Sharp plunge recorded in coronavirus infections in Pakistan

NIH data shows Covid cases dropped to about half as compared to previous day: Positivity ratio plummeted to 0.33%: China plans to ease Covid lockdowns in Beijing, Shanghai: New Zealand reports nine more deaths, nearly 5,000 infections in one day

By: News Desk
Published: 10:20 AM, 29 May, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: A man has a haircut on a street during a Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown in Shanghai, China.–AFP
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There was a sharp plunge in registration of coronavirus infections as Pakistan registered 50 Covid-19 cases and no death during the last 24 hours (Saturday), showed the numbers released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Sunday morning.

As per the latest NIH data, the death toll remained the same at 30,379, whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,530,285 after adding the fresh 50 cases which were much lower than the 90 cases which were reported on the previous day.

During the last 24 hours (Saturday), 15,256 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio also plummeted to 0.33 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 76.

During the last 24 hours (Saturday), another 66 people recovered from the Covid-19 and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,496,482. As of Sunday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 3,424.

As many as 577,494 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 507,144 in Punjab, 219,675 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,391 in Islamabad, 35,500 in Balochistan, 43,332 in Azad Kashmir and 11,749 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 13,564 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,106 in Sindh, 6,324 in KP, 1,024 in Islamabad, 792 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.


China plans to ease Covid lockdowns

The Chinese metropolis of Shanghai inched further towards a gradual reopening from two months of a grinding COVID-19 lockdown, while officials in Beijing prepared to ease restrictions in parts of the capital, saying its outbreak was under control.

Shanghai aims to essentially end its lockdown from Wednesday after relaxing restrictions over the past week.

More people have been allowed out of their homes, and more businesses are permitted to reopen, although most residents remain largely confined to their housing compounds, with shops mainly limited to deliveries.

Shanghai officials urged continued vigilance, even though the vast majority of its 25 million residents live in areas that are in the lowest-risk "prevention" category.

"Wear masks in public, no gathering and keep social distance," Shanghai Municipal Health Commission's deputy director, Zhao Dandan, told a daily news conference.

Videos on social media showed Friday night revellers, including many foreigners, drinking and dancing in the street in a central area of the city before police interrupted and told them to go home.

Another video showed a group in the street singing an emotional 1985 pop anthem called Tomorrow will be Better, accompanied by a keyboard player.

Police can be seen arriving and allowing the song to finish before asking the people to go home, prompting online praise for the officers' restraint.

The two-month lockdown of China's largest and most cosmopolitan city has frustrated and infuriated residents, hundreds of thousands of whom have been quarantined in often-crowded central facilities.

Many of them struggled to access sufficient food or medical care during the lockdown's early weeks.

The state-run Shanghai Securities News reported modest steps towards a return to normality for the financial sector, with the more-than-10,000 bankers and traders who have been living and working in their offices since the start of lockdown gradually returning home.

On Saturday, the country reported 362 daily COVID-19 cases, down from 444 a day earlier. In Beijing, new Friday infections fell to 24 from 29.

While Shanghai officials reported one community-level case in the Songjiang district, they expressed confidence in the steps they were taking to trace and control the infection chain.

"If these measures are implemented effectively, we can prevent a rebound of the epidemic, even if there are sporadic cases, so don't worry," Shanghai Centre for Disease Control and Prevention's deputy director, Sun Xiaodong, said.

Beijing officials say outbreak 'effectively under control'

In Beijing, new cases have trended lower for six days, with no fresh infections outside of quarantine areas reported on Friday.

The outbreak that began on April 22 is "effectively under control", a city government spokesman told a news conference.

Starting on Sunday, shopping malls, libraries, museums, theatres and gyms will be allowed to reopen — with limits on the numbers of people allowed — in the eight of Beijing's 16 districts that have seen no community cases for seven consecutive days.

Two of the districts will end work-from-home rules, while public transportation will largely resume in three districts, including Chaoyang, the city's largest.

Still, restaurant dining remains banned city-wide.

While nationwide case numbers are improving, China's strict adherence to its "zero-COVID" strategy has devastated the world's second-largest economy and rattled global supply chains.

Investors have been worried about the lack of a road map for exiting what has been a signature policy of President Xi Jinping.

The economic impact was evident in data on Friday showing April profits at industrial firms fell an annual 8.5 per cent, the biggest drop in two years.

China's approach, which the government says is needed to save lives and prevent the health system from being overwhelmed, has been challenged by the hard-to-contain Omicron variant.

The conflict between vanquishing the spread of COVID-19 and supporting the economy comes in a politically sensitive year, with Xi expected to secure an unprecedented third leadership term at a congress of the ruling Communist Party in the autumn.

During an emergency meeting on Wednesday, Premier Li Keqiang acknowledged weak growth and said economic difficulties had been worse in some aspects than in 2020, when China was initially hit by COVID-19.

His remarks prompted market expectations of further economic support measures.

Nine more deaths, 4841 cases in New Zealand

There have been nine more deaths of people with Covid-19, and 4841 more community cases of the virus detected, the Ministry of Health says.

The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 6904, down from 7863 last Sunday.

In today's statement, the Health Ministry said there were 383 people in hospital, up from 362 yesterday, with four in ICU.

The nine new deaths today - which included four females and five males - brings the total number of deaths of people with Covid-19 in New Zealand to 1149.

Two of the new deaths reported today were people in their 60s, four were in their 70s, and three were in their 80s. One was from the Northland region, three were from the Auckland region, one was from Waikato, one was from Wairarapa, two were from Canterbury, and one was from South Canterbury.

Today's community cases were reported in the Northland (157), Auckland (1582), Waikato (342), Bay of Plenty (124), Lakes (80), Hawke's Bay (130), MidCentral (156), Whanganui (37), Taranaki (128), Tairāwhiti (25), Wairarapa (49), Capital and Coast (405), Hutt Valley (173), Nelson Marlborough (208), Canterbury (771), South Canterbury (105), Southern (300) and West Coast (67) DHBs.

There were also 43 cases identified at the border.

Yesterday there were 13 deaths reported of people with Covid-19, and 6369 new community cases.

There have now been 1,143,033 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced he has tested positive for Covid-19, following a meeting earlier in the day (US time) with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare admitted Māori Covid-19 vaccination numbers have ground to a stand-still, but said he hopes the introduction of a further booster dose for some vulnerable groups will be useful.

Last week another round of booster vaccines against Covid-19 was announced. Details of who will be eligible have not yet been decided, and legislation to allow the further rounds was expected to come into effect in mid-June.

In the US, use of Pfizer's antiviral treatment Paxlovid spiked this week, but doctors are reconsidering use of the drug for lower-risk patients.

A US public health agency said that symptoms can recur after people complete a course of the drug, and that they should then isolate a second time.

A significant step has been taken toward reshaping health emergency rules at the World Health Organisation.

Member countries on Saturday adopted a US-led reform of the rules for action on disease outbreaks, known as the International Health Regulations. The amendments have been called a once-in-a-generation chance for the international health agency to strengthen its role after the spread of Covid-19.