Pakistan reports 19 Covid-19 deaths amid uptick in new cases

By: News Desk      Published: 11:17 AM, 21 Oct, 2020
Pakistan reports 19 Covid-19 deaths amid uptick in new cases
File photo.

Pakistan recorded 19 deaths during the past 24 hours (Tuesday) as the coronavirus spread is witnessing a persistent uptick in recent weeks which can result in a full-blown second wave.

Most of these deaths were reported from Punjab where nine people died of the virus followed by four each in Sindh and Islamabad.

It means, the latest figures released by National Command and Operation Centre show on Wednesday morning, the overall death toll in the country rose to 6,692.

On the other hand, the number of officially reported coronavirus cases increased to 324,744 after another 660 people tested positive during the past 24 hours.

The region-wise distribution of these cases is: Sindh 142,348, Punjab 101,936, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 38,779, Islamabad 18,309, Balochistan 15,717, Gilgit-Baltistan 4,091 and Azad Kashmir 3,564.

Meanwhile, 654 coronavirus patients fully recovered from the infection on Tuesday, raising the number of recoveries to 308,674. Hence, a total of 315,666 cases have so far closed in the country.

However, there are 9,378 active cases in the country out which 735 have been hospitalised. Of those receiving treatment in hospitals, 559 are in a critical condition with 88 patients placed on ventilators.

Meanwhile, 26,670 tests were administered across the country on Tuesday after which their overall number has reached 4,148,739.  

Quarantined fishermen drive New Zealand virus spike

A coronavirus outbreak among hundreds of Russian and Ukrainian fishermen flown to New Zealand to bolster its struggling deep-sea fishing industry has prompted that country's largest daily increase in infections in months, authorities said Wednesday.

Over 230 fishermen were flown in from Moscow last week, with 18 of the crew members then testing positive for Covid-19 while in quarantine, New Zealand's director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield said.

The Pacific nation has almost eliminated local transmission of the virus, but regularly records small numbers of new cases in returned travellers. 

The fishing cluster pushed the daily tally of new infections to 25, the highest level since April sparking concern among officials in prime minister Jacinda Ardern's recently reelected government.

New Zealand has recorded over 1,500 cases and 25 deaths in a population of almost five million and has been widely praised for its handling of the pandemic.

Health officials said two new cases had also been linked to a port worker, who may have come into contact with a vessel now docked off Australia's east coast.

Broad travel bans remain in place in New Zealand and those granted exemptions -- including the fishermen, who were classified as essential workers -- are forced to quarantine for 14 days.

Bloomfield said the new cases highlighted the threat of overseas arrivals. 

"We cannot afford to be complacent, we are not being complacent at the border," Bloomfield told media.

The maritime sector has also come under scrutiny in Australia, where dozens of crew members from a cattle ship docked off Australia's west coast tested positive for the virus.

"It is becoming clear that ships arriving with COVID-19 on board is one of the weakest links and the biggest risk to our way of life in Western Australia," Western Australia premier Mark McGowan said Tuesday.

Australia has recorded over 27,400 cases and 905 deaths in a population of 25 million.

With inputs from AFP.