Coronavirus claims two more lives, infects another 52 in Pakistan
NIH data shows positivity ratio plunging to 0.37%: North Korean military ramps up Covid response as outbreak grows
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During the last 24 hours (Monday), 14,238 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 0.37 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 108.
COVID-19 Statistics 17 May 2022— NIH Pakistan (@NIH_Pakistan) May 17, 2022
Total Tests in Last 24 Hours: 14,238
Positive Cases: 52
Positivity %: 0.37%
Patients on Critical Care: 108
North Korean military ramps up Covid response as outbreak grows
North Korean military medics ramped up the distribution of medicines to fight a growing coronavirus outbreak, state media said on Tuesday, with the number of reported cases of "fever" nearing 1.5 million.
Leader Kim Jong Un has ordered nationwide lockdowns to try and slow the spread of the disease through the unvaccinated population, and deployed the military after what he has called a botched response to the outbreak.
Hundreds of personnel in camouflage uniforms from the Korean People's Army medical units were seen rallying in the capital Pyongyang in photos released by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The military "urgently deployed its powerful forces to all pharmacies in Pyongyang City and began to supply medicines under the 24-hour service system", KCNA said.
One KCNA photo showed soldiers walking next to a long line of green trucks.
Kim had strongly criticised healthcare officials for their failure to keep pharmacies open.
Authorities had reported more than 1.48 million cases of "fever" as of Monday evening, KCNA said, with the death toll at 56.
"At least 663,910 are under medical treatment," the agency said.
Authorities have stepped up media awareness campaigns and pharmaceutical factories have increased the production of medicines, KCNA reported.
- No response to South Korea -
"Most North Koreans are chronically malnourished and unvaccinated, there are barely any medicines left in the country, and the health infrastructure is incapable to deal with this pandemic," Lina Yoon, senior Korea researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
She urged the international community to offer medicines, vaccines and infrastructure to North Korea.
Pyongyang has so far not responded to an offer of help from Seoul, according to South Korea's unification ministry.
South Korea's new president Yoon Suk-yeol has taken a hawkish stance on his country's nuclear-armed neighbour, but told lawmakers Monday that he would "not hold back" on aid -- if Pyongyang accepts.
The United States and South Korea have warned that Kim is preparing to conduct another nuclear test -- the country's seventh.
Face masks are no longer required in metros, trains and planes in France from Monday, as French authorities lifted one of the last remaining health measures imposed since the pandemic began in 2020.
Health minister Olivier Veran announced last week that masks would no longer be mandatory on public transport and in taxis, following the large drop in Covid cases recently.
"I feel free. Breathing properly wasn't that easy with masks," said 26-year-old Parisian Jaceula Madimba in the metro on Monday morning.
Veran cautioned that the new measure did not mean the pandemic was over, and insisted that the mask remained recommended.
"I think wearing masks is still necessary just to be safe, for my friends and family," said Aurelia Imbert, an engineer on her way to Czech Republic for work from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
Masks, as well as a health pass proving Covid vaccination, are still required for entering hospitals.
The pandemic appears under control in France for now, but some experts have warned against writing it off to the history books, as a new variant may yet emerge.
And people with weak immune systems have expressed their concern.
"I will continue to wear the mask and invite everyone to do so. We protect each other mutually, let us think of the immunosuppressed," said French epidemiologist Mahmoud Zureik.
Elsewhere in Europe, Spain still requires masks to enter hospitals, care homes and on public transport, while in Belgium masks are only necessary on buses, trams and trains.
In Italy, masks remain obligatory in hospitals and on public transport, but also in cinemas, theatres and schools.
With inputs from AFP.