Pakistan reports uptick in daily coronavirus deaths
As Pakistan prepares to launch its vaccination plan, the country again recorded a surge in coronavirus cases as it reported 63 deaths and 1,220 new infections during the last 24 hours (Monday), showed figures released by the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on Tuesday morning.
After adding the number of new fatalities, the death toll has shot up to 11,746 while the total number of confirmed cases reached to 547,648 after adding 1,220 fresh infections.
As many as 502,537 patients have recovered from the disease with 1,881 critical cases of Covid-19 admitted at different hospitals in the country.
As usual, Sindh remained the worst-hit province by the pandemic in terms of cases followed by Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad.
As many as 247,727 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 158,220 in Punjab, 67,419 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 41,493 in Islamabad, 18,830 in Balochistan, 9,050 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 4,909 in Gilgit Baltistan.
Furthermore, 4,793 individuals have lost their lives to the epidemic in Punjab, 4,004 in Sindh, 1,912 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 475 in Islamabad, 264 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, 196 in Balochistan and 102 in Gilgit Baltistan.
Following the arrival of 0.5m doses of Covid-19 vaccine from China, the vaccination drive is set to begin across the country on Wednesday.
In the first phase, the doses will be used to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers. According to data shared by the NCOC, over 400,000 health professionals have applied for the vaccination.
Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
- Vaccines summit -
German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts talks with European Union officials and Covid-19 vaccine makers as the bloc desperately seeks to boost its sluggish inoculation campaign.
Hours before the meeting BioNTech and Pfizer say they will ramp up their vaccine deliveries to the 27-nation EU, pledging to send up to 75 million extra doses in the next few months.
And the EU executive indicates that it is shifting its early Covid-19 vaccination strategy away from AstraZeneca after the Anglo-Swedish company fell far short in its delivery of doses.
- South Africa gets vaccine -
South Africa takes delivery of its first shipment of coronavirus vaccines, one million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, paving the way to the first phase of inoculation in Africa's worst-hit country.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announces in an address to the nation South Africa has "passed the peak" of the second virus wave, allowing for the easing of restrictions ahead of first vaccinations this month.
- England tests -
Health officials in England say they will increase testing in eight areas where nearly a dozen South African Covid-19 variant cases have been identified in the last week.
- US economy to recover -
The US economy will recover from the coronavirus pandemic by the middle of 2021, but employment not until 2024, the US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says.
- Russian economy shrinks -
Russia's economy contracted by 3.1 percent in 2020 as the oil producing nation was hit by lockdowns and plunging global crude prices.
- French border -
French border police turn away some passengers bound for non-EU destinations as new rules come into force banning flights to and from countries outside the bloc.
- Germany to Portugal's aid -
Germany says it will send medical experts, field hospital beds and respiratory machines to Portugal where hospitals are struggling to cope with the worst coronavirus infections surge in the world.
- Restaurant rebellion -
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire says restaurants opening illegally during lockdown will have relief payments cut after two dozen in Paris alone were caught serving in secret -- including one opposite the police headquarters.
- Emirates to deliver -
Emirates Airline says it will make daily deliveries of coronavirus vaccines to countries with low storage capacities as part of an initiative to accelerate global jab distribution.
- Italy, Poland reopen -
Most regions of Italy are now allowing bars, restaurants and museums to open during the day.
Poland is reopening museums, libraries, galleries and shopping malls.
Tajikistan reopens its religious buildings.
- Rhinos saved -
The number of rhinos killed in South Africa in 2020 dropped by 33 percent, official figures show, partly helped by a national lockdown which severely limited movement by poachers.
- More than 2.2 million dead -
The coronavirus has killed more than 2,227,605 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally based on official sources.
The countries with the most deaths are the US with 441,331, Brazil with 224,504 and Mexico with 158,536.
The global death toll, calculated from official daily figures published by national health authorities, is an underestimate. It does not include later revisions by statistics agencies.
With inputs from AFP.