Taliban to cease fire in areas only affected by coronavirus: Mujahid
 
The Khaama Press | 2nd April
 
The Taliban group has said it would cease fire in areas which would be affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in a bid to allow the medical teams provide healthcare services.
Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson, said in a Twitter post that the Taliban group would cease fire in the areas which are under the control of the group, provided that those areas areas are affected by coronavirus.
He also added that the move should not be interpreted as an act of ceasefire.

 

Coronavirus forecast to render 18.5m jobless in Pakistan
 
The Express Tribune | 3rd April
 
The Ministry of Planning has estimated that 12.3 million to 18.5 million people in the country will lose their jobs and the economy will sustain Rs2 trillion to Rs2.5 trillion losses in just three months due to “moderate to severe shocks from the coronavirus outbreak”.
The ministry in an inter-ministerial 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.

 

Govt adopts three-pronged approach to fight COVID-19
 
The Himalayan Times | 1st April
 
The government has adopted three major strategies in its fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at a press briefing this afternoon, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population Bikash Devkota said quarantine would be strictly implemented under the supervision of security agencies, testing would be made broader, with all those coming from foreign countries to be tested, and the government would spruce up logistic arrangements by running fever clinics and setting up intensive care units.

 

AFGHANISTAN

 
 
Two decades after its ouster, Taliban makes first visit to Kabul
Afghanistan Times | 1st April
Although nearly two decades have passed since the collapse of Taliban regime, Afghanistan has been in a whirl of violent extremism and insurgency and endured nearly as many years of unbroken warfare.
The positive ramifications of a hectic reconciliation effort started to unfold when a group of Taliban delegates has touched down in Kabul reportedly to oversee the release of Taliban prisoners.
 
OIC urges all-Afghan talks, joint coronavirus fight
Daily Outlook Afghanistan | 1st April
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) chief Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen again appealed to all leaders and parties in Afghanistan to work together for an urgent and lasting ceasefire and an end to violence.
The OIC secretary general urged all to engage in dialogue in order to reach comprehensive reconciliation and lasting peace within the framework of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

 
 

BANGLADESH

 
 
Coronavirus: Bangladesh Navy deploys 9 ships to alert fishermen at sea
Dhaka Tribune | 1st April
The Bangladesh Navy has deployed nine ships to alert fishermen and their families in the coastal areas at sea and rivers to create awareness and take precautionary measures regarding the coronavirus spread.
In order to raise awareness, the navy ships are operating in Saint Martin's, Cox's Bazar, Kutubdia, Patharghata, Barguna, Bhasan Char, Payra Port and Chandpur.
 
ADB: Bangladesh economy to remain strong if coronavirus challenges managed well
Dhaka Tribune | 3rd April
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said Bangladesh economy is expected to remain strong if the challenges during Covid-19 pandemic are managed well.
It forecasted 7.8% GDP growth for Bangladesh for the current fiscal year 2019-20 (FY2020), whereas the government had projected an 8.2% growth.
The regional lender made the projection in its Asian Development Outlook 2020 report launched.
“Bangladesh economy continued to perform well despite the global economic slowdown. However, there exists a downward risk due to the Covid-19 global pandemic,” said ADB Country Director Manmohan Parkash.
 
No corruption in relief works will be tolerated: PM Hasina
Prothom Alo | 3rd April
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the people not to pay heed to any rumour regarding coronavirus situation and simultaneously warned that no corruption will be tolerated in the relief distribution as she issued a 31-point directive in view of the outbreak of lethal coronavirus disease.
 
PM asks govt officials, employees to use mask
Bangladesh Post | 2nd April
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked all government officials and employees to use mask while discharging their duty in view of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), reports BSS.
“The prime minister has given directives to all government officials and employees to use mask on the face while performing their duty in the wake of the outbreak of Covid-19,” PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim told BSS today. According to Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), two more new Covid-19 positive cases were detected in the country over the last 24 hours.


 

BHUTAN

 

Contributions come in cash and kind 
Kuensel | 3rd April
Amid growing apprehension about Covid-19, Bhutanese of all walks of life have come forward to make their contributions – some in cash and others in kind.
Within days of the first Covid-19 positive case on March 5, contributions started pouring despite the government saying it was not calling for any budget support.
Samtse Dzongkhag Tshogdu became the first dzongkhag tshogdu to contribute Nu 151,000 to His Majesty’s Kidu Fund for Covid-19.
 
The Test of Loyalty & Commitment Among Bhutanese Employers in Tourism Industry
Daily Bhutan | 3rd April
Amid the crisis we recognized few Bhutanese Tour Operators with generous and compassion souls because COVID-19 will have far-reaching impacts on labour market outcomes. Beyond the urgent concerns about the health of workers and their families, the virus and the subsequent economic shocks will impact the world of work across three key dimensions: 1) The quantity of jobs 2) The quality of work 3) Effects on specific groups who are more vulnerable to adverse labor market outcomes.


 

MALDIVES

 
 
Cabinet extends closure of govt offices, schools
The Edition | 1st April
Health Protection Agency (HPA) announced that the cabinet extended the closure of government institutions, schools colleges and universities for another week as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19.
During a meeting held at President's Office, cabinet members decided that work-from-home solutions will be arranged for necessary tasks, despite government offices being shut down.
 
