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Pakistan serious about Pathankot probe: US

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The US has said it is encouraged by the fact that the Pakistan government has condemned the Pathankot terror attack and promised investigation.

“Our expectation is that investigation will be thorough and complete and as transparent as possible. But in terms of its progress and where they are, you’d have to talk to Pakistani authorities on it,” State Department Spokesman John Kirby said at his daily news conference.

“We’re encouraged by the fact that the Pakistani Government condemned the attack and said that they would investigate,” he said.

The spokesman said that the US would like the two countries to continue with their peace talks.

Last week US Secretary of State John Kerry asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to find out the truth and stressed on the need to stay focused on the pressing challenge of terrorism in the region.

“He (Kerry) certainly encouraged India and Pakistan to work bilaterally to continue discussions and to try to work through these problems. I don t think they spoke with any great detail or specificity about the next round of talks and what’s on the calendar. But writ large, yes, this was a topic of discussion with the Prime Minister,” Kirby said.

In their call on January 9, Kerry and Sharif talked a lot about this issue.

“Then he stressed that it’s obviously United States interest that India and Pakistan continue to look for ways to work better together to…terrorism concerns but to reduce the tensions between the two countries,” he said.

“…the State Department remains focused and committed to working bilaterally and multilaterally on counterterrorism challenges,” Kirby said in response to a question.

Meanwhile, senior US officials believe that Pakistan is serious about investigation this time unlike in the past.

“We do not talk much in detail about the diplomatic conversations. He (Kerry) came away believing that the Pakistani government is serious about this particular incident, serious about investigating it, serious about trying to work with partners in the region, Afghanistan specifically,” a senior State Department official said.

“I am not going to define it as change in tone. I think, we all recognise that more can be done, including by Pakistan.

But that does not mean that we would not keep working at it,” the senior administration official said when asked if Secretary Kerry feels that there is a change in tone of the Pakistanis given that they have been dilly-dallying on similar issues in the past.

Disaster

UK PM still showing COVID-19 symptoms: Downing Street

Meanwhile, the government’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, is also continuing to self-isolate and has not given an update on his condition, Metro newspaper reported.

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Boris Johnson

London, April 3 : UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was still showing symptoms of coronavirus the day before his seven-day quarantine period was supposed to end, Downing Street has confirmed.

The Prime Minister set aside a week to self-isolate on march 27 in accordance with public health advice and has been leading the government via video conference from hs residence at 10, Downing Street, reports the London-based Metro newspaper.

Asked at a media briefing whether Johnson planned to leave on Friday, a spokesperson said: “We’re following the guidelines from Public Health England (PHE) and from the chief medical officer which state that you need to self-isolate for a period of seven days, so no change in that.”/

The spokesperson described Johnson’s symptoms as “mild”.

Meanwhile, the government’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, is also continuing to self-isolate and has not given an update on his condition, Metro newspaper reported.

But Health Secretary Matt Hancock left quarantine on Thursday after seven days and gave a press conference setting out a five-point plan to ramp up testing to 100,000 a day.

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UN: Mass spread of COVID-19 in Global South will impact the world

UN officials say every resource must be mobilised to prevent a ‘wildfire’ of cases in fragile states and refugee camps.

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Antonio Guterres

Coronavirus has upended lives and workplaces around the world, with more than a third of the globe under lockdown.

At the United Nations headquarters in New York, where about 10,000 people usually work, a skeleton staff of a few hundred are on site, ensuring the world body’s vital operations continue – such as peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads fast, the UN is critically concerned about those most vulnerable, especially refugees and people trapped in conflict situations.

The UN has launched a $2bn global humanitarian appeal to assist fragile states and those most vulnerable.

It says prevention and suppression of the virus must be a priority for leaders of all countries.

Leading UN officials have also called for all conflicts to cease and warring parties to focus their efforts on tackling the coronavirus.

To discuss the global efforts against COVID-19 and the risks facing the world’s most vulnerable populations, Talk to Al Jazeera speaks to Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general; Mark Lowcock, the under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs; and Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

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Coronavirus pandemic to render 18.5mn jobless in Pak

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pakistan coronavirus

Islamabad, April 3 : The Pakistan government has estimated that 12.3 million to 18.5 million people in the country will lose their jobs and the economy will sustain massive losses in just three months due to “moderate to severe shocks from the coronavirus outbreak”, it was reported on Friday.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Planning in a meeting discussed the preliminary estimates, which are based on information received from various government entities and initial research conducted by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, reports The Express Tribune.

Initial estimates have showed that in case of limited restrictions, about 1.4 million jobs will be lost, which are equal to 2.2 per cent of Pakistan’s employed workforce.

In a moderate scenario where private offices and most shops are closed, but essential shops were open, the government has estimated that 12.3 million people would become jobless.

“On employment, we can assess that under moderate restrictions employment loss could be up to 12 million, around 20 per cent of the employed labour force,” Jahanzeb Khan, the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission told The Express Tribune.

In case of a complete shutdown, the government has assessed that 18.53 million people or 30 per cent of the labour force will be unemployed.

In monetary terms, the loss of wages will translate into 561 billion Pakistani rupees for three months alone.

The Ministry also assessed losses at 1.2 trillion Pakistani rupees in a limited lockdown scenario, 1.96 trillion in moderate and 2.5 trillion in case of complete restrictions on movement, which symbolises a curfew-like situation.

“It is widely believed that the impact of the virus and severity of lockdowns on the overall economy may have a severe impact on the economic performance parameters,” Khan added.

The government also expected a sharp slowdown in trade activities.

“On the trade side, there is an expected sharp slowdown in imports from 35 per cent up to 60 per cent, depending upon the severity of the crisis,” Khan told The Express Tribune.

Pakistan has so far reported 2,441 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 35 deaths.

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