Pakistan records 152 more coronavirus infections

NIH data shows positivity ratio soars to 1.30%: US national security adviser Sullivan tests positive for Covid: US approves vaccines for youngest kids

By: News Desk
Published: 09:34 AM, 19 Jun, 2022
Pakistan records 152 more coronavirus infections
Caption: People in costume participate in Coney Island's annual Mermaid Parade in New York City. After a two-year hiatus because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 40th Mermaid Parade came back with hundreds of participants.–AFP
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Pakistan has reported another 152 coronavirus infections and no death during the last 24 hours (Saturday), showed the figures released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Saturday morning.

As per the NIH data, the death toll in Pakistan remained unchanged at 30,383, whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,531,982 after adding the fresh 152 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Saturday), 11,663 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio shot up to 1.30 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 55.

During the last 24 hours (Saturday), another 107 people recovered from the Covid-19 in Pakistan and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,498,406. As of Sunday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 3,193.

As many as 578,156 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 507,670 in Punjab, 219,787 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,745 in Islamabad, 35,512 in Balochistan, 43,359 in Azad Kashmir and 11,753 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 13,566 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,108 in Sindh, 6,324 in KP, 1,024 in Islamabad, 792 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.

Jake Sullivan tests positive for Covid

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan tested positive on Saturday for Covid, according to the White House.

Sullivan typically has frequent contact with President Joe Biden but last was in contact with the president early in the week, according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Sullivan had been keeping his distance from Biden after “a couple” of people he had been in close contact with had tested positive for the virus, the official said.

Adrienne Watson, a National Security Council spokeswoman, said Sullivan “is asymptomatic and he has not been in close contact with the president.”

The White House confirmed on Thursday that Biden had tested negative that day. White House officials did not immediately respond a request for comment on whether Biden has been tested more recently.

US approves Covid vaccines for youngest kids

US health authorities on Saturday cleared the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines for children aged five and younger, in a move President Joe Biden greeted as a "monumental step" in the fight against the virus.

The United States thus became the first country to approve use of the so-called mRNA vaccines for children as young as six months.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had on Friday authorized their emergency use for young children -- who previously had to be at least five to receive the vaccine.

But the vaccines required further clearance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the country's leading public health agency -- and they received that on Saturday.

"We know millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today's decision, they can," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement Saturday.

Once the green light was received from the FDA, the US government began distributing millions of doses of the vaccine across the country.

Biden promised that parents could begin scheduling appointments as early as next week to have their young children vaccinated at hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and doctor's offices. 

In a statement Saturday, he touted the vaccines as "safe (and) highly effective," and said that "for parents all over the country, this is a day of relief and celebration."

In coming weeks, with more and more doses shipped out, "every parent who wants a vaccine will be able to get one," he said.

The Moderna vaccine, administered in two doses a month apart, will be available to children aged six months to five years in reduced doses of 25 micrograms (half the amount given children aged six to 11, and a quarter the dose for those 12 and older).

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is now authorized for children aged six months to four years, and will be given in doses of three micrograms per injection -- one-tenth the adult dosage.

The difference, however, is that children will receive three shots -- the first two three weeks apart, followed by a third eight weeks later.

So, children receiving it will not have full protection for the first few months. 

Its side effects, however, have appeared less serious in drug trials than those of the Moderna vaccine.  

About a quarter of young children receiving Moderna have developed fevers, particularly after the second dose -- but they generally lasted no more than a day. 

About 20 million US children are now eligible, by age, for the new vaccines

While children have generally proved less vulnerable to Covid-19, some 480 in the US in this age group have died of the virus.

So-called long Covid is also a concern, as is multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a rare but serious post-viral condition.

Pfizer has said it hopes to apply in early July to the European Medicines Agency for authorization to provide its vaccines to children in this youngest age group.

With inputs from AFP.