Coronavirus claims 64 more lives as Pakistan readies vaccination drive

By: News Desk      Published: 10:24 AM, 28 Jan, 2021
Coronavirus claims 64 more lives as Pakistan readies vaccination drive
File photo.

As Pakistan unveiled plans to launch coronavirus vaccination, there was no let-up in the number of fatalities and infections the deadly Covid-19 is causing throughout the country.

As many as 64 people lost their lives due to the coronavirus whereas 1,910 fresh cases were reported during the last 24 hours (Wednesday) in Pakistan, showed the data released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Thursday morning.

With the new 64 fatalities, the death toll has now surged to 11,514 while the number of confirmed cases stood at 539,387.

During the past 24 hours (Wednesday), as many as 2,371 patients have recovered from the disease while the number of total recoveries climbed up to 494,578.

As of Thursday morning, the total count of active Covid-19 cases was 33,295 while the national positivity ratio was recorded at 4.67 percent.

As usual, Sindh remained at the top in terms of cases followed by Punjab and other regions.

As many as 243,683 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Sindh, 155,805 in Punjab, 66,198 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 41,076 in Islamabad, 18,788 in Balochistan, 8,931 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 4,906 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Moreover, 4,661 individuals have died due to the virus in Punjab, 3,957 in Sindh, 1,870 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 472 in Islamabad, 259 in Azad Kashmir, 193 in Balochistan, and 102 in Gilgit Baltistan.

At least 40,821 tests have been conducted during the last 24 hours (Wednesday) while 7,804,935 samples have been tested so far.

On Wednesday, Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar announced that the Covid-19 vaccination drive will be launched next week, starting with front-line health workers.

In a tweet, the minister said: "The system for vaccination is in place. Hundreds of vaccination centres in the country will be administering the Covid vaccine. Insha’Allah, the vaccination of frontline health workers will start next week."

Global developments

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

- Cases top 100 million -

At least 2,159,155 people have died of coronavirus since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally from official sources.

More than 100,236,603 cases have been registered.

The US has suffered the highest toll with 425,227 deaths, followed by Brazil with 218,878 and India with 153,724.

The number of deaths globally is underestimated. The toll is calculated from daily figures published by national health authorities and does not include later revisions by statistics agencies.

- EU-AstraZeneca row -

Pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca says it will attend a meeting with EU representatives to discuss delays of its vaccine, contradicting earlier claims from Brussels.

- Sanofi solidarity -

French pharma group Sanofi agrees to help produce 125 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab at its factory in Frankfurt after abandoning development of its own vaccine.

- Pricy quarantine -

British citizens returning from roughly 30 "high risk" countries must quarantine in hotels near airports for 10 days with in-room meals and security guard supervision costing £1,500 ($2,060, 1,697 euros).

- Ambush lockdowns -

A spike in cases spurs Hong Kong to try "ambush lockdowns" where neighbourhoods are closed off without warning and everyone inside subjected to tests.

- Peru restricted -

Half of Peru's population, including residents of the capital Lima, will enter a two-week lockdown at the end of January with authorities reporting a spike in deaths.

- Worse than nasal swab -

China is using rectal swabs to test those it deems at "high risk" of infection with doctors citing higher efficacy as virus traces "linger longer" in the anus. 

- Covid passports -

Iceland issues its first digital certificates to ease international movement for vaccinated travellers, including 4,800 Icelanders who've already received two doses.

- 300 million Americans -

The Biden administration says the US government is purchasing an additional 200 million Pfizer and Moderna jabs and will have enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of the summer.

- Microsoft boon -

The US technology stalwart says its profits rose 17 percent from a year ago to $43.1 billion as the pandemic pushed work, play and socialising on to the cloud.

- Trujillo dies -

Colombian Defence Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo, who had overseen the government's fight against drug gangs and guerrillas, dies of coronavirus at 69.

- Lebanon riots -

Clashes between lockdown protesters and police in northern Lebanese city Tripoli -- one of the country's poorest -- injure at least 45 as frustration with tight restrictions boils over. 

- Moscow eased -

Russia's capital announces further easing of restrictions citing the improving health situation, even as many countries tighten anti-virus measures.

- Olympics test delayed -

The first Tokyo Olympics test of 2021 -- an artistic swimming event set for early March -- is postponed due to travel restrictions under Japan's state of emergency.

 

With inputs from AFP.