Pakistan logs another 67 coronavirus cases, no death

NIH data shows positivity ratio stands at 0.49%: US to drop Covid tests for incoming air travel: Beijing delays school reopenings after new Covid outbreak

By: News Desk
Published: 09:26 AM, 12 Jun, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: A health worker collects samples from a young girl to test for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Pudong district of Shanghai, China.–AFP
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Pakistan has posted another 67 coronavirus infections and no death during the last 24 hours (Saturday), showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Sunday morning.

As per the latest NIH data, the death toll remained unchanged at 30,381, whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,531,179 after adding the fresh 67 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Saturday), 13,548 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 0.49 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 47.

During the last 24 hours (Saturday), another 56 people recovered from the Covid-19 and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,497,960. As of Sunday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 2,838.

As many as 577,864 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 507,430 in Punjab, 219,725 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,551 in Islamabad, 35,506 in Balochistan, 43,351 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.


US to drop Covid tests for incoming air travel

The United States announced Friday that Covid-19 tests would no longer be required for international travelers arriving by air, a major step in the country's gradual lifting of pandemic restrictions.

White House Assistant Press Secretary Kevin Munoz confirmed the news on Twitter, with US media saying the measure would end this weekend after strong lobbying from the travel industry.

All passengers had needed to show a negative Covid viral test taken shortly before travel -- or proof of having recovered from the virus in the past 90 days -- before boarding a flight.

Munoz said President Joe Biden's work on vaccines and treatments had been "critical" to easing the travel restrictions, and added that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would continue to evaluate Covid data amid a recent rise in cases.

Last month, the United States crossed the threshold of one million Covid deaths, with Biden acknowledging the "unrelenting" pain of bereaved families, and urging Americans to remain vigilant.

America recorded its first Covid death in early February 2020 on the West Coast.

- Welcome move -

"We believe we have made the progress that we need to make in having protocols in place around Covid that we can lift this requirement," presidential economics advisor Brian Deese told CNBC.

"I think that will be good news for business travel, good news for American commerce and companies as well."

Many mask mandates across the United States have been lifted, but the country has recently seen an uptick in the number of daily virus cases, largely due to new Omicron subvariants.

About 300 people die every day in the country from Covid, down from the latest surge in February, when the daily average jumped to 2,700.

Vaccines have been free and widely available, but take-up rates vary widely between states.

Nationwide, 66.7 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, rising to 91.2 percent in those aged 65 and over.

With the US economy hit by rocketing inflation, the travel sector welcomed the move.

"The airline industry appreciates the administration's decision to lift the pre-departure testing requirement in accordance with the current epidemiological environment," the Airlines 4 America industry federation said in a statement.

"Lifting this policy will help encourage and restore air travel to the United States... We are eager to welcome the millions of travelers who are ready to come to the US for vacation, business and reunions with loved ones."

Beijing delays school reopenings after new Covid outbreak

Most children in Beijing will not return to school next week as originally planned, Chinese officials said on Saturday, after an emerging Covid-19 outbreak prompted authorities to partly reverse a decision to resume in-person teaching.

China is the last major economy still committed to a zero-Covid strategy, stamping out new cases with a combination of targeted lockdowns, mass testing and lengthy quarantines.

But virus clusters in recent months have put that approach under strain. The megacity of Shanghai was forced into a gruelling months-long lockdown and in the capital Beijing, schools were shuttered and residents were ordered to work from home. 

Authorities in Beijing eased many curbs earlier this week, but dozens of infections linked to a bar have led authorities to tighten some restrictions again.

Most primary and middle school students will "continue to study online at home" from Monday, city government spokesperson Xu Hejian said at a press briefing on Saturday.

The announcement partly walked back a previous decision to send younger pupils back to school in phases, starting next week.

Some 115 cases have been linked to the bar cluster so far, municipal health official Liu Xiaofeng said at the briefing.

The new outbreak was "at a rapidly developing stage ... and at a relatively high risk of spreading", Liu said.

More than 20 million people in Shanghai began a mass testing drive on Saturday that local governments said would take place under temporary lockdown conditions.

The move comes less than two weeks after the eastern economic hub lurched out of a harsh lockdown that was punctuated by food shortages and isolated protests from irate residents.

Officials have maintained a shifting patchwork of restrictions in Shanghai, wary of a virus resurgence after finally containing the country's worst outbreak in two years.

China recorded 138 domestic infections on Saturday, including 61 in Beijing and 16 in Shanghai, according to the National Health Commission.

With inputs from AFP.