Coronavirus fatalities recede, infections up in Pakistan
Country registers 50 deaths, 2,482 Covid-19 cases in last 24 hours
After the addition of fresh 2,482 new cases, the total number of infections in Pakistan has risen close to half a million which is 495,075 with Punjab having 142,835 cases, Sindh 221,734, Balochistan 18,300, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 60,229, Islamabad 38,687, Gilgit Baltistan 4,874 and Azad Kashmir 8,416.
The total number of deaths stands at 10,511 after adding fresh 50 deaths while the number of recoveries soared to 450,515.
In the 24 hours preceding 8 am Thursday, Pakistan’s confirmed cases climbed to 495,075. Meanwhile, deaths increased by 50 to 10,511. At the same time, recoveries increased by 2,122 to 450,515, or 91 percent of total infections. There are currently 34,049 active cases of COVID-19 in the country, with the NCOC saying 2,251 of them are in critical condition.
On Thursday, authorities reported 19 deaths due to the coronavirus, raising total casualties to 4,203. The province now has 142,835 confirmed cases; it reported 777 new infections after conducting 15,562 tests, a positivity ratio of 4.99 percent. There were 327 new recoveries recorded, leaving 129,102 fully recovered, and 9,530 active cases of the virus.
Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Sindh have now climbed to 221,734; it reported 1,233 new infections on Thursday after conducting 13,699 tests, a positivity ratio of 9 percent. The province reported 19 new deaths, raising toll to 3,653, while its recoveries rose by 1,072 to 199,649. Overall, the province now has 18,432 active cases of the novel coronavirus.
In the past 24 hours, the provincial government has recorded 274 new infections after conducting 4,798 tests, a positivity ratio of 5.72 percent. Overall, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s confirmed cases have climbed to 60,229. It recorded 7 new deaths, raising toll to 1,702, while its recoveries have risen by 347 to 55,372. There are currently 3,155 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.
The province on Thursday raised its confirmed cases to 18,300 with 20 new infections after conducting 599 tests, a positivity ratio of 3.34 percent. There were no deaths and 26 recoveries in the past 24 hours, leaving 186 fatalities and 17,883 fully recovered. There are now 231 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.
Islamabad on Thursday raised its confirmed coronavirus cases by 156 to 38,687 after conducting 5,167 tests; a positivity ratio of 3.02 percent. There were 2 deaths and 307 recoveries in the past 24 hours, leaving 434 casualties; 35,916 recovered; and 2,337 active cases.
Gilgit-Baltistan reported 1 new case of the novel coronavirus on Thursday after conducting 413 tests, a positivity ratio of 0.24 percent. It now has 4,874 confirmed cases. The region reported no deaths and 5 recoveries, leaving 101 fatalities and 4,722 fully recovered people. There are currently 51 active cases of COVID-19 in the region.
In Azad Kashmir, confirmed cases rose by 20 to 8,416 after conducting 271 tests, a positivity ratio of 7.38 percent. There were 3 deaths and 38 recoveries in the past 24 hours, leaving 232 fatalities and 7,871 fully recovered. It now has 313 active cases of COVID-19.
China reports highest figures since July
China reported 63 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday -- the highest single-day tally since July -- as authorities try to stamp out an outbreak of the virus in a city of 11 million near Beijing.
The virus first emerged in central China in late 2019, but since then authorities have largely brought the situation under control through travel restrictions, strict lockdowns and mass testing.
But a recent outbreak in northern Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, has seen cases spike and prompted mass testing, school closures and travel links being cut into the province.
On Thursday, there were 51 more cases reported in the province, the National Health Commission reported -- plus another 69 asymptomatic cases.
State broadcaster CCTV showed a small crowd gathered outside a railway station in Shijiazhuang being directed by medical staff in full hazmat suits and protective wear.
"I did the nucleic acid test last night, but don't have the results yet. Without it I can't leave the city," one young woman told CCTV.
Major highways leading into the city of Shijiazhuang, around 300 kilometres (200 miles) south of Beijing, have been closed and inter-city bus travel halted in an attempt to prevent the virus spreading beyond the city.
The state-run Global Times reported that railway tickets from Hebei to the capital Beijing were no longer being sold in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.
One district in Shijiazhuang -- which has a population of 11 million -- has been declared high risk and sealed off, and authorities said tens of thousands have already been tested for the virus.
There were also 11 imported cases and one other domestic case in northeastern China confirmed Thursday.
Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
- Moderna jab gets EU green light -
The European Medicines Agency gives the go-ahead for US firm Moderna's vaccine, the second shot to be cleared for use in the EU.
- Record daily toll -
A record 15,769 Covid-19 deaths are registered in the past 24 hours, according to an AFP tally on Wednesday based on official sources.
The coronavirus has killed at least 1,869,674 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019.
The US is the worst-affected country with 357,377 deaths, followed by Brazil with 197,732, India with 150,114 and Mexico with 128,822.
- British record deaths -
- 10,000 cases in Portugal -
In Portugal, health authorities report 10,000 new cases in 24 hours in the nation of just 10 million people.
- China blocks WHO mission -
An expert mission to China to probe the origins of the pandemic is in disarray after Beijing denies entry to the World Health Organization team at the last minute despite months of painstaking negotiations.
With some members of the 10-person team already in transit, China refuses them entry visas, prodding WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to say he was "very disappointed".
It is "not just a visa issue", Beijing foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying insists. "The issue of origin-tracing is incredibly complicated," she tells reporters.
- Ireland closes schools -
The Irish government closes schools for the rest of the month as a "tsunami of infection" threatens to overwhelm the healthcare service.
- Last in line -
The Netherlands administers its first shot to a nursing home worker, as it becomes the last country in the 27-nation EU to start its vaccination programme.
- Britain vaccine vow -
Britain has vaccinated more people than the rest of Europe combined, according to an AFP tally, its prime minister Boris Johnson says, vowing "a sprint, a race to vaccinate the vulnerable faster than the virus can reach them".
- Ukrainian probe -
Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky orders a probe into allegations elected officials smuggled coronavirus vaccines into the country to have themselves inoculated in secret.
- US jobs worry -
US private employment fell by 123,000 jobs in December, the first drop since April, according to private data, in a sign the economy is struggling as the pandemic worsens.
With inputs from AFP.