cases soar to 57,705

The number of coronavirus infection cases in the country has soared to 57,705 with 1,356 cases reported during the last 24 hours.

According to National Command and Operation Center, 20,654 cases have so far been detected in Punjab, 22,934 in Sindh, 8,080 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 3,468 in Balochistan, 1,728 in Islamabad, 630 in Gilgit-Baltistan, and 211 in Azad Kashmir.

18,314 patients have so far recovered from the virus while the death toll stands at 1,197 with 30 reported during the last 24 hours.