Pakistan posts another 73 coronavirus infections, no death

NIH data shows positivity ratio edges up to 0.54%: Canada suspends random Covid tests at airports: US says Moderna vaccine effective in under-fives

By: News Desk
Published: 10:51 AM, 11 Jun, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: A Pyongyang City Sanitation and Quarantine Station staff member testing for Covid-19 coronavirus infections in the North Korean capital.–AFP
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Pakistan has registered another 73 coronavirus infections and no death during the last 24 hours (Friday), showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Saturday morning.

As per the latest NIH data, the death toll remained unchanged at 30,381, whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,531,112 after adding the fresh 73 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Friday), 13,635 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 0.54 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 51.

During the last 24 hours (Friday), another 53 people recovered from the Covid-19 and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,497,904. As of Saturday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 2,827.

As many as 577,832 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 507,408 in Punjab, 219,721 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,544 in Islamabad, 35,505 in Balochistan, 43,350 in Azad Kashmir and 11,752 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 13,565 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,107 in Sindh, 6,324 in KP, 1,024 in Islamabad, 792 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.

Canada suspends random Covid tests at airports over travel delays

Canada is suspending random Covid tests at airports until the end of June in a bid to reduce chronic delays to travelers in recent weeks, the government said Friday. 

The tests will be put on hold from Saturday and will resume "off site" on July 1, according to a government statement.

"We continue to work with airports, airlines, baggage handlers, and other partners to implement solutions to reduce delays as we approach the summer peak season," it said.

Numerous aviation officials have spoken out against the tests in recent weeks, saying they have worsened wait times at airports, already hit by understaffing.

In Toronto, as in Montreal, it takes several hours for passengers to leave the airport. A nationwide labor shortage has worsened recently and is affecting all sectors. 

Many passengers have taken to social media in recent days to complain about being stuck in their planes after landing before being allowed to disembark, but also about long queues when checking their baggage. 

The country's main airline, Air Canada, has admitted to being hit by these problems. 

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told the media that "extended delays in security and customs," had recently forced airlines to cancel some flights. 

The government has promised to continue to hire screening officers at airports. The statement Friday said 865 people have joined the ranks of air transport security since April.

US health authority says Moderna vaccine effective in under-fives

US health authorities confirmed on Friday that data provided by drug-maker Moderna on the efficacy of its Covid-19 vaccine among very young children were accurate, ahead of a decision next week on whether to authorize two inoculations against the virus in kids aged six months to five years.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which independently analyzed data from clinical trials conducted by Moderna, said vaccine efficacy against symptomatic cases of Covid-19 was 51 percent in babies aged six months to less than two years old, and 37 percent in children aged two to five years.

The figures are lower than those recorded during clinical trials on adults, but that is only because the trials for the very young children were conducted during a wave linked to the Omicron variant, according to the FDA.

"Although the VE (vaccine efficacy) ... in children six months to five years is lower than that observed in the pivotal adult or older pediatric studies, it is highly consistent with real-world vaccine effectiveness observed against Omicron in adults," the FDA said in a statement.

Even though Moderna's vaccine has proven less effective against the Omicron variant, it remains very good at protecting against severe cases of the disease, the FDA pointed out. 

That is why the FDA concluded that the Moderna data "support the administration" of the vaccine in two doses of 100 micrograms each in adolescents aged 12 to 17, 50 micrograms for six to 11 year olds, and 25 micrograms in children aged six months to five years. 

In the United States, Moderna's vaccine is currently only authorized for people aged 18 and older. 

The latest document, stretching to more than 100 pages and published by the US agency, will serve as a basis for the authorization discussions next week. 

An advisory committee of experts must meet over two days to study the request for authorization of the vaccine, as well as that of Pfizer, and make its recommendation. 

The FDA is expected to publish its independent analysis of data from Pfizer early next week.

Pfizer has filed an application for authorization for children aged six months to four years, although its vaccine will be administered in three doses.

With inputs from AFP.