Pakistan records 33 more deaths by coronavirus, 1,270 cases
A health worker gestures while receiving a dose of the Chinese-made Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, at a vaccination centre in Karachi.–AFP (File photo)
As the world raced up to acquire vaccines for the coronavirus patients, Pakistan has recorded 1,270 more infections and 33 fatalities from Covid-19 during the last 24 hours (Thursday), showed the latest data released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Friday morning.
After the addition of 33 more deaths, the nationwide tally of fatalities has jumped to 12,218 and the total number of positive cases has soared to 560,363 after adding Friday’s new cases.
According to the latest NCOC statistics, figures by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 1,270 persons tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
As usual, Sindh remained the worst-hit province in terms of cases followed by Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. Most casualties have been reported in Punjab.
As many as 252,719 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 162,875 in Punjab, 69,164 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 18,916 in Balochistan, 42,401 in Islamabad, 9,359 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir Kashmir and 4,929 in Gilgit-Baltistan.
The total count of active cases was 29,981 and the positivity rate stood at 3.59 percent.
A total of 35,280 tests were conducted across the country during the previous 24 hours (Thursday). Overall 518,164 people have recovered from the deadly disease so far while 8,360,823 samples have been tested.
Frontline health workers in Pakistan who have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine have urged their colleagues to not be uncertain in getting the shot, adding that there are no side-effects.
A video released by the government on its vaccination strategy showed brief interviews of health workers from different health facilities across Pakistan in which they spoke about the positives of getting China’s Sinopharm vaccine.
US acquires 200m new doses
US President Joe Biden announced plans to vaccinate most Americans by the end of July with the help of 200 million newly acquired doses, as the country's inoculation campaign kicked off a new phase in drugstores and supermarket pharmacies, some of which will offer shots as of Friday.
Even as the Biden administration inked deals to acquire "100 million more Moderna and 100 million more Pfizer vaccines" and Covid-19 cases fall in Europe, the World Health Organization warned against rash reopenings, in a sobering reminder of the long global battle ahead in taming the pandemic.
"The decline in cases conceals increasing numbers of outbreaks and community spread involving variants of concern," said WHO Europe director Hans Kluge.
"At this point, the overwhelming majority of European countries remain vulnerable," he added, pointing out the "thin line between the hope of a vaccine and a false sense of security."
More than a million cases are still registered every week across the 53 member states in the UN agency's European region, which includes several Central Asian countries.
With the latest vaccine purchases, the United States -- the world's hardest-hit country with more than 470,000 deaths -- is on track "to have enough supply for 300 million Americans by the end of July," Biden said, meaning enough inoculations for all eligible people.
Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
- 'Europe still vulnerable' -
The World Health Organization warns of a "false sense of security" in Europe, saying most of its nations were still vulnerable despite a fall in cases.
- Germany closes borders -
Germany will ban travel from Czech border regions as well as Austria's Tyrol over a surge in infections of more contagious coronavirus variants, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer says.
- Slovenia eases curbs -
Slovenia announces a partial lifting of coronavirus restrictions from next week, including the reopening of elementary schools and an end to travel bans around the country.
- Life saving drug? -
The arthritis drug tocilizumab reduces the risk of critically ill patients dying of Covid-19, according to results of a study by the Britain-based RECOVERY research programme investigating Covid-19 treatments.
The programme said research on the drug had shown "a reduction in the risk of death of around about a sixth or a seventh".
- Africa toll surge -
Covid-19 deaths in Africa have increased by two-fifths in a month, the WHO says, sounding the alarm for a continent faced with more contagious variants.
- Africa stands by AstraZeneca -
Most African countries should still roll out the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine despite questions over its use against the South African variant, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) watchdog says.
- US pharmacy rollout -
US President Joe Biden's administration ships a million vaccine doses to around 6,500 drugstores and supermarket pharmacies nationwide, with several chains announcing they will begin giving out the first shots Friday.
- Zimbabwe to receive Chinese jab -
Zimbabwe will receive 800,000 vaccine doses developed by China's Sinopharm by the start of March, the government says as it prepares to launch its immunisation campaign.
- Dubai surge -
Dubai has had to implement a "surge" in its healthcare capacity, a senior official tells AFP, as infections rise in one of the first destinations to reopen to tourism last year.
- IMF aid -
The G7 will consider whether to use the IMF to mobilise $500 billion in aid to the world's poorest nations to respond to the pandemic, a French source says ahead of a virtual meeting of the group's finance ministers and central bankers on Friday.
- German striker positive -
Bayern Munich forward Thomas Mueller tests positive, eliminating him from Thursday's Club World Cup final in Doha against Mexican champions Tigres UANL.
- Instagram blocks Kennedy -
Instagram blocks Robert F Kennedy Jr, the nephew of the assassinated president JFK, "for repeatedly sharing debunked claims" about the coronavirus or vaccines.
- More than 2.35 million dead -
The virus has killed at least 2,355,410 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP on Thursday.
The US is the worst-affected country with 471,575 deaths followed by Brazil with 234,850, Mexico with 169,760, India with 155,360 and the UK with 114,851.
With inputs from AFP.