Pakistan posts ZERO coronavirus deaths, first time in two years

NCOC data shows number of higher infections at 443, positivity ratio at 1.82% with active cases plunging to less than half as compared to a day before: New Zealand, South Africa ease Covid restrictions

By: News Desk
Published: 09:38 AM, 23 Mar, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: File photo.
Stay tuned with 24 News HD Android App
Get it on Google Play

Pakistan has reported zero coronavirus deaths during the last 24 hours (Tuesday), for the first time in two years, showed figures of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) released on Wednesday morning. 

The NCOC made the announcement in its daily tally of Covid-19 cases, sparking cautious optimism among health authorities that the latest wave coronavirus pandemic is about to vanish from the country.

Other countries which have also recorded zero cases in the recent past were South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and Eswatini.

Though the number of fatalities has come to none, the 443 infections were a bit high if one looks at the numbers in recent days.

As per the latest NCOC data, the number of deaths was unchanged at 30,333 whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,522,862 after adding the fresh 443 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Tuesday), 34,476 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 1.28 percent. The number of patients in critical care was 455.

During the last 24 hours (Tuesday), as many as 7,700 patients have recovered from the virus whereas the total recoveries stood at 1,484,496. As of Wednesday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 8,033.

As many as 574,157 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 504,577 in Punjab, 218,777 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 134,991 in Islamabad, 35,460 in Balochistan, 43,227 in Azad Kashmir and 11,673 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

No death reported during the past 24 hours (Tuesday) meant that the toll remained the same in all the regions as was on Monday: 13,551 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,092 in Sindh, 6,307 in KP, 1,022 in Islamabad, 792 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.


New Zealand to ease domestic virus restrictions

New Zealand will relax its strict Covid-19 rules this week because case numbers have peaked and the population has high levels of immunity, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Wednesday.

Ardern said limits on outdoor crowd numbers would be scrapped late Friday, allowing sporting events and concerts to take place with unrestricted crowds.

She said vaccine passes and scanning codes would no longer be compulsory from April 4 and most vaccine mandates -- requiring employees to be immunised or face the sack -- would be dropped.

"This is not the end, but in some ways it is also a new beginning," Ardern told reporters, saying the changes acknowledged that "Covid is here to stay".

"To date, we've had more than 500,000 reported cases of Covid-19 and expert modellers say there have probably been 1.7 million actual infections," she said. 

"That figure, coupled with 95 percent of New Zealanders being fully vaccinated, means we now have a high level of collective immunity."

The announcement comes a week after Ardern outlined plans to open New Zealand's borders earlier than originally scheduled.

New Zealand was widely praised for keeping Covid-19 out of the community for extended periods during the pandemic but it is currently experiencing a wave of Omicron-variant infections, with almost 21,000 new cases recorded on Tuesday.

However, the population is highly vaccinated and there have been just 177 coronavirus-related deaths in a population of five million.

"While we've been successful, it's also been bloody hard," Ardern said.

"I want to start by thanking New Zealanders for the enormous sacrifices they've made over the past two years."

Ardern said vaccine mandates for the police, military and education sector would be dropped, although they would remain for healthcare and border workers.

She denied the move was linked to protests in Wellington which ended in rioting early this month as police removed a camp of anti-vaccine demonstrators that occupied the grounds outside parliament for three weeks.

"(We're acting) because it's safe to do so, not because anyone arrived on the front lawn of parliament," she said.

South Africa scraps PCR tests for jabbed travellers

South Africa, the country in Africa worst affected by coronavirus, on Tuesday relaxed some of the remaining Covid-19 curbs, dropping mandatory negative results for inbound fully-vaccinated travellers, a move expected to boost tourists numbers.

President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement to scale down restrictions imposed when the coronavirus arrived in the country in March 2020, as new infection rates slowed and deaths are fewer.

"Travellers entering South Africa will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours," said Ramaphosa.

Previously all travellers entering the country were required to produce a costly negative PCR test.

Inside the country, vaccinated individuals or those that have a negative test result will be allowed back into sporting stadiums and music and theatre shows -- which will be permitted to operate at half capacity.

"Both indoor and outdoor venues can now take up to 50 percent of their capacity provided that the criteria for entrance are proof of vaccination or a Covid test not older than 72 hours," he said in an address broadcast live on local television stations.

The mandatory wearing of face masks when outdoors has been scrapped, but will remain mandatory in public indoor spaces. 

"With these changes, almost all restrictions on social and economic activity will have been lifted," said Ramaphosa.

As of Tuesday, South Africa had recorded a total of 3,705,696 laboratory-confirmed cases, including 99,893 fatalities out of a population of 59 million.

With inputs from AFP.