Coronavirus infections fall below 200 in Pakistan

NCOC reports two more deaths with positivity ratio sliding to 0.70%: US authorizes fourth Covid shot for over 50s: EU ministers seek unity on fourth Covid shot

By: News Desk
Published: 10:03 AM, 30 Mar, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: An Indonesian nurse administers a Pfizer booster vaccine for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Jakarta.–AFP
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Pakistan saw another positive development in its fight against coronavirus pandemic when the daily number of infections fell below 200 mark during the last 24 hours (Tuesday), reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Wednesday.

According to the latest figures released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday morning, Pakistan has recorded 194 infections and two deaths by Covid-19 during the last 24 hours (Tuesday). 

As per the latest NCOC data, with the addition of two more deaths the toll inched up to 30,349, whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,524,549 after adding the fresh 194 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Tuesday), 27,492 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 0.70 percent. The number of patients in critical care was 432.

During the last 24 hours (Tuesday), as many as 136 patients have recovered from the virus whereas the total recoveries stood at 1,485,609. As of Wednesday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 8,591.

As many as 575,109 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 504,962 in Punjab, 218,988 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,058 in Islamabad, 35,471 in Balochistan, 43,261 in Azad Kashmir and 11,700 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 13,554 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,095 in Sindh, 6,316 in KP, 1,023 in Islamabad, 792 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.


US authorizes fourth Covid shot for over 50s

The United States Tuesday authorized a fourth dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines for people 50 and older, as authorities warn of a possible new wave driven by the BA.2 variant.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a statement it had based its decision on emerging evidence that an additional booster, given four months after the last, improved protection against severe Covid and wasn't associated with new safety concerns.

Additionally, people with immune compromising conditions who have already received four shots, with their latest at least four months ago, are now eligible for a fifth dose.

That includes people living with certain organ transplants.

The Pfizer vaccine will be available to immune compromised people aged 12 and over, while the Moderna vaccine will be available to those 18 and up.

"Current evidence suggests some waning of protection over time against serious outcomes from Covid-19 in older and immunocompromised individuals," senior FDA scientist Peter Marks said, explaining the decision.

The FDA said data from Israel, which had studied the effects of a fourth dose given four months after the third on 700,000 people, found the extra shot was safe.

It also cited data from a study of 154 health workers whose antibody levels, including against the Delta and Omicron variants, were restored to high levels two weeks after their fourth doses.

A study published by Israeli researchers in the New England Journal of Medicine this month indicated that three doses of current generation mRNA vaccines have hit a ceiling in terms of the immune response generated.

In other words, while three doses brings immunity levels to new heights, the fourth dose restores antibody levels to where they previously were shortly after the third.

Experts have said the benefits to younger, healthy people aren't yet clear, and say new vaccines will likely need to be developed as the virus continues to mutate.

EU ministers seek unity on fourth Covid shot

EU health ministers on Tuesday said they wanted to better coordinate scattered national policies on giving out fourth doses of the  covid vaccine and asked the Brussels executive to come up with a plan next week.

"Today we see states that have opened the fourth dose to over 75-year-olds, others to over 80 years, as is the case of France, while the Netherlands is at over 60 years," said Olivier Veran, the health minister for France which currently hold the bloc's presidency.

"Others have not yet started, so it creates legitimate questions," Veran told reporters.

Veran said that the ministers asked the European Commission to coordinate with the 27 member states, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) towards a common position.

"The COVID 19 pandemic is of course still with us. Vaccination is as important today as it was a few months ago," said EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides.

"Unfortunately, we are seeing vaccinations plateauing, at the same time as restrictions are being lifted and this is understandable" she said.

Kyriakides said there are still more than 100 million unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated people in Europe.

"Vaccination remains our best tool in combating the pandemic and we must be prepared for the autumn and winter months," she added.

With inputs from AFP.