Pakistan logs another 76 coronavirus case, no fatality

Spain eases Covid entry for unvaccinated tourists: Thousands of Covid-negative Beijing residents sent to quarantine

By: News Desk
Published: 09:18 AM, 22 May, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: An immigrant mother from Colombia (L) rests with her daughter and cousin after crossing the US-Mexico border barrier in Yuma, Arizona. Title 42, the controversial pandemic-era border policy enacted by former President Trump, which cites Covid-19 as the reason to rapidly expel asylum seekers at the US border, was set to officially expire on May 23rd.–AFP
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Pakistan has posted another 76 coronavirus cases and no fatality during the last 24 hours (Saturday), showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Sunday 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 1,529,727 after adding the fresh 76 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Saturday), 14,308 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio rose to 0.53 percent from 0.37 percent a day earlier. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 79.

During the last 24 hours (Saturday), another 62 people recovered from the Covid-19 and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,496,054. As of Sunday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 3,294.

As many as 577,288 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 506,893 in Punjab, 219,638 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,338 in Islamabad, 35,496 in Balochistan, 43,326 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.

Spain eases Covid entry for unvaccinated tourists

Spain on Saturday eased Covid entry rules for unvaccinated tourists from outside the European Union, in a boost for the key tourism sector ahead of the peak summer holidays.

Until now travellers from outside the bloc -- including Spain's main tourism market Britain -- could only enter with proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19.

But as of Saturday visitors from outside of the EU will also be allowed to enter Spain with a negative Covid test result, the transport ministry said in a statement.

PCR tests must be carried out in the 72 hours prior to departure to Spain or an antigen test 24 hours prior to departure.

Tourism Minister Maria Reyes Maroto said the "new phase of the pandemic" meant the country was able to relax the rules by equating non-EU travellers with those of the bloc.

"This is excellent news, much awaited by the tourism sector, which will make it easier for tourists outside of Europe to visit us during the high season," she added in the statement.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from submitting any type of certificate.

With sunny beaches and a rich architectural heritage, Spain was the world's second most visited country before the pandemic, with 83.5 million foreign visitors in 2019.

But international travel restrictions related to the pandemic brought Spain's tourism sector to its knees in 2020 as it welcomed just 19 million tourists.

The figure rose to 31.1 million in 2021, far below the government forecast of 45 million arrivals.

Thousands of Covid-negative Beijing residents sent to quarantine

Thousands of Covid-negative Beijing residents were relocated to quarantine hotels overnight due to a handful of infections, as the capital begins to take more extreme control measures resembling virus-hit Shanghai.

Beijing has been battling its worst outbreak since the pandemic started. The Omicron variant has infected over 1,300 since late April, leading city restaurants, schools and tourist attractions to be closed indefinitely.

China's strategy to achieve zero Covid cases includes strict border closures, lengthy quarantines, mass testing and rapid, targeted lockdowns.

Over 13,000 residents of the locked-down Nanxinyuan residential compound in southeast Beijing were relocated to quarantine hotels overnight Friday due to 26 new infections discovered in recent days, according to photos and a government notice widely shared on social media.

"Experts have determined that all Nanxinyuan residents undergo centralised quarantine beginning midnight May 21 for seven days," authorities from Chaoyang district said Friday.

"Please cooperate, otherwise you will bear the corresponding legal consequences."

Social media photos showed hundreds of residents with luggage queueing in the dark to board coaches parked outside the compound. 

"Some of us have been locked down for 28 days since April 23, and we all tested negative throughout," wrote one resident on the Twitter-like Weibo. 

"A lot of my neighbours are elderly or have young children."

"The transfer really makes us feel like we're in a wartime scene," resident and real estate blogger Liu Guangyu posted on Weibo early Saturday.

Liu told AFP that they were only notified of the move half a day in advance, but said he was satisfied with the hotel. 

Residents were told to pack their clothes and essential belongings, and that their homes would be disinfected afterwards, according to screenshots shared on Weibo. 

Last month, thousands of Covid-negative Shanghai residents were bussed to makeshift quarantine centres hundreds of kilometres away as the metropolis of 25 million doubled down on efforts to contain the spread of the virus.  

Weibo users expressed widespread anxiety that Beijing authorities were taking a similar approach to Shanghai, where residents have chafed under a months-long lockdown that has denied many people adequate access to food and medical care.

The Weibo hashtag "All residents of Nanxinyuan compound were dragged to quarantine" was blocked by Saturday morning.

"This is exactly the same as Shanghai, the first step is to cut off water and electricity, then demand keys... then disinfect homes. Electrical appliances, wooden furniture, clothes, food -- they're all done for," read one comment. 

Chaoyang District disease control authorities told AFP that it does not release information externally and to rely on the Beijing authorities' Covid press conference.

Beijing authorities on Saturday extended work from home guidance to one more district, one day after halting the vast majority of public bus and subway services.

With inputs from AFP.