Pakistan posts 57 coronavirus infections

NIH data shows infectivity rate stands at 0.48%: Covid-19 precautions travellers should take

By: News Desk
Published: 09:42 AM, 13 Oct, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: A woman, part of the first tourist group arriving from Thailand, is welcomed at Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan on October 13, 2022, after Taiwan reopened its borders by ending mandatory Covid quarantine for arrivals.–AFP
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Pakistan has reported 57 more coronavirus infections and no fatality during the last 24 hours (Wednesday), showed the figures released by the National Institute of Health (NIH) on Thursday morning, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The death toll in the country remained the same at 30,620 while the number of total infections now rose to 1,573,221 after adding the fresh 57 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Wednesday), 11,953 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 0.48 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 28.

Covid-19 precautions travellers should take

Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it would no longer be maintaining a country-by-country travel advisory of Covid-19 risk. Instead of assessing the level of Covid-19 infection in each country, the CDC will post notices only when there are new variants or other situations that would change its travel recommendations.

What does the CDC's change mean and how should people assess the risk of international travel? What precautions should they take, and how can they best prepare for a trip? Are there specific considerations for those who want to resume cruising? And what about domestic travel, especially coming into colder months?

To address these questions, CNN spoke with channel’s Medical Analyst Dr Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. She is also author of "Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health."

CNN: What does it mean that the CDC is no longer maintaining country-by-country Covid-19 travel advisories?

Dr. Leana Wen: The CDC has long maintained health travel advisories on its website. The CDC advises travelers to be wary of areas experiencing outbreaks of yellow fever, dengue, cholera, Ebola and other infectious diseases.

During the pandemic, the agency also stratified countries based on their level of Covid-19 infection. This was meant to assist people planning trips understand to what extent Covid-19 was circulating in various parts of the world, and for travelers to avoid nonessential travel in areas undergoing coronavirus surges.

However, there was some concern about the travel advisories. Not all countries maintained accurate or up-to-date numbers. At different points over the last two and a half years, there were many parts of the United States with higher rates of Covid-19 than countries in the CDC's "avoid nonessential travel" category. In addition, after vaccines became widely available in the United States, there has been a growing sense that the primary risk determinant should no longer be primarily based on coronavirus levels — as long as vaccines were protecting people from hospitalization.

This CDC decision does not mean that the agency will stop tracking Covid-19 altogether. The CDC will alert the public if there is a new concerning variant emerging. It would also flag if countries are hit so hard by the coronavirus or other diseases that their health care infrastructure is overwhelmed. But infection levels alone are not going to trigger an increase in warning levels moving forward.

CNN: How can people go about assessing their risk of international travel?

Wen: The key question is to ask if whether you are up to date on the Covid-19 vaccine, meaning that you have received the new bivalent booster. If so, you are very well-protected from severe illness due to Covid-19.

Some individuals may have decided to hold off on the updated booster. If you have recently had Covid-19, it would be reasonable to wait three months, as reinfection is unlikely during this time. Also, the updated booster is not yet available for children under 12. Kids in general are much less likely to become severely ill compared with adults — and if they are vaccinated or have recently contracted the coronavirus, they are very unlikely to become severely ill even without any booster.

Your age and presence of underlying medical conditions are also factors. Those who are immunocompromised should ask their doctor whether they are eligible for the preventive antibody Evusheld. People 65 and older and people who have chronic medical conditions should also inquire, in advance of a trip, whether they would be eligible for treatments such as Paxlovid and/or monoclonal antibodies if they were to contract Covid-19 while abroad. If so, these are additional considerations in planning travel: Will the location you're going to have these treatments available? If you become severely ill and need hospitalization, is there good health care readily accessible?

Finally, remember that the primary purpose of the coronavirus vaccines is to protect against severe disease. They also reduce the risk of infection compared with individuals who are unvaccinated or not boosted, but they do not prevent it altogether. Those who wish to reduce their risk of infection should take additional precautions, such as wearing high-quality N95 or equivalent masks in indoors.

CNN: What precautions should people they take while traveling, and how can they best prepare for their trip?

Wen: Again, getting vaccinated with the new Covid-19 booster is the first and most important step. Make sure to get the vaccine at least 10 days prior to travel. You should get the flu vaccine, too. The influenza vaccine can be given at the same time as the Covid-19 vaccine.

Bring plenty of coronavirus tests with you — at least two for each family member traveling. That way, you can test if you develop symptoms or find out that you have a significant exposure.

Know what treatments you are eligible for. Some physicians may be willing to prescribe Paxlovid to you just in case you contract Covid-19 on your trip. Others may not — in which case, know which treatments you would get if you do end up with the coronavirus. Have a plan for how to access treatments.

Do pharmacies need a doctor's prescription, or can you just walk in and get Paxlovid? Are there reliable, high-quality hospitals in case you become severely ill? And will your insurance or other coverage cover health care costs in another country? Travel insurance is generally a good idea, though not all policies cover delays or cancelations due to Covid-19, so be sure to check.

Also, find out what are rules for each country you're going to. Many countries have lifted vaccine and testing requirements, but they are still in place in some.

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