Pakistan records another 16 deaths, 567 coronavirus cases
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As the number of coronavirus cases across the globe nears 40 million, Pakistan reported 16 deaths during the last 24 hours (Saturday) by coronavirus as the number of positive cases has surged to 323,019.
According to the latest figures released by National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Sunday morning, the nationwide tally of fatalities after the addition of 16 new deaths has jumped to 6,654.
After 32,062 samples were tested during the last 24 hours (Saturday), 567 fresh infections have lifted the national tally to 323,019. A total of 4,074,024 tests have been conducted so far.
As many as 307,069 people have recovered from the disease so far across the country with addition of 429 recoveries recorded over the previous 24 hours. The number of active coronavirus cases in the country stands at 9,296 from which 534 patients are said to be in critical condition.
As many as 2,579 individuals have lost their lives to the epidemic in Sindh, 2,298 in Punjab, 1,265 in KP, 147 in Balochistan, 194 in Islamabad, 90 in GB and 81 in Azad Kashmir.
So far, Sindh has reported 141,713 cases, Punjab 101,559, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 38,598, Balochistan 15,669, Islamabad 17,996, Azad Jammu and Kashmir 3,437 and Gilgit Baltistan 4,047.
Global toll near 40 million
The number of coronavirus cases across the world has surpassed thirty-nine point five million while pandemic has claimed more than 1.1 million lives so far.
The United States is the worst-hit country with over 8.2 million infection cases and nearly 223,600 deaths followed by India with over 7.4 million cases and over 113,000 deaths.
More than 29.6 million patients stand recovered.
New Zealand announces new virus case
New Zealand confirmed a new community case of Covid-19 Sunday, two weeks after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared that the South Pacific nation had "beat the virus again".
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the latest case involved a port-side worker who returned a positive test on Saturday afternoon. "Because the person was tested on the day he was developing symptoms, the Ministry of Health was able to self-isolate close contacts," Bloomfield said.
He was potentially infectious as early as Wednesday, October 14.
The announcement came a day after Ardern's Labour Party won a landslide election victory, with her government's handling of the pandemic widely credited as a factor.
Ahead of the vote, Ardern -- whose party won 64 seats in the 120-seat parliament -- had dubbed it "the Covid election". She campaigned on her government's success in eliminating community transmission of the virus, which has caused just 25 deaths in a population of five million.
New Zealand declared in May it has beaten community coronavirus transmission, although a new cluster emerged in Auckland in August forcing the country's largest city back into lockdown for several weeks.
Melbourne eases lockdown
Officials announced a slight easing of lockdown restrictions in Australia's second-biggest city Sunday following a steady decline in new coronavirus cases, but they stopped short of ending a controversial "stay-at-home" rule.
More than 100 days after the lockdown was imposed on Melbourne's five million residents to fight an out-of-control surge of Covid-19 cases, authorities lifted a two-hour limit on the time people could spend outside their homes for permitted activities.
They also extended to 25 kilometres the distance people could travel from their homes for those activities, which include exercise, shopping for essentials, socialising and work in essential professions.
But Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria state which encompasses Melbourne, rejected growing calls for an end to all limits on people being able to leave their homes and for a broader reopening of restaurants and other retail businesses.
He said the stay-at-home rule could be lifted and other business restrictions eased on November 1 if community transmission of the virus remains under control.
"I'm not doing what is popular, I am doing what is safe, because we don't want to be back here again" if there is a new wave of infections, Andrews said.
The number of new daily coronavirus cases in Victoria has fallen to low single digits for the past several days, after running at up to several hundred in August.
The outbreak in Victoria came after other parts of Australia had successfully contained the epidemic and begun to reopen their economies, notably in neighbouring New South Wales, which includes Sydney.
Conservative politicians in other states and the federal government have been increasingly critical of Andrews's centre-left government for maintaining the strict lockdown in Victoria, saying it was undermining national recovery efforts.
"It's time to ensure that we can now move forward and give Victorians and Melburnians the opportunity to build back, to recover what has been so terribly lost," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday.
But Andrews insisted social distancing measures needed to continue to prevent another outbreak.
"I have announced today what is safe, but will not undermine the sacrifice, the hard work, the pain, the amazing efforts that Victorians have put in," he said.
Successes Down Under stand in stark contrast to the situation in Europe, where authorities from Spain to Britain have this week moved to implement tough new lockdown measures in the face of a continent-wide surge in infections.
Australia has recorded over 27,000 cases of the virus and 904 deaths in a population of 25 million, with more than 800 of the deaths in Victoria alone.