World Bank approves USD 7.3 mln as COVID-19 support to Maldives
The Edition | 3rd April
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, approved the decision to grant Maldives USD 7.3 million to fund a COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project to assist prevention, detection and the overall response to the ongoing pandemic.
Additionally, the World Bank has enabled Maldives to utilise the USD 10 million contingency financing signed in 2019 under Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Financing with a Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (CAT DDO).
 
Fourth Maldivian tests positive for COVID-19: HPA
Maldives Times | 1st April
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) revealed that the fourth Maldivian tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the agency, the individual in question was found positive for the novel coronavirus while placed under quarantine at the facility located on Velidhoo Island, Alif Alif Atoll, after having recently returned to the Maldives from the United Kingdom (UK).


  

MYANMAR

 
 
Price-gouging retailers to face action: officials
Myanmar Times | 1st April
The government it will take action against retailers who raise prices indiscriminately for items such as hand sanitiser, face masks, medicine, and other essential goods, an official from the Ministry of Commerce says.
A directive addressing the matter will be issued by the ministry, the official said.
A senior official from the Consumer Affairs Department also confirmed that retailers who practise price gouging could face action under the Essential Goods and Services Law.
 
UN to provide assistance for quarantined people in Yangon
Myanmar Times | 3rd April
The United Nations said on Thursday it will provide 5000 sets of linen, mattresses and blankets for people who are quarantined in Yangon for the COVID-19 virus.
The UN’s World Food Programme also plans to provide food assistance to people living in quarantine in the country’s economic capital.
 
Western Myanmar’s Remote Naga Area Braces for COVID-19
The Irrawaddy | 3rd April
Local residents in Leshi Township in the Naga Self-Administered Zone have expressed concerns about a possible COVID-19 outbreak as the township has a serious shortage of health care workers and five residents are already being monitored for coronavirus infection.
U Kyaw Htay, a Lower House lawmaker for Leshi, told The Irrawaddy that there is only one doctor for the two public hospitals in the township.
 

 

NEPAL

 
 
Government—not contractor—chartered flight to ship medical supplies
Kathmandu Post | 2nd April
The government chartered a Nepal Airlines flight to take delivery of the first batch of protective gear, reagents and rapid test kits and other medical supplies, rather than the supplier Omni Business Corporate International, officials at the airlines said
The Department of Health Services had, on March 26, contracted with the Omni firm to supply medical equipment necessary to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. It was supposed to complete the delivery of all goods by April 5.
 
Attending corona patients a must for private hospitals: SC
The Himalayan Times | 1st April
The Supreme Court today directed private hospitals to attend novel coronavirus patients unconditionally.
Issuing an interim order responding to a writ filed by advocates, the SC said all the private hospital should make necessary arrangements to be ready to treat COVID-19 patients.
 
 
 

PAKISTAN

 
 
Pakistan appreciates China’s support to cope with coronavirus
The Nation | 3rd April
Pakistan said China had proved to be an all-weather friend as it provided all possible help amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said China had extended significant relief assistance to Pakistan to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
“On 28 March, a special aircraft from China brought relief assistance to Pakistan including 12,000 test kits, 300,000 masks and 10,000 protective suits. In addition to this, an 8 member medical expert team also arrived in Pakistan from China. The medical team will be in Pakistan for 2 weeks and will also visit Karachi and Lahore. Moreover, the Chinese government has also provided support worth $ 4 million for a separate hospital for Coronavirus patients,” she elaborated.
 
PM wants resumption of construction, CPEC work
Dawn | 3rd April
Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered a relief package specifically for the construction industry and directed resumption of all China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related infrastructure and energy projects.
The package for construction industry will be unveiled today (Friday).
The premier also directed formation of a Codal Research Committee (CRC) for devising an action plan that would allow the centre and provinces to jointly deal with Covid-19’s brunt on the country’s economy.
 

 

SRI LANKA

 
 
World Bank fast-tracks $128 million COVID-19 Coronavirus support for Sri Lanka
Colombo Page | 3rd April
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved the $128.6 million Sri Lanka COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project to help the country prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen its public health preparedness.
The new fast track package will benefit the entire Sri Lankan population and prioritize stopping or slowing the spread of the virus, reducing case numbers, and preventing outbreaks in communities, a statement said.
 
Curfew in 19 Districts to continue till April 6
Daily Mirror | 1st April
Curfew imposed in Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Puttalam, Kandy and Jaffna districts will continue until further notice, Presidential Media Division said.
It said curfew which was lifted in other 19 Districts at 6.00 am today will be re-imposed at 2.00pm and will continue till 6.00 am on April 6.
 
Sri Lanka economy grew at an estimated rate of 2.3 percent in 2019
Colombo Page | 2nd April
Sri Lanka’s economy grew at an estimated rate of 2.3 percent in 2019, the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) said in a report released Tuesday.
The Department of Census and Statistics has released the estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other macroeconomic indicators for the fourth quarter of 2019 and for the year of 2019.
The Gross Domestic Product for Sri Lanka for the year of 2019 (January to December) at constant (2010) price has reached up to Rs. 9,889,379 million while GDP value reported for the year of 2018 was Rs. 9,668,600 million.

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