Pakistan posts new 85 corona infections, no death

NIH data shows positivity rate stood at 0.45%, number of critical cases down to 209: Shanghai reports more deaths as Covid-19 toll rises

By: News Desk
Published: 09:23 AM, 19 Apr, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: A Covid testing sign stands on a Brooklyn street corner in New York City where infection numbers have increased over the past 45 days with a positivity rate of nearly 4.5%, a rate significantly higher in some neighbourhoods.–AFP
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Pakistan has registered another 85 coronavirus infections with no death during the last 24 hours (Monday), showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Tuesday morning.

As per the latest NIH data, there was no change in the death toll as compared to the previous day which was 30,364, whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,527,411 after adding the fresh 85 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Monday), 18,563 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 0.45 percent. The number of patients in critical care was 209.

   During the last 24 hours (Monday), as many as 45 patients have recovered from the virus whereas the total recoveries stood at 1,493,707. As of Tuesday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 3,340.

As many as 576,618 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 505,720 in Punjab, 219,389 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,159 in Islamabad, 35,483 in Balochistan, 43,306 in Azad Kashmir and 11,736 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 13,559 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,098 in Sindh, 6,323 in KP, 1,023 in Islamabad, 792 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.


Shanghai reports more deaths as Covid-19 toll rises

China reported seven new deaths from Covid-19 in Shanghai on Tuesday, raising the official toll after hundreds of thousands of cases in the metropolis during a weeks-long lockdown.

City authorities revealed the first virus deaths on Monday, with Tuesday's fatalities bringing the total official toll to just 10, despite the scale of the outbreak.

Beijing insists its zero-Covid policy of hard lockdowns, mass testing and lengthy quarantines has averted fatalities and the public health crises that have engulfed much of the rest of the world.

But some have cast doubt on official figures in a nation whose vast elderly population has a low vaccination rate. Shanghai health officials noted Sunday that less than two-thirds of residents over 60 had received two Covid jabs and less than 40 percent had received a booster.

Unverified social media posts have also claimed unreported deaths -- typically before being scrubbed from the internet. Hong Kong, meanwhile, has attributed nearly 9,000 deaths to Covid-19 since the Omicron variant surged there in January.

The Shanghai Municipal Health Commission on Tuesday said the seven victims were aged between 60 and 101, and all suffered from underlying conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

The patients "became severely ill after admission to hospital, and died after ineffective rescue efforts, with the direct cause of death being underlying diseases", the commission said.

It also reported more than 20,000 new Covid cases, the vast majority asymptomatic.

Many of Shanghai's 25 million residents have been confined to their homes since March as daily caseloads have topped 25,000 -- a modest figure by global standards but virtually unheard of in China.

Many inhabitants have flooded social media with complaints of food shortages, spartan quarantine conditions and heavy-handed enforcement, circulating footage of rare protests faster than government censors can delete them.

The country's zero-tolerance approach to Covid had largely slowed new cases to a trickle after the virus first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.

But officials have scrambled in recent weeks to contain cases spanning multiple regions, largely driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

US judge strikes down mask mandate for public transport

A US federal judge on Monday struck down the Covid-19 mask mandate for public transportation imposed by the administration of President Joe Biden, prompting major airlines to quickly drop the requirement.

US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle of the Middle District of Florida said the mask mandate exceeds the statutory authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The mandate requiring face masks on airplanes, subways, trains, buses, taxis and other forms of public transportation was recently extended by the CDC until May 3 amid a rise in coronavirus cases.

US airlines and a number of Republican lawmakers have called for an end to the mask mandate, which was issued by the CDC on February 3, 2021, shortly after Biden took office.

In light of the decision, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which runs security at airports, will not enforce directives "requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time," an administration official said.

After the ruling was announced, United Airlines dropped its mask mandate on domestic flights and some international flights, depending on the rules in the country of arrival.

"While this means that our employees are no longer required to wear a mask -- and no longer have to enforce a mask requirement for most of the flying public -- they will be able to wear masks if they choose to do so, as the CDC continues to strongly recommend wearing a mask on public transit," the airline said in a statement.

It was soon followed by American Airlines, Delta Airlines and Alaska Airlines, who all made masks optional for crew members and customers on domestic and most international flights.

Like United, they cautioned that travelers would still be subject to local mask regulations at their destinations.

- White House disappointed -

Alaska also noted that the mask rule reversal, however, did not undo some decisions made while the measure was still in place.

Certain customers who were banned for not following the mask directive will remain barred, the airline said in a statement.

"We will have some guests whose behavior was particularly egregious who will remain banned, even after the mask policy is rescinded," it said.

Mizelle, a nominee of former Republican president Donald Trump, issued her ruling in a lawsuit filed in July 2021 by a conservative non-profit organization called the Health Freedom Defense Fund and two individual plaintiffs. 

Although the public has a "strong interest" in combating the spread of Covid, the judge said, the mask mandate "exceeded the CDC's statutory authority," and it "failed to adequately explain its decisions."

"Because our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends, the Court declares unlawful and vacates the Mask Mandate," Mizelle said in a 59-page ruling.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the ruling a "disappointing decision."

"The CDC continues recommending wearing a mask in public transit," Psaki said.

There was no immediate comment from the Justice Department, which could potentially appeal the ruling.

With inputs from AFP.