Pakistan corona deaths rise to 6,507 as India’s tops 100,000
Employees gather outside a closed restaurant after been sealed by authorities for violating Covid-19 prevention guidelines in Karachi.–AFP
According to the latest data issued by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday morning, the country recorded eight deaths from coronavirus during the last 24 hours (Friday) taking the tally to 6,507 while the total number of infections now stood at 313,984 with the addition of 553 new cases.
Sindh still is the worst-affected province as far as the number of coronavirus cases are concerned followed by Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad.
Till Friday, 137,783 Covid cases have been confirmed in Sindh, 99,665 in Punjab, 37,908 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 16,713 in Islamabad, 15,323 in Balochistan, 2,776 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 3,816 in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Furthermore, 2,517 individuals have lost their lives to the epidemic in Sindh, 2,238 in Punjab, 1,260 in KP, 146 in Balochistan, 183 in Islamabad, 88 in Gilgit Baltistan and 75 in Azad Kashmir.
Pakistan has so far conducted 3,615,244 coronavirus tests and 35,071 in last 24 hours. As many as 298,593 coronavirus patients have recovered in the country so far whereas 511 patients are in critical condition. The total number of active cases in Pakistan are now 8,884.
A total of 100,842 people have now died, health ministry figures showed, giving India the third-highest death toll in the world behind the United States and Brazil.
In terms of infections, India has recorded 6.47 million cases and is on course to overtake the US as the country with the most infections in the coming weeks.
"We do not know the reliability of death rates in India," virologist T. Jacob John told AFP.
"India does not have a public health surveillance system, documenting real-time all disease events and deaths," he said.
Even though India is carrying out around one million tests per day, as a percentage of the population its testing rate is much lower than many other countries.
The United States, for example, has tested more than five times as many people as India proportionately, according to tracking website Worldometer.
That India's real numbers might be much worse than the official data suggest is borne out by a string of studies measuring antibodies to the virus among the population.
On Tuesday, India's lead pandemic agency released a survey suggesting that more than 60 million people -- 10 times the official figure -- could have contracted the virus.
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At the same time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is pressing ahead with opening up Asia's third-largest economy even as virus cases surge.
A strict lockdown imposed in March not only failed to stop the spread of the virus but also caused misery for millions of people suddenly left jobless.
In the last quarter, the Indian economy -- which even before the pandemic was struggling -- shrank 24 percent, one of the steepest drops of any major economy.
International commercial flights remain suspended although limited services, many to allow citizens to return to their home countries, have been operating.
Trains, metros, domestic flights, markets and restaurants have already reopened or resumed service, with some restrictions.
On Wednesday, the government said that all schools could re-open along with cinemas and swimming polls, subject to certain conditions.
Uttar Pradesh state, home to 200 million people, is allowing religious events from October 15, clearing the way for major gatherings in India's upcoming festive season.
The state of Bihar will allow its 70 million voters to cast ballots in upcoming elections, one of the biggest to take place worldwide since the pandemic began.
Dildar Singh Rana, 57, said the hospitality industry that he works in has seen "destruction" and has no choice but to open up despite the health risks.
"The virus is on the rampage... But we fear losing out to rivals with deep pockets so we have to venture out and start our business," he told AFP.
Laid off during the lockdown, Priya Hemnani, 25, from the city of Faizabad said she believes the pandemic is having a major effect on Indians' mental health.
"Depression, anxiety disorders and stress have become a part of my daily lifestyle," she told AFP.
With inputs from AFP