3,500 new infections in Pakistan, active cases cross 51,500, deaths 39
US Covid daily death toll surpasses 2,700, highest since April
Pakistan again reported around 3,500 new coronavirus during the past 24 hours as another 39 people died due to the infection, revealed the latest data released by National Command and Operation Centre on Thursday morning.
With the addition of 3,499 cases, the overall number of infections officially recorded in the country reached 406,810.
On the other hand, the death toll climbed to 8,205 with 25 coronavirus patients dying in Punjab, six in Sindh, five in Islamabad and three in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. However, there is some good news: no new death was reported in Azad Kashmir, reversing the recent trend.
As a result, the coronavirus pandemic-related figures for different regions currently stand at:
Sindh 177,625 cases and 2,968 deaths, Punjab 121,083 cases and 3,091 deaths, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 47,919 cases and 1,378 deaths, Islamabad 31,165 cases and 329 deaths, Balochistan 17,268 cases and 169 deaths, Azad Kashmir 7,067 cases and 173 deaths, Gilgit Baltistan 4,683 cases and 97 deaths.
The abovementioned figures showed that Sindh continued reporting the highest number of new cases with nearly 2,000 new infections followed by around 700 in Punjab and over 400 and 200 in Islamabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Wednesday also saw the active coronavirus cases crossing the 51,000 mark. Currently, there are 51,654 patients in Pakistan out of which 3,000 have been hospitalised.
Out of those in hospitals, 2,469 are in a critical condition and being treated in intensive care units with 332 of them placed on ventilators.
Meanwhile, the number of patients recovering from the infection increased to 346,961 with the addition of 1,586 during the past 24 hours.
However, more new cases are being reported daily when compared with the recovery rate, which is obviously overburdening the fragile healthcare system.
The authorities on Wednesday administered 42,904 more tests in their efforts to identify, isolate and trace new coronavirus cases to control the infection rate, increasing the overall number to 5,627,539.
US daily death toll surpasses 2,700
The US death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 2,700 in one day as of Wednesday evening, the highest since April, Johns Hopkins University said.
The new tally of 2,731 fatalities raises the overall known death toll in America to 273,181 since the pandemic started late last year. The number of new infections over the past 24 hours was 195,121, the university said.
The number of people being treated in US hospitals for Covid-19 topped 100,000 for the first time on Wednesday, a monitor said. "There are 100,226 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the US -- the first time hospitalizations have exceeded 100k," the COVID Tracking Project said in a tweet.
South Africa fears virus comeback
Localised coronavirus outbreaks in parts of South Africa have raised fears that the country could see a resurgence in cases compounded by gatherings during the upcoming festive season.
Officials in Africa's hardest virus-hit country are scrambling to contain infections after a flare-up was reported in the impoverished Eastern Cape province and adjacent Western Cape province last month.
The national number of new daily cases crept over 3,000 last week, up 50 percent from an average of 2,000 earlier in November. More than half the increase is driven by infections in the Eastern Cape and around 25 percent by cases in the Western Cape.
"(The) small cluster outbreaks which we are seeing... are transient," Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said during an emergency trip to the Eastern Cape last week.
"Something has to be done," he stressed.
South Africa's coronavirus transmission rate had slowed significantly after infections peaked in July, with less than three daily cases detected per 100,000 people between the end of August and the start of November.
Latest global developments
Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
- UK approves vaccine -
Britain becomes the first Western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, announcing a rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab from next week.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock claims Brexit helped it push approval through faster than the EU, which is likely to give the green light later this month.
- Putin orders 'large-scale' jabs -
Russian President Vladimir Putin tells health officials to start widespread vaccinations next week, adding that Russia has produced close to two million doses of its Sputnik V vaccine.
Teachers and medics will be the first to receive the jab, which will be free to all Russian citizens.
- Americas cases surge 30 percent -
The cumulative total of Covid-19 cases surged by nearly 30 percent, or by over six million, across the Americas region in November, the Pan American Health Organization, covering North, South and Central America as well as the Caribbean, says.
- England opens up -
England exits a month-long lockdown, but most of Britain remains under restrictions as a new regional system for cutting infection rates kicks in.
- Austria allows Christmas skiing -
With European countries at odds over whether to allow skiing over Christmas, Austria's government announces that it will be allowed again from December 24 but that hotels will remain shut over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
- Olympics scenario -
Olympic officials issue a 54-page report outlining how they believe the Tokyo Games can go ahead, even if the pandemic is not under control by the new start date of July 2021. It involves clear rules for athletes and spectators.
- Anti-virus spray -
US scientists are working on a nasal spray that will stop infection from the virus. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the biotech firm Regeneron are testing the gene therapy on animals.
- US quarantine -
US health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend shortening the quarantine period for people exposed to Covid-19, from 14 to 10 days if they haven't taken a test and have not developed symptoms.
- Fake vaccines warning -
Interpol warns that organised crime groups could attempt to steal supplies of vaccines or sell their own fake ones.
- Nearly 1.5 million dead -
The virus death toll nudged closer to the 1.5 million mark, with at least 1,482,240 killed by Covid-19, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Wednesday.
The US is the worst-affected country with 270,691 deaths, followed by Brazil with 173,817, India with 138,122, Mexico with 106,765 and the UK with 59,051.
- Wages dragged down -
The coronavirus crisis "is likely to inflict massive downward pressure on wages in the near future" with women and low-paid workers bearing the brunt, the International Labour Organization says.