Positivity ratio plunges as Pakistan records 70 more coronavirus cases

NIH data shows no death: Two types of Omicron classified as Covid variants of concern in UK: Stricter curbs in Shanghai after fresh cases reported

By: News Desk
Published: 10:04 AM, 21 May, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: Employees at North Korea’s Central Ideals Zoo disinfect the zoo to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Pyongyang.–AFP
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Pakistan has recorded a plunge in positivity ration as it registered another 70 coronavirus cases and no fatality during the last 24 hours (Friday), showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Saturday morning.

As per the latest NIH data, the death toll remained the same at 30,379, whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,529,711 after adding the fresh 70 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Friday), 18,773 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio plunged to 0.37 percent from 0.58 percent a day earlier. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 71.

During the last 24 hours (Friday), another 59 people recovered from the Covid-19 and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,495,992. As of Saturday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 3,340.

As many as 577,258 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 506,925 in Punjab, 219,631 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,329 in Islamabad, 35,496 in Balochistan, 43,324 in Azad Kashmir and 11,748 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 13,564 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,106 in Sindh, 6,324 in KP, 1,024 in Islamabad, 792 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.

Two types of Omicron classified as Covid variants of concern in UK

Two types of the Omicron known as BA.4 and BA.5 have been labelled as variants of concern in the UK after new evidence on their growth, officials have revealed.

The wave of Omicron that hit the UK over the winter involved a form of the virus known as BA.1, with the sub-lineage BA.2 driving a subsequent wave in spring 2022.

While the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, released on Thursday, reveals that BA.2 remains dominant in the UK, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has revealed that two further Omicron sub-lineages, BA.4 and BA.5, have been added to the list of “variants of concern”. BA.4 and BA.5 are currently fuelling a new wave of Covid in South Africa.

Dr Meera Chand, UKHSA director of clinical and emerging infections, said the reclassification reflects emerging evidence on the growth of BA.4 and BA.5 internationally and in the UK. “Whilst the impact of these variants is uncertain, the variant classification system aims to identify potential risk as early as possible,” she said.

“UKHSA is undertaking further detailed studies. Data and analysis will be released in due course through our regular surveillance reporting.”

According to the UKHSA, as of Thursday there had been 115 confirmed cases of BA.4 and 80 cases of BA.5 in the UK. However, a report by the agency reveals modelling suggests they have a growth advantage over BA.2, including in the UK. In other words they could end up outcompeting the current dominant form of the coronavirus.

While the report cautions there is a higher degree of uncertainty, a preprint from a team including Prof Tulio de Oliveira, director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation at Stellenbosch University, suggested BA.4 and BA.5 appear to have a similar growth advantage over BA.2 as it had over BA.1.

Stricter curbs in Shanghai after fresh cases reported

Shanghai announced its first new Covid-19 cases outside quarantined areas in five days on Friday and imposed stricter curbs in two districts, but did not signal any change to the planned end of a prolonged city-wide lockdown on June 1.

The commercial hub of 25 million, in its seventh week of lockdown, has been slowly allowing more people to leave their homes in recent days, with many residential compounds issuing passes for brief walks or trips to the supermarket.

But in a sign of the challenges of China's "zero COVID" policy - at odds with the resumption of normal life in the rest of the world - authorities in Shanghai's Qingpu said on Friday it had sealed off and disinfected several places and tested more than 250,000 residents after discovering three cases.

Another district, Hongkou, on Friday afternoon ordered all shops to shut and residents to stay home until at least Sunday as it plans to carry out mass testing. It did not say why it had taken the action.

"Our district will carry out three consecutive rounds of PCR tests for everyone," authorities in Hongkou, home to more than 750,000 people, said on its official WeChat account.

"During this screening, all supermarkets, street-side shops must stop operations, everyone should not leave their homes."