Pakistan cases, positivity ratio soar as coronavirus third wave spreads
Country reports 3,876 infections, 42 deaths in a day
The third wave of coronavirus has started to spread its tentacles all across Pakistan as the number of Covid-19 cases and the positivity ratio climbed up sharply during the last 24 hours (Friday), showed the statistics released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday morning.
A breakdown of the total cases showed that 262,796 cases have so far been detected in Sindh, 195,087 cases in Punjab, 78,653 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 19,306 in Balochistan, 50,843 in Islamabad, 4,967 in Gilgit Baltistan and 11,483 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
After the addition of 42 more deaths, the overall death tally stood at 13,799. As many as 5,944 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab, 4,478 in Sindh, 2,202 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 539 in Islamabad, 330 in Azad Kashmir, 203 in Balochistan, and 103 in Gilgit Baltistan.
Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
- AstraZeneca's wobbly restart -
A number of European nations, including France, Germany and Italy, resume administering the AstraZeneca vaccine after the troubled jab got the all-clear from EU regulators after it was suspended over safety fears.
However, Norway, Sweden and Denmark say they will not yet restart using the vaccine, while Finland says it will pause it. France -- whose 55-year-old prime minister got the jab on Friday -- now recommends it only for over-55s.
The World Health Organization's vaccine safety experts give it renewed backing, saying it "continues to have a positive benefit-risk profile".
- 'Exponential' spread -
Infection numbers in Germany are rising at an "exponential rate" as highly contagious variants drive up case numbers in the EU's biggest country, health authorities warn.
Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with the country's 16 state leaders on Monday to set new shutdown rules based on the latest developments.
- France's limited lockdown -
Millions across France are preparing to enter a new month-long limited lockdown from Saturday after the country recorded its highest new caseload in nearly four months.
Non-essential businesses will close in Paris and several other areas mainly in northern France, although schools will stay open.
- Germany eyes Sputnik V -
Germany will order Russia's Sputnik V vaccine if it is authorised for use in the EU, Chancellor Merkel says, adding that Berlin could secure supplies on its own if the bloc will not.
- Aid for poorest nations -
G7 finance ministers meeting online agree to support "sizeable" IMF aid for the poorest nations hit by the Covid pandemic, laying the groundwork for a potential agreement next month, Britain says.
- Rio beaches closed -
Rio de Janeiro's mayor closes the Brazilian city's famed beaches for the weekend and bans bus arrivals, saying the situation in the iconic beach city is "very critical" and warns that more restrictive measures could be announced Monday.
- US school rules eased -
US health authorities revise downward their recommendations on the amount of distance needed between school students, from six feet (two metres) to three feet (one metre), citing the latest research on limited coronavirus spread among children.
- Norway PM probed -
Norwegian police say they are investigating Prime Minister Erna Solberg after revelations that she and her family broke the country's Covid-19 restrictions when celebrating her 60th birthday in February in the ski resort town of Geilo.
- Queen's birthday parade cancelled -
The annual military parade in central London in June for Queen Elizabeth II's official birthday, known as the "Trooping the Colour", is cancelled for a second year owing to the pandemic.
- Nearly 2.7 million dead -
At least 2,692,313 million people have died of coronavirus around the world since the outbreak began in December 2019.
The US is the worst-affected country with 539,699 deaths followed by Brazil (287,499), Mexico (196,606), India (159,370) and Britain (125,926).
With inputs from AFP.