Covid claims eight more lives with 531 news cases in Pakistan
China tests entire city for virus as WHO slams herd immunity idea
Pakistan reported eight more coronavirus-related deaths during the past 24 hours (Monday), breaking the sequence where the number was in double digits on the two previous days.
Hence, the latest figures released by the National Command and Operation Centre on Tuesday morning show that the death in the country has now reached 6,588.
Meanwhile, another 531 people tested during the same period against the 385 cases recorded previously. In this way, the overall infections reported officially in the country currently stands at 319,848.
On Monday, the officials administered 30,022 more tests in the country as part of the ongoing efforts to identify, trace and isolate the infected persons to stop further spread.
In this way, the overall number of tests conducted since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak in the country has increased to 3,914,818.
The region-wise distribution of the coronavirus cases reported in Pakistan is given as: Sindh 140,534, Punjab 100,892, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 38,367, Islamabad 17,428, Balochistan 15,541, Gilgit-Baltistan 3,955 and Azad Kashmir 3,131.
As far as the recent uptick in the new coronavirus cases in Islamabad is concerned, another 95 citizens were found to be infected. Recently, some parts of the federal capital has been sealed to curb the spread.
During the past 24 hours, 424 coronavirus patients fully recovered from the infection. Thus the total number of people fully recovering from the infection either due to the treatment at health facilities or being kept in isolation has now increased to 304,609.
The abovementioned stats means that the number of closed cases [deaths + number of those recovering from infection] currently stands at 311,197.
However, there are 8,551 active cases in Pakistan, the majority of which have been isolated at their homes and other places with 852 of them being treated in hospitals. However, 516 of those who have been hospitalised are in intensive care units of the different hospitals due to their critical condition.
Meanwhile, China rushed Tuesday to test an entire city of nine million within days after a minor coronavirus outbreak, as the WHO warned that letting the pathogen run free to achieve herd immunity was "scientifically and ethically problematic".
The virus is still spreading rapidly around the world, with well over 37 million infections, and nations that had suppressed their first outbreaks are now struggling with fresh surges -- especially in some parts of Europe.
In the absence of a vaccine, governments are wary of allowing the virus to spread unchecked, with China launching a sweeping drive to test all residents of Qingdao after a handful of cases were detected on Sunday.
"As of 8 am... our city has taken 3.08 million samples for nucleic testing," the city's health commission said Tuesday, adding that no new positive samples were found.
Chinese officials intend to test the entire city -- around 9.4 million people -- by Thursday.
In scenes contrasting with the fumbled testing efforts of other nations, health workers in protective clothing swiftly set up tents and residents queued deep into Monday night to provide samples.
In opposition to economically painful lockdowns and social distancing, there have been proposals in some countries to let the coronavirus circulate in the population to build up "herd immunity" -- where so much of the population has been infected there are insufficient new victims for the virus to jump to.
But the World Health Organization said such plans were unworkable, and required mass vaccinations to work.
"Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday, describing the idea as "scientifically and ethically problematic".
"Allowing a dangerous virus that we don't fully understand to run free is simply unethical. It's not an option."
Further illustrating the challenge, a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal indicated that exposure to the virus may not guarantee future immunity -- and the second infection could come with even more severe symptoms.
- Vaccine setback -
The pandemic has claimed more than one million lives worldwide, and spurred breakneck efforts to develop vaccines and effective treatments.
Some have made it to late-stage clinical testing, but the optimism was dented Monday when Johnson & Johnson announced it had temporarily halted its 60,000-patient trial because of an unexplained illness in one participant.
There are ten firms conducting Phase 3 trials of their candidates globally, including Johnson & Johnson.
The pharma giant has been awarded about $1.45 billion in US funding under Operation Warp Speed, championed by President Donald Trump, who is keen for a political boost ahead of the November election with a coronavirus breakthrough.
Critics have excoriated Trump for his handling of the crisis, with more known infections and deaths in the United States than anywhere else in the world.
Trump was sidelined from the campaign trail for 10 days after he got Covid-19, but returned to the stage Monday.
"I went through it and now they say I'm immune... I feel so powerful," Trump told a cheering crowd in Florida, few of whom wore masks.
His claim of immunity is unproven.
- 'Catastrophic, catastrophic' -
European nations are trying to contain new surges in infections, and governments are rolling out tighter restrictions to avoid the devastation of the earlier outbreaks.
Cases have soared in France, Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic in recent days.
And there has also been a spike in Britain, which has the highest death toll in Europe.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered pubs in Liverpool to shut as part of a new strategy to tackle a surge in infections.
He said businesses forced to close would get support from the government, but his focus on shutting hospitality venues sparked anger.
"Catastrophic, catastrophic," said Simon Ashdown, owner of the Chepstow Castle pub in Liverpool.
"I don't think there'll be many businesses after this lockdown."
With inputs from AFP