Pakistan posts 123 coronavirus cases, no death

NIH data shows number of critical patients down to 259: UK PM fined for breaking lockdown rules: Pfizer eyes Covid vaccine for all variants before 2023

By: News Desk
Published: 09:20 AM, 14 Apr, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: A community worker takes a nap at a temporary bed at a gym in a compound during a Covid-19 lockdown in Pudong district in Shanghai, China.–AFP
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Pakistan has logged another 123 coronavirus infections but no fatality during the last 24 hours (Wednesday) as there was a mild uptick in the infectivity rate, showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Thursday morning.

As per the latest NIH data, the death toll remained the same as was two days earlier which was 30,362, whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,526,952 after adding the fresh 123 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Wednesday), 24,792 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio inched up to 0.49 percent. The number of patients in critical care was 259.

During the last 24 hours (Wednesday), as many as 71 patients have recovered from the virus whereas the total recoveries stood at 1,487,144. As of Thursday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 9,446.

As many as 576,469 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 505,528 in Punjab, 219,308 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,141 in Islamabad, 35,481 in Balochistan, 43,303 in Azad Kashmir and 11,722 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 13,559 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,097 in Sindh, 6,322 in KP, 1,023 in Islamabad, 792 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.

 

UK PM fined for breaking lockdown rules

The coronavirus is continuing to stalk the world at an astonishing clip, racing past a grim succession of pandemic milestones in 2022: totals of 300 million known cases around the world by early January, 400 million by early February and, as of Tuesday, half a billion.

There have almost certainly been far more infections than that among the global population of 7.9 billion, with many going undetected or unreported, and the reporting gap may only grow wider as some countries, including the United States, scale back official testing.

“That’s dangerous,” Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington, and formerly of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a recent interview. “If you don’t test, then you don’t know what variants you have.”

Regional officials with the World Health Organization recently urged African countries to ramp up testing and contact tracing, and called for some countries in the Americas to double down on efforts to increase vaccination and testing as cases remained higher in Europe. (Britain, for instance, has ended free testing.) A W.H.O. analysis also recently estimated that 65 percent of Africans had been infected with the coronavirus as of September 2021, nearly 100 times the number of confirmed cases on the continent.

The number of new cases reported around the globe each day has been declining for some time now; the average over the past week has been about 1.1 million cases a day, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. That’s about 32 percent fewer than two weeks ago.

But over the course of the pandemic, countries with limited public health resources may only have detected and confirmed a tiny fraction of the cases in their populations. And more recent figures may miss many at-home rapid test results that are never officially reported. Many people with infections are never tested at all, because they have no symptoms, or lack access to testing, or want to avoid the consequences of a positive test result, or choose not to for other reasons.

Pfizer eyes Covid vaccine for all variants before 2023

A Covid-19 vaccine effective against multiple variants is possible before the end of 2022, the head of US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said Wednesday.

Chairman Albert Bourla said the firm was also working on producing a vaccine that could provide good protection for a whole year, meaning people would come back annually for boosters, as with influenza shots.

"I hope, clearly by autumn... that we could have a vaccine" that worked against not only the dominant Omicron but all known variants, he said.

"It is a possibility that we have it by then. It is not a certainty," he told a media briefing organised by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) big pharma lobby group.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is one of the most effective against Covid-19.

Though, like other jabs, it has seen waning effectiveness against the now-dominant Omicron variant of the virus, it still offers strong protection against serious disease, hospitalisation and death.

IFPMA director general Thomas Cueni said the world had to learn to live with the virus that causes Covid-19 disease, saying: "We are beyond the time when you can eradicate SARS-CoV-2."

Bourla said there was a risk of vaccine fatigue, predicting that few people who have so far declined the chance to be vaccinated would change their minds, and suggesting that fewer people would come back for fourth doses than came forward for a third, booster dose.

"What the world really needs is a vaccine that will last a year. I think this is what will become the optimal public health solution," he said.

"It's way more easy to be administered and have the population be compliant with that.

"It is very challenging, technically, to do it with this virus -- but we are working on it."

- IP waiver plan blasted -

The World Health Organization is aware of 153 Covid-19 vaccines that have been in clinical development -- tested on humans -- and 196 in pre-clinical development.

But so far, the UN health agency has only authorised eight vaccines and versions thereof: those made by Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Janssen, Moderna, Sinovac, Sinopharm, Bharat Biotech and Novavax.

The IFPMA briefing condemned suggestions that intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines should be temporarily lifted during the pandemic, in a bid to increase production.

"I'm stunned that the proposed IP waiver is still debated while supplies are far outstripping demand," said Cueni.

With more than a billion vaccine doses being produced every month, Eli Lilly chairman David Ricks called it "a solution looking for a problem", while Bourla branded the idea "insane".

In a later WHO press conference, the UN health agency's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the vaccine supply situation had dramatically improved in recent months.

The problem, she said, was more one of logistics and getting doses into arms in countries, especially in Africa, where only 13 percent have been fully jabbed.

"We are able to now supply as many doses as countries want, on demand, to them. The issue now really is on delivery," she said.

With inputs from AFP.