Pakistan again records only two coronavirus deaths

UK approves Covid jab for under-12s as new daily cases top 100,000

By: News Desk
Published: 08:07 AM, 23 Dec, 2021
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: A woman receives her Covid-19 vaccination at a pop-up clinic in the international arrivals area of Los Angeles International Airport in California.–AFP
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Pakistan has again recorded only two deaths and 359 infections from coronavirus pandemic during the last 24 hours (Wednesday). This was the second time in four days that Pakistan has posted only two Covid-19 fatalities.

According to the statistics released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Thursday morning, after the addition of two new deaths, the overall toll has now surged to 28,894 whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,292,406 after adding the fresh 359 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Wednesday), a total of 46,564 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 0.77 percent. The number of patients in critical care was 666.

During the last 24 hours (Wednesday), as many as 510 patients have recovered from the virus whereas the total recoveries stood at 1,254,104. As of Thursday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 9,408.

As many as 479,890 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 444,380 in Punjab, 181,088 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 108,354 in Islamabad, 33,614 in Balochistan, 34,651 in Azad Kashmir and 10,429 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Also Read: Alarm bells as 32 suspected Omicron cases reported in Kalat

Moreover, 13,061 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 7,658 in Sindh, 5,916 in KP, 964 in Islamabad, 745 in Azad Kashmir, 363 in Balochistan and 186 in Gilgit Baltistan.



Here are the global developments in the coronavirus crisis:

- UK daily cases top 100,000 -

British regulators approved Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine for use in children aged five to 11, as the country reported more than 100,000 new daily cases for the first time as Omicron surged.

The developments came after the government said it was cutting the isolation period required for positive cases while Wales and Northern Ireland followed Scotland in unveiling new post-Christmas curbs, primarily around hospitality and large events. 

Britain's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it had approved a new lower-dose formulation of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot after finding it was "safe and effective" for children aged five to 11.

MHRA chief executive June Raine said there was "robust evidence to support a positive benefit risk for children in this age group".

The "overwhelming majority" of reported side-effects from the two-shot "age-appropriate" jab related to mild symptoms, such as a sore arm or a flu-like illness, she added. 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises UK health departments on immunisation, said it was now recommending a primary course of the vaccination be offered to some within the age group.

Britain is in the midst of a stepped-up booster campaign, as it tries to minimise the impact of weeks of rising Omicron infections.

On Wednesday the country surpassed 30 million third doses administered as it aims to offer the additional jab to all adults before the end of the year.

- Record infections -

The variant is now the dominant strain of the virus across the UK -- already one of the hardest hit in Europe, with a death toll of nearly 148,000 -- as daily cases reach record levels.

It announced 106,122 new infections Wednesday, the highest figure since mass testing began in the summer of last year.

- Antiviral drugs deal -

However, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resisted calls to impose stricter rules in England over Christmas.

The embattled leader, reeling from weeks of scandals and setbacks -- plus growing discontent in his own party -- has said he wants more evidence on Omicron's severity and ability to evade vaccines.

- China locks down 13 million -

All 13 million residents of the northern Chinese city of Xi'an are ordered to stay at home after 52 new cases are found there.

- Fourth jab for Israelis -

Israel says people over the age of 60 and medical staff should get a fourth vaccination as it struggles to contain the spread of the Omicron variant while trying to avoid a lockdown. 

- 300,000 Russians dead -

Russia passes the grim milestone of 300,000 dead, according to an AFP tally from official sources, making it the fourth worst-hit country in the world.

- Britain bets on pills -

The UK government is to buy millions of doses of new Covid antiviral pills from Pfizer and US rival Merck/MSD as the Omicron variant rages through the country.

- French fears -

France fears cases there could top 100,000 a day by the end of December due to the faster-spreading Omicron.

- Finns close bars early -

Bars in Finland will be forced to close at 9 pm on Christmas Eve with further controls on hospitality opening hours and alcohol sales starting on December 28.

- US life expectancy falls -

Life expectancy in the United States drops by 1.8 years to 77, the steepest fall in more than 75 years, driven in large part by the pandemic. The country has the world's worst virus death toll.

- French fries rationing in Japan -

McDonald's is forced to ration French fries in Japan as Covid supply problems and floods in Canada squeeze potato imports.

- Nadal possible for Oz Open -

Australian Open chiefs are confident Rafael Nadal will play in Melbourne next month despite testing positive as fresh doubts emerge over world number one Novak Djokovic, who refuses to say if he has been vaccinated.

- More than 5.3 million dead - 

The coronavirus has killed at least 5,368,777 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally Wednesday from official sources compiled by AFP.

The US has suffered the most Covid-related deaths with 810,164, followed by Brazil with 617,948, India with 478,325 and Russia with 300,269.

Taking into account excess mortality linked to Covid-19, the World Health Organization estimates the overall death toll could be two to three times higher.

With inputs from AFP.