Pakistan reports slight surge in coronavirus deaths, infections

By: News Desk      Published: 10:40 AM, 25 Feb, 2021
Pakistan reports slight surge in coronavirus deaths, infections
File photo.

The deaths and infections from coronavirus which were hovering around 50 and 1,000-1,200 respectively during the last few days in Pakistan have recorded a slight surge during the last 24 hours (Wednesday), showed figures of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) released on Thursday morning.

During the last 24 hours (Wednesday), another 64 people lost their lives to the novel coronavirus whereas 1,361 new infections were reported. As per the latest NCOC data, with the addition of 64 more fatalities, the death toll has surged to 12,772 while the number of total confirmed cases stood at 575,941, after adding 1,361 more infections.

During the past 24 hours (Wednesday), 1,681 patients have recovered from the virus while the number of total recoveries stood at 539,888. The total count of active cases across Pakistan was 23,281.

As many as 257,089 coronavirus cases have now been confirmed in Sindh, 169,474 in Punjab, 71,490 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 43,901 in Islamabad, 19,010 in Balochistan, 10,022 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 4,955 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 5,308 individuals have lost their lives to the epidemic in Punjab so far, 4,315 in Sindh, 2,058 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 494 in Islamabad, 296 in Azad Kashmir, 199 in Balochistan and 102 in Gilgit Baltistan.

A total of 40,906 tests were conducted during the last 24 hours (Wednesday) while 8,831,892 samples have been tested so far.

NCOC lifts all restrictions

The National Command Operation Centre (NCOC) has decided to loosen some of the coronavirus restrictions that it earlier put in place after carefully reviewing the existing non-pharmaceutical interventions.

The NCOC added that the decisions could be reviewed again in view of the increased disease prevalence, whenever deemed necessary.

According to a statement issued in this regard, provinces can, however, enforce targeted NPIs where required, depending upon disease prevalence in a given area or sector.

Following are some of the decisions taken by the NCOC.

Time-limit lifted from commercial activities and amusement parks;

Condition of 50% work from home removed for office employees;

Indoor wedding ceremonies will be allowed from March 15, 2021, with stringent COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place;

Indoor dining allowed from March 15, subject to a review on March 10;

Opening of cinemas and shrines allowed with strict COVID-19 SOPs with effect from March 15;

Wearing of face masks, social distancing, smart lockdowns will continue and will be ensured;

From a health perspective, the conduct of local bodies and cantonment board elections may be planned by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) by the end of May or early June 2021.

Spectators' attendance in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Pool matches to be increased to 50 % from the current 20%. Whereas, full attendance will be allowed for play-offs with stringent COVID-19 SOPs in place.

GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS

These are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

- J & J jab 'highly effective' -

The US Food and Drug Administration finds the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine is highly effective in preventing severe cases including newer variants.

- Shots, masks for Americans -

The White House virus response coordinator anticipates distributing at least three million Johnson & Johnson vaccines next week pending the jab's emergency use authorisation and also plans to distribute 25 million masks starting in March.

- First Covax shipment -

Ghana receives the first shipment of vaccines from Covax, a global scheme led by the World Health Organization and the Gavi vaccine alliance among others to procure and distribute jabs for free to poorer countries.

- France local lockdown -

Greater Dunkirk in France's north joins the French Riviera in locking down on weekends with residents' outings severely restricted from Friday evenings through Monday mornings.

- Unvaccinated singled out -

Israel's parliament passes a law allowing the government to share with other authorities the identities of people not vaccinated, raising privacy concerns for those opting out of the jabs.

- Political jabs? -

Israel says it is sending a "limited quantity" of unused vaccines to several countries, including two -- Honduras and the Czech Republic -- that have announced plans to boost their diplomatic presence in Jerusalem. It is also sending excess stock to the Palestinians, following up on a previous, limited distribution.

- No Kenyans at Kilimanjaro -

Kenya's athletes are banned from competing in Tanzania's top marathon race this Saturday over concerns about the rampant spread of the virus in Tanzania, where the government has been criticised for downplaying the pandemic.

- 'My health has improved' -

A distressing video of Tanzania's finance minister showed Philip Mpango coughing and gasping as he gave a press conference outside a hospital in the capital Dodoma after rumours that he had died of the virus. 

"I came to the hospital with my oxygen cylinder," Mpango said, his voice trembling, "but in the last three days I did not use it because my health has improved".

- Switzerland reopens shops, museums -

Switzerland's shops, museums and zoos can reopen from March 1 -- the first steps out of restrictions and into what the government calls the "gradual normalisation of social and economic life".

- Ireland, Italy, Sweden extend restrictions -

Ireland's third lockdown will be extended by a month and Italy's health minister says its citizens should also brace for another month of restrictions due to new strains.

Sweden announces restaurants will close by 8:30 pm and the number of people allowed in shops and gyms will be restricted.

- 2.4 million deaths -

The virus has caused at least 2,486,116 deaths around the world since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources.

The US is the worst-affected country with 502,681 deaths, followed by Brazil with 248,529, Mexico with 181,809, India with 156,567 and Britain with 121,305.

With inputs from AFP.