No let-up in Covid strikes as 82 more dead, 2,184 infected
As there was no let-up in coronavirus infections across Pakistan, another 82 people lost their lives to the deadly virus while 2,184 new cases were reported during the last 24 hours, reported the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday morning.
According to the latest NCOC data, out of the 82 deaths, 44 died on ventilators. As of Saturday, the total active cases in the country stand at 35,130.
At least 10,258 people have died so far while 438,974 have recovered across Pakistan, making it a significant count.
Pakistan has so far recorded 484,362 cases with Sindh remained first in terms of new cases followed by Punjab and other provinces.
Till now 216,632 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Sindh, 139,341 in Punjab, 59,023 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 38,020 in Islamabad, 18,181 in Balochistan, 8,303 in Azad Kashmir and 4,862 in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Moreover, 4,085 individuals have lost their lives in Punjab 3,582 in Sindh, 1,661 in KP, 421 in Islamabad, 224 in Azad Kashmir, 184 in Balochistan and 101 in GB.
Pakistan has conducted 38,229 test during the last 24 hours while total number of tests now stands at 6,775,307.
Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
- US passes 20 million virus cases -
The United States has now recorded more than 20 million cases of Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.
The US has so far registered over 346,000 deaths in the pandemic, the Baltimore-based university said, making it the country with by far the highest official number of cases and the highest death toll.
- Muted New Year celebrations -
Fireworks burst above eerily quiet landmarks from Sydney Harbour Bridge to Copacabana beach, as the world ushers in the New Year with muted celebrations.
In New York's famous Times Square, the public is blocked from entry and the usual overflow crowd replaced with a group of specially invited frontline workers, separated by barricades to enforce social distancing.
- Illegal rave -
Around 2,500 partygoers attend an illegal New Year rave in northwestern France, violently clashing with police who failed to stop it and sparking concern the underground event could spread the virus, authorities say.
- WHO emergency validation -
The World Health Organization grants emergency validation to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, paving the way for countries worldwide to quickly approve its import and distribution.
The WHO says the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the first to receive its "emergency validation" since the virus first broke out in China a year ago.
- UK nears one million vaccinated -
Britain says it has vaccinated almost 950,000 people, as a surge in cases prompts the reopening of field hospitals.
According to the latest government figures, 944,539 people in the UK had received a first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as of Sunday.
A second approved vaccine, developed by Oxford University and British drugs firm AstraZeneca, will be given from next week.
- France: no 'unjustifiable delays' -
With France's vaccination programme so far paling in comparison to many other EU countries, President Emmanuel Macron in his New Year address vows to avoid "unjustifiable delays" in efforts to immunise citizens against Covid-19.
Since Sunday, fewer than 200 people have been given the Pfizer/BioNTech jab in the country.
Shortly before Macron's speech, Health Minister Olivier Veran announces plans to expand the vaccination campaign which so far has solely targeted care-home residents and health workers aged over 65.
Veran says that from Monday health workers aged over 50 could also get the jab.
- Ramping up vaccine production -
The German firm BioNTech says it is racing to ramp up production of its Covid-19 jab in Europe, to fill the "gap" left by the lack of other approved vaccines.
- NBA tracking devices -
The NBA is expected to require its players to wear tracking devices on team buses and airplanes in its ongoing fight to control the spread of the virus, US media reports.
The sensor program will go into effect on January 7 and will involve players and team officials, including coaches, American sports broadcaster ESPN says.
- No Neymar mega party -
Football superstar Neymar laughs off controversy over reports he had been planning a mega New Year's party for 500 guests, taking to Instagram several hours before midnight to show his plans, which he described as small-scale.
- 1.8 million dead -
The coronavirus has killed at least 1,818,946 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally on Friday based on official sources.
More than 83.5 million cases have been registered.
The United States is the worst-affected country with more than 346,000 deaths, followed by Brazil with 194,949 and India with 148,994.
The tallies are based on daily tolls provided by health authorities in each country and exclude later re-evaluations by statistical organisations, as has happened in Russia, Spain and Britain.
With inputs from AFP.