Black Tuesday for Pakistan as 105 die of coronavirus
US sets new 24-hour record of Covid-19 infections
Pakistan witnessed one of the deadliest days since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic as 105 people lost their lives during the past 24 hours (Tuesday) due to the infections caused by the virus, showed National Command and Operation Centre figures released on Wednesday morning, which means the death toll in the country currently stands at 9,010.
Most of the latest deaths were recorded in Sindh where 58 people died. It was followed by 30 in Punjab, 12 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, two each in Islamabad and Azad Kashmir, and one in Balochistan.
With the addition of these deaths, the region-wise distribution now stands at: Punjab, 3,452, Sindh 3,222, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 1,489, Islamabad 379, Azad Kashmir 193, Balochistan 176 and Gilgit-Baltistan 99.
On the other hand, the virus was found in 2,731 people during the same period after which the overall number of cases reported in the country increased to 445,977.
Since the outbreak of this coronavirus pandemic, the number of cases detected in Sindh is 198,482 followed by Punjab 128,673, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 53,253, Islamabad 35,203, Balochistan 17,796, Azad Kashmir 7,771 and Gilgit-Baltistan 4,799.
Meanwhile, a total of 388,598 coronavirus patients have so far fully recovered from the infection which means the number of closed cases reached 397,608 on Monday.
However, Pakistan, as of Wednesday morning, has 48,369 active cases, out which 2,510 are currently in a critical condition and being treated in intensive care units of different hospitals with 316 of them placed on ventilators.
Also on Wednesday, a total of 38,028 tests were administered across the country after which the overall number increased to 6,136,799.
US sets daily record
The US set a new daily record of Covid-19 cases Tuesday, with more than 248,000 infections registered in the past 24 hours, the Johns Hopkins University virus monitor reported.
In the same period, 2,706 new deaths were recorded, according to data compiled by AFP based on information released by the university.
Coronavirus infections have increased dramatically over the past month in the United States -- new daily cases have been recorded at or above the 200,000 mark in 10 of the past 13 days.
The number of hospitalized Covid patients -- 113,000 -- is also at its highest level since the beginning of the pandemic in March, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The situation is starting to improve in the Midwest, where the number of new daily cases and hospitalizations is decreasing.
However, the epidemic is picking up steam in the Northeast and the West, according to the Covid Tracking Project, which compiles data from around the country every day.
California is especially facing a dearth of available intensive care beds. Fewer than 100 were available on Tuesday in the densely populated Los Angeles county, home to 10 million people.
The large nationwide vaccination campaign launched on Monday will have no effect on the current surge, health officials say, because it will take months before enough people are immunized to make a difference.
Experts say that face masks and social distancing measures must remain in use, especially during the end-of-year holiday period.
Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
- US at-home tests -
The United States authorises its first rapid at-home test for Covid-19, which is available over-the-counter for around $30 and produces a result in around 20 minutes.
- EU decision day -
The European Medicines Agency announces that it will meet on December 21 instead of December 29 to decide whether to authorise the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus jab for the EU. It maintains its January 12 date for a decision on the Moderna vaccine.
- US upbeat on Moderna jab -
The US Food and Drug Administration says there are "no specific safety concerns identified that would preclude issuance of an (emergency use authorization)" for the Moderna jab.
- 1.6 million dead -
The novel coronavirus has killed at least 1,625,505 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP on Tuesday.
The US is the worst-affected country with 301,264 deaths, followed by Brazil with 181,835, India with 143,709, Mexico with 114,298 and Italy with 65,857.
- Low key US inauguration -
The crowd at the inauguration of Joe Biden as president of the United States at the US Capitol on January 20 will be far smaller than usual due to Covid-19, his inaugural committee says.
- Britain's unemployment up -
Britain's unemployment rate hits the highest level in four years, at 4.9 percent in the three months to the end of October, after the coronavirus pandemic wiped out a record amount of jobs.
- Vaccines for poor -
The World Health Organization holds discussions with Pfizer and Moderna about possibly including their coronavirus vaccines among early jabs for poor countries at affordable prices.
- Denmark extends curbs -
Denmark's government extends to the whole country coronavirus restrictions already in force in most municipalities and major cities from 4:00 pm on Wednesday.
- Ukraine clashes -
Around 40 police officers are injured during clashes with anti-lockdown protesters in Ukraine's capital Kiev, during a rally attended by several thousand.
- Baltic roadblocks -
Police in Lithuania say they will set up 250 roadblocks nationwide to enforce a Christmas travel ban to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
- Rally Sweden cancelled -
The second leg of next season's World Rally Championship (WRC) in Sweden on February 11-14 is called off due to local coronavirus restrictions.
With inputs from AFP.