Death toll nears 8,000 as Pakistan has 46,861 active Covid-19 cases
Pakistan continued reporting more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases daily as the country also recorded 45 deaths during the past 24 hours (Friday), showed the figures released by National Command and Operation Centre on Saturday morning.
With the addition of 3,045 new infections, the overall number of cases has reached 392,356 with the death toll increasing to 7,942.
Amid the deadlier second coronavirus wave, Punjab continued reporting most of the deaths with another 15 patients dying of the virus. It was followed by 12 in Sindh, nine in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, six in Azad Kashmir, two in Islamabad and one in Gilgit-Baltistan.
The region-wise details of the pandemic are given as: Sindh 170,206 cases and 2,897 deaths, Punjab 117,898 cases and 2,960 deaths, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 46,604 cases and 1,355 deaths, Islamabad 29,427 cases and 307 deaths, Balochistan 17,046 cases and 165 deaths, Azad Kashmir 6,556 cases and 161 deaths, Gilgit Baltistan 4,619 cases and 97 deaths.
Besides the worst regions of Sindh, Punjab Islamabad, areas like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Kashmir are experiencing an alarming rise in infection and hospitalisation rates.
As far as the active cases are concerned, the number on Friday reached 46,861 which represented an increase of over 1,300 when compared with the previous day.
It was a net result of the fact that only 1,672 people fully recovered from the infection during the same period, as their overall number reached 337,553.
Coming back to the active coronavirus cases, 2,172 patients are in a critical condition and receiving treatment in intensive care units of different hospitals. Moreover, 281 of them are currently placed on ventilators.
During the past 24 hours, the authorities administered 48,223 more tests in their efforts to identify, isolate and trace new cases to control the infection rate, increasing the overall number to 5,435,139.
Los Angeles restrictions to halt nearly all gatherings
Los Angeles county on Friday announced a temporary ban on gatherings of people from different households under a new "safer-at-home order" triggered by a spike in Covid-19 cases, with religious services and protests exempt.
The order affecting the United States' second-largest city will take effect Monday and last at least three weeks, until December 20, the county's public health department said.
"In the new Order that goes into effect on Monday, residents are advised to stay home as much as possible," said a statement.
"All public and private gatherings with individuals not in your household are prohibited, except for faith based services and protests, which are constitutionally protected rights," it added.
Densely populated Los Angeles county has suffered over 7,600 coronavirus deaths -- more than a third of California's fatalities -- although Covid-19 is increasingly prevalent in the Golden State's remote rural areas.
California last week imposed a night-time curfew across much of the state, while Los Angeles county on Wednesday barred dining at restaurants but allowed delivery to continue.
The order comes as Los Angeles county's average new daily cases passed 4,500 for the week, triggering the tougher measures.
The "safer-at-home" measures are not as severe as the city's first lockdown in March, which saw almost all businesses close their physical premises.
But the new order reduces occupancy limits at various businesses that can remain open, including shops, spa and libraries.
All schools can remain open unless they record outbreaks.
"These targeted measures are in effect for the next three weeks and still allow for many essential and non-essential activities where residents are always masked and distanced," said public health director Barbara Ferrer.
"We know we are asking a lot from so many who have been sacrificing for months on end and we hope that L.A. County residents continue following Public Health safety measures that we know can slow the spread."
Latest global developments
Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
- Germany cases top million -
Germany on Friday sees more than 22,000 new daily cases, pushing the country's total beyond the one million mark.
More than 60.9 million people have been infected by Covid-19 around the world, and 1.4 million have died, according to an AFP tally from official sources compiled on Friday.
The US is the worst-affected country with 263,462 deaths, followed by Brazil with 171,460 deaths; India with 135,715; Mexico with 104,242; and the United Kingdom with 57,031.
AFP's specialised database shows that while Europe remains the centre of the pandemic, with an average of 236,900 new case daily -- far ahead of the US and Canada's 174,000 a day -- the rise in infections is slowly sharply.
- India Sputnik launch -
One of the developers of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine announces that India-based drugmaker Hetero will produce over 100 million doses of the shot. Apart from India, the RDIF says Sputnik V will also be produced in Brazil, China and South Korea.
And Russia's military has started a mass coronavirus vaccination campaign which aims to innoculate more than 400,000 servicemen, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announces.
- S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit records -
S&P 500 and Nasdaq in New York both close at records as markets continue to look past rising coronavirus cases toward a better 2021 economy with likely Covid-19 vaccines. European markets also advance.
- More studies needed -
The head of British drug maker AstraZeneca says further research is needed on its vaccine after it showed an average 70-percent effectiveness.
That rate jumped to 90 percent if a half dose was given first scientists discovered after a mistake was made during the clinical trials. But US scientists say the higher success rate came only during tests in people under 55.
- General to lead Canadian vaccinations -
A general who led NATO's mission in Iraq as well as Canadian troops in Afghanistan and Bosnia, Major General Dany Fortin, will spearhead efforts to immunise most Canadians against the coronavirus by September 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces.
- Ireland eases restrictions -
Ireland announces a staggered easing of lockdown restrictions to allow some businesses to reopen and for families to gather ahead of Christmas, with Taoiseach Micheal Martin saying it will offer "some respite from the hardships of 2020 and in particular, the last six weeks".
- Cyprus sets curfew -
Cyprus imposes a nationwide eight-hour night-time curfew from November 30 until December 13 to tackle rising coronavirus cases, but lifts lockdowns in the two key coastal cities of Limassol and Paphos.
- New restrictions for Wales -
- Wales will introduce more stringent restrictions, including the closure of cinemas, bowling alleys and other indoor entertainment venues, in an attempt to bring down rising infection rates ahead of an easing of the rules over Christmas
With inputs from AFP.