Covid-19 cases top 200,000 in Sindh, Punjab death toll crosses 3,500

Coronavirus claims 83 more lives, infects 2,972 more in last 24 hours

By: News Desk      Published: 10:39 AM, 18 Dec, 2020
Covid-19 cases top 200,000 in Sindh, Punjab death toll crosses 3,500

The coronavirus-related death toll in Pakistan increased to 9,164 after another 83 patients died of virus during the past 24 hours (Thursday), showed the latest data released by National Command and Operation Centre on Friday.

It was Sindh where most of these deaths were recorded with 33 people losing their lives. It was followed by 31 in Punjab, nine in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, six in Azad Kashmir, four in Islamabad and one in Balochistan.

As far as the overall region-wise numbers are concerned, Punjab continues to be worst hit with 3,522 deaths. The corresponding figures for other provinces/regions are: Sindh 3,270, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 1,511, Islamabad 385, Azad Kashmir 200, Balochistan 177 and Gilgit-Baltistan 99.

Meanwhile, Thursday also saw 2,972 more people being diagnosed with the virus, raising the total number of infections reported in the country to 451,494.

With the addition of these new cases, Sindh reached another grim milestone as the province has now crossed the 200,000 mark. The region-wise distribution of the coronavirus infections in the country now stands at: Sindh 201,080, Punjab 130,122, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 54,021, Islamabad 35,441, Balochistan 17,868, Azad Kashmir 7,893 and Gilgit-Baltistan 4,810.

On the other hand, Thursday again witnessed more people recovering from the infection when compared with those contracting the virus, representing a slight decrease. It means there are 42,278 active cases in Pakistan when compared with the previous day’s level of 42,851.

However, 2,988 of these patients are currently hospitalised with 2,447 of them in a critical condition and admitted in intensive care units. Moreover, 295 of these critically-ill patients have been placed on ventilators.

As of Friday morning, 399,852 people have fully recovered from the infection with the addition of 3,261 during the past 24 hours. Hence, the number of closed cases [deaths + patients recovering from infection] has reached 409,016.

Brazil records more than 1,000 deaths

Brazil on Thursday recorded more than 1,000 deaths from Covid-19 over a 24-hour period for the first time since September. The 1,092 new fatalities took Brazil's total from the coronavirus pandemic to almost 185,000 deaths -- a number surpassed only by the United States.

The South American country also registered almost 70,000 new infections, for a total of more than 7.1 million cases.

New cases and deaths have been surging since November in the country of 212 million and things have been getting worse with the holiday season approaching.

The numbers had fallen after a long period from June to August with daily deaths over 1,000.

There are worries too about Brazil's national immunization plan which has been widely criticized.

The health ministry expects to vaccinate 70 percent of the population -- some 150 million people -- within 16 months.

Global developments

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

- Europe: 500,000 dead -

Europe becomes the first region to surpass 500,000 deaths from Covid-19, according to an AFP tally of official figures at 1500 GMT on Thursday.

Europe has registered 500,069 deaths from more than 23 million cases.

It comes ahead of Latin America and the Caribbean on 477,404, the United States and Canada (321,287), Asia (208,149), the Middle East (85,895) and Africa (57,423). 

The coronavirus has killed at least 1.65 million people and more than 74 million cases have been diagnosed since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to the AFP count.

- France's Macron positive -

French President Emmanuel Macron becomes the latest world leader to test positive for Covid-19 and goes into isolation for a week.

A list of leaders who have had contact with him also go into isolation, including EU chief Charles Michel, and the prime ministers of Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain and Macron's own prime minister Jean Castex.

- EU vaccinations -

The EU is to start Covid-19 inoculations on December 27, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says. The rollout is conditional on the European Medicines Agency authorising the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine when it meets on Monday.

The watchdog also says it had brought forward the date for a decision on authorising Moderna's coronavirus vaccine by nearly a week to January 6.

- US meeting on Moderna -

US experts meet to decide whether to recommend approval of Moderna's vaccine, potentially paving the way for a second vaccine early next week.

- US vaccine guidance -

The US Food and Drug Administration says it is working with Pfizer to revise a fact sheet for recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine after two people had allergic reactions.

- US stimulus deal in sight -

US lawmakers inch closer to a new stimulus package to help the pandemic-battered economy, as new applications for US jobless benefits increase for the fourth week out of five.

- Record toll and debt for Germany -

Germany sees record daily virus infections of over 30,000. It says it will issue up to 471 billion euros ($576 billion) worth of bonds in 2021, another record, to help Europe's biggest economy get through the pandemic.

- Polish lockdown -

Poland decides a three-week partial lockdown from December 28 with shopping centres and ski slopes closed as well as a travel restriction on New Year's Eve. 

- Bulgarian curbs extended -

Bulgaria, which faces some of the highest infection and death rates in Europe, decides to keep restaurants, cafes, shopping malls and secondary schools shut until end-January.

- Boastful Putin -

President Vladimir Putin, whose country has the one of the world's highest caseloads, says that Russia has managed the pandemic "maybe even better than other countries in the world". He announces he will be vaccinated with Russia's Sputnik V virus jab.

- Sweden 'failed' -

Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf says the country has "failed" to save lives during the pandemic, a rare comment from the monarch who does not usually speak publicly on political issues.

With inputs from AFP.