Pakistan reports only one coronavirus death, 208 infections in a day

NIH data shows positivity ratio stands at 0.71% with active cases at 8,825: UK Covid infections hit record high as free tests end: US lifts virus expulsion policy

By: News Desk
Published: 09:33 AM, 2 Apr, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: A nurse administers a second Covid-19 booster shot to US army veteran Robert Hall at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Hines, Illinois.–AFP
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Pakistan has reported only one death and 208 infections by coronavirus pandemic during the last 24 hours (Friday), showed the figures released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Saturday morning.

As per the latest NIH data, with the addition of one more death the toll has gone up to 30,360, whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,525,181 after adding the fresh 208 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Friday), 29,176 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 0.71 percent. The number of patients in critical care was 374.

During the last 24 hours (Friday), as many as 72 patients have recovered from the virus whereas the total recoveries stood at 1,485,996. As of Saturday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 8,825.

As many as 575,473 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 505,087 in Punjab, 219,081 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,083 in Islamabad, 35,475 in Balochistan, 43,274 in Azad Kashmir and 11,708 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 13,557 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,097 in Sindh, 6,322 in KP, 1,023 in Islamabad, 792 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.

National Institute of Health Pakistan made public the coronavirus latest figures for the first time today after taking control of the operations from National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).

UK's Covid infections hit record high

Rates of Covid infection have hit a record high in the UK, official data showed Friday, just as free government testing ended for millions in England.

Some 4.9 million people in the UK are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week ending March 26, or 600,000 more than the previous week, the latest survey by the Office for National Statistics said.

It said one in 13 people in England are estimated to have had Covid during that week, up from one in 16 the week before. 

The rate in Scotland was higher still, at one in 12.

"The rapid rise continues to be fuelled by the growth of the Omicron BA.2 variant across the UK," ONS senior statistician Kara Steel said.

Tim Spector, a professor of epidemiology at King's College London, told Times Radio the timing of the government's end of free testing in England "couldn't really be worse".

From Friday, most people in England have to pay for their own lateral-flow test kits for Covid. Free testing will only be available in healthcare settings.

General free tests will continue for now in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which set their own health policy.

The Alzheimer's Society has been campaigning to keep tests free for all people visiting their relatives in English care homes.

"With the end of Covid rules, people may well assume infections are dwindling," said James White, the charity's head of public affairs.

"But the reality is that cases have been soaring, which means scrapping all isolation rules and ending free tests is a dangerous gamble."

However, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said people must "learn to live with Covid".

"We are one of the most open and free countries in the world now, and that's because of decisions that we've taken as a country," he said, after England's last legal curbs were lifted in February.

US lifting pandemic border expulsion policy in May

The United States announced Friday it was lifting a public health order imposed because of the Covid-19 pandemic that required the immediate expulsion of migrants arriving at the southern border.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's so-called Title 42 public health order would be lifted next month.

Republican lawmakers condemned the move, arguing that it will lead to a surge in arrivals, but it was welcomed by migrant advocates.

"Title 42 remains in place until May 23 and, until then, DHS will continue to expel single adults and families encountered at the Southwest border," Mayorkas said in a statement. 

Title 42, which was put in place in March 2020 by former president Donald Trump, required the expulsion of unauthorized single adults and family units arriving at US land borders -- not letting them apply for asylum -- to protect against the spread of Covid-19.

"After considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight Covid-19... the CDC Director has determined that an Order suspending the right to introduce migrants into the United States is no longer necessary," the CDC said.

Mayorkas said more border agents were being deployed to "process new arrivals, evaluate asylum requests, and quickly remove those who do not qualify for protection."

"We will increase personnel and resources as needed and have already redeployed more than 600 law enforcement officers to the border," he said.

Migrant advocates had argued that Title 42 was becoming outdated as the pandemic eased and an affront to international conventions allowing people to claim asylum.

With the lifting of Title 42, "DHS will process individuals encountered at the border pursuant to Title 8, which is the standard procedure we use to place individuals in removal proceedings," Mayorkas said. 

"Nonetheless, we know that smugglers will spread misinformation to take advantage of vulnerable migrants," he said.

"Let me be clear: those unable to establish a legal basis to remain in the United States will be removed."

Crossings from Mexico have been surging in recent weeks and Republican lawmakers have warned of a "humanitarian disaster."

- 'Frightening decision' -

"The border crisis is about to get a whole lot worse," House Republicans tweeted after the announcement of the termination of Title 42.

"Worst domestic news today: the Biden Administration will admit double or more the number of 'undocumented' immigrants at the border," said Republican Senator Mitt Romney.

"Best GOP political news today: the same as above. (Arizona, Nevada, and more Dem senators will lose their elections)."

Border guards expelled illegal migrants 1.7 million times in the last fiscal year -- the highest number ever recorded and four times the number of expulsions posted in Trump's last year in the White House, when numbers were down in part because of the pandemic.

President Joe Biden's own Democratic Party has been divided over plans to loosen restrictions at the border.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia called the move a "frightening decision."

"Title 42 has been an essential tool in combatting the spread of Covid-19 and controlling the influx of migrants at our southern border," Manchin said.

The lifting of Title 42 was welcomed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

"The new order is a huge step forward in the fight to ensure that people fleeing violence and persecution will once again be able to seek safety in this country, as our laws require," said Jonathan Blazer, director of border strategies at the ACLU.

"Title 42 has been misused for over two years to illegally shut down asylum at the southern border and send thousands of people directly back into harm's way," Blazer said. 

According to advocacy organization Human Rights First, Title 42 expulsions had led to nearly 10,000 reports of kidnap, torture, rape and other violent attacks against people blocked in or sent back to Mexico.

With inputs from AFP.