Coronavirus infections, fatalities rise in Pakistan in 24 hours

NIH data shows positivity ratio also climbs up: North Korea says new fever cases were flu, not Covid: Long Covid costs Australia millions of working days

By: News Desk
Published: 09:41 AM, 26 Aug, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: Schoolchildren vaccinated Covid-19 vaccine at a school in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Covid-19 vaccination for children aged 5-11 began in Dhaka, and about 25 million children will be brought under vaccination.–AFP
Stay tuned with 24 News HD Android App
Get it on Google Play

Pakistan has recorded a steep rise in the number of daily coronavirus infections and fatalities as the country registered 433 cases and six deaths during the last 24 hours (Thursday), showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Friday morning, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

As per the NIH data, the death toll in the country now surged to 30,569 after adding the six new deaths while the number of total infections now stood at 1,567,893 after adding the fresh 433 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Thursday), 16,075 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 2.69 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 122.

During the last 24 hours (Thursday), another 332 patients have recovered from the Covid-19 in Pakistan and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,528,145. As of Friday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 9,179.

As many as 593,120 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 520,440 in Punjab, 223,249 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 138,933 in Islamabad, 35,935 in Balochistan, 44,206 in Azad Kashmir and 12,010 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 13,605 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,225 in Sindh, 6,347 in KP, 1,030 in Islamabad, 793 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.


North Korea says new fever cases were flu, not Covid

North Korea said Friday that the fever cases it detected earlier this week were found to be influenza, and not a Covid-19 resurgence as initially suspected.

The state media announcement came a day after authorities said they had locked down parts of Ryanggang province -- which borders China -- after finding four new "fever" cases there.

North Korea refers to "fever patients" rather than "Covid patients" in case reports, apparently due to a lack of testing capacity.

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Thursday that the new cases were "suspected of being infected with the malignant epidemic" -- just two weeks after the country declared victory over Covid-19.

But on Friday, it said they were actually not Covid infections, and that the lockdown in the area had been lifted.

"All the fever cases... in Ryanggang Province were ones with influenza," KCNA said, citing data from the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters.

"The fever cases recovered with normal temperature."

The isolated nation, which has maintained a rigid blockade since the start of the pandemic, confirmed an Omicron outbreak in the capital Pyongyang in May.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un -- who also fell ill during the outbreak -- declared victory over the virus earlier this month and ordered the lifting of the country's "maximum emergency epidemic prevention system" as officially reported cases fell to zero.

North Korea has recorded nearly 4.8 million "fever" cases and just 74 deaths for an official fatality rate of 0.002 percent, according to state media.

Experts and the World Health Organization have long questioned Pyongyang's Covid statistics and its claims to have brought the outbreak under control.

North Korea has one of the world's worst healthcare systems, with poorly equipped hospitals, few intensive care units and no Covid treatment drugs, experts say.

It has blamed the outbreak on the South Korea and warned of "retaliation".

Long Covid costs Australia millions of working days

Long Covid has already cost the Australian economy three million working days this year, according to a government analysis seen by AFP Friday, significantly worsening the country's acute labour shortages.

The treasury report found that lingering effects of the coronavirus have been keeping some 31,000 Australians away from work every day.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said Friday that Australia's "labour market has been absolutely smashed by Covid, and Long Covid increasingly".

"The thousands of workdays the economy is losing to Long Covid is just one part of a complex picture, and gives a sense of what we are all up against," he said.

The treasury analysis defined Long Covid as someone experiencing symptoms four weeks or more after becoming infected.

This mirrors how Long Covid is characterised by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which lists a wide variety of respiratory, heart, digestive and even neurological symptoms.

These include fatigue, heart palpitations, lightheadedness, stomach pain and difficulty concentrating -- known as "brain fog".

A comprehensive study published in the Lancet this month found that one in eight people who get Covid develop at least one Long Covid symptom.

The findings of the Australian treasury analysis were in line with this study -- with 12 percent of Covid-related absenteeism attributed to Long Covid.

Australia is facing serious labour market constraints after its borders were closed to international arrivals for nearly two years during the pandemic.

The nation is experiencing the second-worst labour market shortage of any developed country, trailing only Canada, according to the OECD.

This and other issues -- including years of stagnant wage growth -- will be the subject of a "jobs summit" the new Labor government plans to hold next week.

Chalmers said challenges with skills shortages, wages and flatlining productivity would all be "front and centre at the summit".

With inputs from AFP.