Japan’s prime minister and the head of the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Games by a year, as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic. The move would be a devastating blow for the city of Tokyo, which had won widespread praise for its organisation, with venues finished well ahead of time and tickets massively oversubscribed.
China has announced to lift the lockdown imposed on coronavirus epicentre Wuhan last December. The decision will come into affect from April 8 after which people will be able to leave the city and the Hubei province, the government announced on Tuesday. The development came after Hubei reported zero new infections on March 19. Previously, China had reported 80,000 cases and 3,200 fatalities from the virus.
Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Tuesday a special economic package to help the people amid the coronavirus lockdown in the country. Rs200 billion will be allocated for labourers and Rs150 billion for poor families and Rs3000 per month will be given to them. The premier also announced Rs100 billion tax refunds for businesses and industries.
Prime Minister Imran Khan gave approval to Pakistan Railways for suspending train operations until March 31 due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The disease caused by the virus, COVID-19, has claimed six lives and infected more than 800 people across the country, as the authorities kick into action to stop the transmission of the virus. The government earlier retracted a notification issued on the shut down of the operations.
Researchers at one of China’s top universities have designed a robot they say could help save lives on the frontline during the coronavirus outbreak. The machine consists of a robotic arm on wheels that can perform ultrasounds, take mouth swabs and listen to sounds made by a patient’s organs. The robot’s chief designer, Zheng Gangtie’s idea was to use the robot to perform the most dangerous tasks as covid-19 is contagious.
Facebook on Monday began enlisting outside developers to create ways its Messenger service can help health organizations battling the novel coronavirus. The social network also invited software savants to take part in an online “hackathon” aimed at creating ways to use Messenger to ease social-distancing and deliver accurate information about the pandemic, according to Messenger vice president Stan Chudnovsky in a blog post.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has announced a nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew from Monday in a bid to limit the spread of the new coronavirus. The curfew from 7 pm until 6 am will be imposed for 21 days. The move comes after Saudi Arabia on Sunday said the number of COVID-19 cases had jumped to 511, the highest in the Gulf. The kingdom has reported no deaths so far.
Authorities in Gaza confirmed the first two cases of the novel coronavirus. The victims are identified as Palestinians who had travelled to Pakistan and were being held in quarantine since their return. The United Nations has warned that a COVID-19 outbreak in Gaza could be disastrous keeping in mind the high poverty rates and weak health system in the coastal strip under Israeli blockade since 2007.
Police have taken into custody 90 people for violating the lockdown in Karachi on Monday as the cases were registered against 24 people for coming out of their homes for no valid reasons. The Sindh government has imposed a lockdown across the province in an attempt to stem the spread of coronavirus. All public places, offices, public transport and bus stands would remain closed for 15 days.
To contain the spread of the coronavirus, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has asked banks to waive charges on any online fund transfers. SBP has instructed banks to waive all charges on fund transfers through online banking channels such as inter-bank fund transfer. They will also not incur any cost in case of using ATMs or visiting bank branches to transfer large amounts and can avoid the use of cash.