Coronavirus cases in Pakistan going up again slowly but surely
NIH data shows no death but positivity ratio climbs up to 0.53%: North Korea reports 21 new deaths as it battles Covid outbreak
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The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan has been going up again slowly but surely as the country recorded another 85 infections and no death during the last 24 hours (Friday), reported National Institute of Health Pakistan on Saturay morning.
During the last 24 hours (Friday), 16,291 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 0.52 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 119.
COVID-19 Statistics 14 May 2022— NIH Pakistan (@NIH_Pakistan) May 14, 2022
Total Tests in Last 24 Hours: 16,291
Positive Cases: 85
Positivity %: 0.52%
Patients on Critical Care: 119
On Friday alone, "over 174,440 persons had fever, at least 81 430 were fully recovered and 21 died in the country," the official Korean Central News Agency reported.
North Korea confirmed Thursday that the highly-contagious Omicron variant had been detected in the capital Pyongyang, with leader Kim Jong Un ordering nationwide lockdowns.
"The number of fevered persons totalized from late April to May 13 is over 524,440," KCNA said, with 27 deaths total.
"It's not a stretch to consider these 'fever' cases to all be Covid-19, given the North's lack of testing capacity," said Cheong Seong-chang of the Sejong Institute.
- 'Great upheaval' -
North Korea held its second Politburo meeting this week, overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, KCNA reported.
"The spread of malignant disease comes to be a great upheaval in our country since the founding of the DPRK along with the worldwide spread of Covid-19," he said, referring to North Korea by its official name.
The meeting of the country's top officials discussed "supplying reserve medicines" and other ways of "minimizing the losses in human lives", KCNA said.
North Korea has a crumbling health system -- one of the worst in the world -- and lacks essential medicines and equipment, experts say.
- China Model -
Kim said Saturday that North Korea would follow the Chinese model of disease management.
"It is good to actively learn from the advanced and rich anti-epidemic successes and experience already gained by the Chinese party and people in the struggle against malicious epidemic," he said, KCNA reported.
China, the world's only major economy to still maintain a zero-Covid policy, is currently battling multiple Omicron outbreaks -- with some major cities, including financial hub Shanghai, under stay-at-home orders.
Beijing said Thursday it would be willing to help Pyongyang, and South Korea also announced Friday it could send vaccines to the North -- if Kim's regime would accept them.
Kim's comments suggest the North "will adopt Chinese-style anti-virus response of regional lockdowns," said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies.
They also indicate Kim "will try getting supplies from China, which has also publicly stated its willingness to provide preventive assistance to the North."
- Nuclear activity -
"I can't tell you when the reactor will be ready to go, but it is about 10x larger than the existing reactor at Yongbyon," Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute for International Studies wrote in a Twitter thread Saturday.
As such, it would produce ten times more plutonium for nuclear weapons, he said, adding: "This would make good on Kim's pledge to increase the number of nuclear weapons."
The United States and South Korea have warned that Kim is preparing to conduct another nuclear test -- which would be the regime's seventh -- and that it could come any day now.
Analysts have warned Kim could speed up his nuclear test plans in a bid to "distract" North Korea's population from a disastrous Covid-19 outbreak.
With inputs from AFP.