Govt yet to wake up as coronavirus cases skyrocket in Pakistan

NIH data shows positivity ratio doubling in days: Moderna says new booster candidate effective against Omicron subvariants

By: News Desk
Published: 10:59 AM, 23 Jun, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: A Chinese health worker takes a swab sample from a woman to be tested for the Covid-19 coronavirus at a swab collection site in Beijing.–AFP
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It appeared that there was nobody bothering on the part of the government except to upload the latest Covid-19 data on the Internet as the number of daily coronavirus infections in Pakistan were multiplying fast with positivity ratio doubling within days.

Pakistan has recorded a massive rise in its daily Covid-19 cases as the country registered 268 infections, one death and positivity ratio skyrocketing to 2.14 percent, showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Thursday morning

As per the NIH data, the death toll in Pakistan has inched up to 30,385 after adding a fatality which was reported from Sindh whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,532,738 after adding the fresh 268 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Wednesday), 12,513 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio also shot up to 2.14 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 75.

During the last 24 hours (Wednesday), another 104 patients recovered from the Covid-19 in Pakistan and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,498,698. As of Thursday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 3,655.

As many as 578,576 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 507,824 in Punjab, 219,845 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,853 in Islamabad, 35,519 in Balochistan, 43,367 in Azad Kashmir and 11,754 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 13,566 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,109 in Sindh, 6,324 in KP, 1,025 in Islamabad, 792 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.

 

Moderna says new booster candidate effective against Omicron subvariants

Moderna on Wednesday said its new Covid booster candidate, which it is hoping to get approved this fall, performed well against Omicron's latest subvariants.

The US biotech company announced earlier this month that the so-called "bivalent" vaccine, which targets the original Covid strain and original Omicron BA.1, performed better against both compared to its original Covid vaccine called Spikevax.

In new results from a clinical study, the company said that the booster also did well against BA.4 and BA.5, Omicron's latest subvariants that are becoming dominant thanks to their increased ability to evade prior immunity, and enhanced transmissibility.

The bivalent booster elicited high levels of infection-blocking antibodies against BA.4 and BA.5 both in people who were previously infected and those not previously infected.

However even those high levels were still one third the levels achieved against the original Omicron strain, BA.1

"We will submit these data to regulators urgently and are preparing to supply our next generation bivalent booster starting in August, ahead of a potential rise in SARS-CoV-2 infections due to Omicron subvariants in the early fall," said Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel in a statement.

The BA.4 and BA.5 variants hammered South Africa, where they were first discovered, in April and May -- despite high population immunity conferred by prior waves and vaccinations.

Like other Omicron variants they tend to have a milder disease course as they settle less in the lungs and more in the upper nasal passages, causing symptoms like fever, tiredness and loss of smell.

Denmark offers fourth Covid vaccine dose to over-50s

Denmark's government said Wednesday the country will begin offering a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to risk groups next week and all over-50s after the summer, amid the emergence of a new variant.

"Authorities believe the new variant is more infectious than the previous one, which is why we are acting now... to protect the most vulnerable and the elderly", Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told reporters.

She said those most at risk would be able to receive a fourth dose starting next week.

The Omicron subvariant BA.5 now accounts for 59 percent of new cases in Denmark, which has registered more than 3.1 million infections since the beginning of the pandemic in a country of 5.8 million people. 

Denmark, which paused its vaccination campaign at the end of April, said the campaign would scale up after the summer.

"Health authorities have recommended a revaccination of 2.5 million Danes in the autumn", Fredriksen said.

The fourth dose will be offered to all over-50s as of October 1. Around 62 percent of Danes have already received a third dose. 

The Scandinavian country lifted all of its corona restrictions on February and has no plans to reintroduce them.

"Our strategy is a society without restrictions, that is why we need to prevent the illness" more than the spread of the infection, the head of Denmark's National Board of Health, Soren Brostrom, told reporters at the same press conference.

He urged people with symptoms to test themselves and isolate if their test is positive.

With inputs from AFP.