Nine more die of coronavirus in Pakistan
US sees record Covid-19 numbers for second day straight
Nine more people died of coronavirus in Pakistan during the last 24 hours (Saturday), taking the death toll to 6,736, showed the latest figures released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Sunday morning.
The number of new infections were reported at 832 whereas 28,724 samples were tested during the last 24 hours (Saturday), taking the national tally of cases to 327,895.
Overall 310,491 people have recovered from the disease so far. The number of active cases of the deadly disease has jumped to 10,668 in the country. As many as 562 of the patients currently under treatment in hospitals across the country are said to be in critical condition. A total of 4,264,053 tests have been conducted so far.
Till now, Sindh has reported 143,526 cases, Punjab 102,677, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 39,015, Balochistan 15,801, Islamabad 18,921, Azad Jammu and Kashmir 3,788, and Gilgit Baltistan 4,167.
Of 6,736 deaths, Sindh recorded 2,598, Punjab 2,335, KP 1,269, Islamabad 210, Balochistan 148, GB 90 and AJK 86.
On October 23, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had expressed concerns over the surge in coronavirus cases, virus-related deaths and hospital admissions during the last five days in the country.
The forum noted that the positivity ratio had risen for the fifth consecutive day. The average positivity rate was 40 percent higher during the last four days, the NCOC said, adding that deaths were also increasing.
"It was also noted that Muzaffarabad, Hyderabad, Karachi and Gilgit-Baltistan have a higher positivity ratio along with other areas across the country."
Hospital admissions were also on the increase particularly in Punjab, the forum was told. There was also an increase in the number of critical patients at hospitals.
On the global front, the United States saw a record-high number of new daily Covid-19 cases for the second day in a row on Saturday, figures from Johns Hopkins University showed, as warnings grew over its spread.
The country reported 88,973 new infections between 8:30 pm Friday and 8:30 pm Saturday, the figures showed, substantially above the previous day's 79,963.
A total of 8,568,625 cases have been reported in the United States with 224,751 deaths, the highest in the world in absolute terms.
The worst current outbreaks in the country are in the north and midwest, and some 35 of the 50 states are seeing an increase in case numbers.
The number of deaths over 24 hours has remained broadly stable since the beginning of autumn, with between 700 and 800. On Saturday the US recorded 906 deaths, the Johns Hopkins tracker showed.
President Donald Trump has sought to beat back harsh criticism of his handling of the health crisis ahead of the November 3 election, particularly from his Democratic opponent Joe Biden.
On Saturday, former President Barack Obama tore into the Trump White House's approach to the pandemic, telling a drive-in rally in Florida that "the idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this thing up is nonsense."
Trump has sought to play down the virus despite having contracted and recovered from it himself, saying businesses should reopen so the country's economy can recover.
"This election is a choice between a Trump super-recovery and a Biden depression," he told supporters in North Carolina on Saturday.
Colombia surpasses one million cases
Colombia on Saturday surpassed the benchmark of one million cases of Covid-19 registered in the country since the beginning of the pandemic, the health ministry announced.
The last 24 hours saw 8,769 new infections, bringing the total to 1,007,711 since the first case was detected on March 6, the ministry said.
Deaths rose to 30,000 after authorities added 198 fatalities from the last 10 days.
With 50 million people, Colombia is the eighth country to top a million infections, after the United States, India, Brazil, Russia, Argentina, Spain and France.
At an event in Chinchina, Caldas, President Ivan Duque stressed that Colombia has a relatively low death rate among Latin American countries on a per capita basis.
"We did much better than other countries. But I do not say this so that we feel proud, I say it because we must protect ourselves better," the conservative said.
According to the National Institute of Health, Colombia ranks tenth in the region with an average of 561 deaths per million inhabitants: almost half of Peru (1,016) and about a quarter less than Brazil (719).
Colombia went under a national lockdown on March 25, then relaxed restrictions to shore up its collapsing economy. Since September 1, the country has been relying on individual responsibility and widespread use of masks in public places.
Duque says he has allocated resources of "close to 11 percent of GDP" -- some $31 billion -- to deal with the crisis.
Unemployment in cities nonetheless climbed to an all-time high of 19.6 percent in August.
With 308,645 infections, the Colombian capital Bogota accounts for a third of the country's cases and is the city most affected by the virus.
However, in recent weeks the number of Covid patients has soared in the department of Antioquia, with intensive care units at capacity.
With inputs from AFP.