Pakistan posts over 500 coronavirus cases, five deaths
NIH data shows infectivity ratio eases to 2.72%: India adds 9,062 new cases, 36 deaths in 24 hours: Covid restrictions stymie tourism revival in Japan and much of Asia
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Pakistan has recorded another 526 coronavirus infections and five deaths during the last 24 hours (Tuesday), showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Wednesday morning, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
As per the NIH data, the death toll in the country now surged to 30,542 after adding the five new fatalities while the number of total infections now stood at 1,564,231 after adding the fresh 526 cases.
During the last 24 hours (Tuesday), 19,312 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 2.72 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 156.
COVID-19 Statistics 17 August 2022— NIH Pakistan (@NIH_Pakistan) August 17, 2022
Total Tests in Last 24 Hours: 19,312
Positive Cases: 526
Positivity %: 2.72%
Patients on Critical Care: 156
During the last 24 hours (Tuesday), another 411 patients have recovered from the Covid-19 in Pakistan and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,524,375. As of Wednesday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 9,314.
As many as 592,541 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 518,752 in Punjab, 222,539 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 138,491 in Islamabad, 35,899 in Balochistan, 44,043 in Azad Kashmir and 11,966 in Gilgit-Baltistan.
As many as 13,594 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,217 in Sindh, 6,339 in KP, 1,030 in Islamabad, 793 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.
The active caseload stands at 1,05,058, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed.
The country also reported 36 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number Covid-related fatalities to 5,27,134.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 4,36,54,064.
The daily positivity rate was 2.49 per cent while the weekly positivity rate was recorded at 4.38 per cent, according to the health ministry.
Only a trickle of tourists are visiting Japan two months after the government announced it would reopen borders that had been largely shut to foreign travellers for two years under coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
Analysts said that Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong’s insistence on maintaining coronavirus pandemic restrictions, such as quarantine and testing in some jurisdictions, had made the region a global outlier and slowed its tourism recovery. “There is a stark contrast right now with [parts of] Asia in a different league than the rest of the world,” said Brendan Sobie, a travel industry analyst at Sobie Aviation.
Sobie added that tourism in south-east and south Asia had recovered faster as countries there had already dropped restrictions. “A lot of tourists haven’t come back to the region, and they booked summer holidays before [restrictions started lifting], so there is a lag in getting tourists back,” he said. Although Japan reopened its borders in June, it has struggled to attract foreign visitors with stringent travel guidelines that require visitors to be escorted by a guide “from entry to departure”.
The reopening also coincided with the country’s biggest coronavirus outbreak since the start of the pandemic, which was driven by the highly transmissible BA.5 Omicron sub-variant. Daily Covid cases in Japan have fallen below the 200,000 mark this week after topping 250,000 infections for the first time last week.
Despite a sharp fall in the yen, just 120,400 visitors entered Japan in June, fewer than in May and April when borders were still closed, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. Of those visitors, only 252 were tourists.
Nearly 32 million tourists visited Japan in 2019. Clara Pellham, director of sales at US luxury tour operator TCS World Travel, said there was very low demand for its escorted private jet tour of big cities across Japan, mainly because of confusion over the guidelines. “Consumers and even travel advisers are not clear on . . . what other restrictions they might encounter once they get to Japan,” Pelham said. “Japan will not be a competitive destination until some of those restrictions are lifted.”
Official numbers, however, may not provide a complete picture of how many overseas visitors have travelled to Japan, as the government has granted short-term visas to foreign nationals with “special exceptional circumstances”, such as weddings and funerals. Recommended Japanese business & finance Hong Kong elite descends on Tokyo for bargain property buys While China’s borders are still closed, Hong Kong started to allow international tourists to visit from May, but maintained a minimum seven-day quarantine, which was shortened to three days last week.
The isolation has crushed the travel industry and plunged the Chinese territory’s economy back into recession. “Our inbound [tourism] team is in hibernation mode. We have skeleton staff to handle inbound travellers,” said Lily Agonoy, managing director of Jebsen Holidays in Hong Kong. “Why would tourist come to Hong Kong if they have to be quarantined? Normally tourists only come for four to five days.”
South Korea is the “most open” of the north Asian destinations, according to travel analyst Sobie, but Incheon Airport only recorded 17 percent of the passenger traffic compared with 2019 in the second quarter. All inbound passengers to South Korea are required to take a PCR test within 24 hours of arrival. In a bid to boost tourist numbers, Seoul city authorities announced this month that tourists from Japan, Taiwan and Macau would temporarily be allowed visa-free entry to South Korea for the rest of August.
The average wait for a Japanese tourist to receive a Korean tourist visa is three to four weeks. In April, Korea ditched all remaining social-distancing measures and downgraded Covid-19 to a “Class 2” disease, alongside conditions such as tuberculosis and cholera.–FT