Pakistan posts 449 coronavirus cases, two deaths

NIH data shows infectivity rate slides to 2.51%: Covid jab coverage in poorer countries hits 50%: Facebook bans major US anti-vaccine group

By: News Desk
Published: 09:37 AM, 20 Aug, 2022
Pakistan posts 449 coronavirus cases, two deaths
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Pakistan has reported another 449 coronavirus infections and two deaths during the last 24 hours (Friday), showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Saturday morning, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

As per the NIH data, the death toll in the country now surged to 30,550 after adding the two new fatalities while the number of total infections now stood at 1,565,768 after adding the fresh 449 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Friday), 17,872 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 2.51 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 158.

Covid jab coverage in poorer countries hits 50%

Half of people in poorer countries have now received two vaccine doses against Covid-19, a global vaccine alliance said Thursday, hailing progress in closing the vaccine equity gap.

Gavi, which co-leads the Covax global vaccine distribution scheme with the World Health Organization and others, said the 92 lower-income countries receiving donor-funded jabs had reached 50-percent coverage on average.

Gavi, the WHO and others have long condemned the stark inequities in access to vaccines developed to battle the still raging Covid pandemic.

"Vaccine inequity is the biggest moral failure of our times and people and countries are paying the price," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said earlier this year.

While those inequities remain, Gavi said massive efforts to narrow the gap were paying off.

"Lower-income countries have made remarkable strides," it said in a statement celebrating the "key Covid-19 coverage milestone".

Gavi highlighted the dramatic improvement since the start of the year, when on average only 31 percent of people across the 92 countries had received the two initial jabs.

Back then, vaccine coverage in 34 of those nations stood at below 10 percent, compared to 10 countries today, it said.

Gavi said governments had successfully prioritised the vaccination of healthcare workers, with most of the lower-income countries now protecting more than 80 percent of this highest-risk group.

Derrick Sim, acting managing director of Gavi's Covax office, hailed the "vital progress".

"The pandemic is not over," he said in Gavi's statement, pointing out that "cases and deaths continue to rise and new variants pose a threat to us all."

Since the first Covid-19 vaccines became available, Covax has shipped more than 1.4 billion doses to lower-income countries around the world.

Facebook bans major US anti-vaccine group

Facebook-owner Meta said Thursday it had kicked one of the most influential US anti-vaccination groups off the social media network for spreading Covid-19 misinformation.

The Children's Health Defense (CHD), which has been a critic of Covid vaccines, immediately accused Meta of stifling its free speech rights.

"Facebook is acting here as a surrogate for the federal government's crusade to silence all criticism of draconian government policies," CHD founder Robert Kennedy Jr., nephew of late president John F. Kennedy, said in a press release.

Meta spokesperson Aaron Simpson told AFP that the group's accounts at Facebook and Instagram were shuttered on Wednesday. The ban came after repeated violations of Meta's misinformation rules.

CHD said its social media accounts were followed by hundreds of thousands of people, and claimed the action by Meta came as a surprise.

In a release, the group shared a screen capture showing messages stating the accounts were suspended for violating Meta policies regarding "misinformation that could lead to real world harm."

CHD contended that the ban could be related to a lawsuit it filed against Meta accusing the tech giant of infringing free speech rights by relying on US Centers for Disease Control regarding what Covid-19 information is scientifically backed.

The anti-vaccine group has appealed a lower court ruling against it in the litigation, according to legal filings.

With inputs from AFP.