Pakistan records 6,808 fresh coronavirus cases in 24 hours

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s coronavirus scorecard was hit by a ‘storm of infections’ as the country’s positivity ratio has rocketed to well over 11 percent during the last 24 hours amid the government’s desperate efforts to stem the Covid-19 spread fuelled by the Omicron variant.

According to the latest statistics released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Thursday morning, Pakistan recorded 6,808 fresh coronavirus cases powering the infectivity rate to shoot up to 11.55 percent whereas the number of deaths stood at five during the last 24 hours (Wednesday).

As per the NCOC data, after the addition of five new deaths, the overall toll has now surged to 29,042 whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,345,801 after adding the fresh 6,808 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Wednesday), 58,943 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 11.55 percent. The number of patients in critical care was 918.

During the last 24 hours (Wednesday), as many as 426 patients have recovered from the virus whereas the total recoveries stood at 1,265,665. As of Thursday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 51,091.

As many as 513,046 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 456,992 in Punjab, 182,950 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 113,688 in Islamabad, 33,780 in Balochistan, 34,884 in Azad Kashmir and 10,461 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Moreover, 13,093 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 7,710 in Sindh, 5,967 in KP, 969 in Islamabad, 749 in Azad Kashmir, 367 in Balochistan and 187 in Gilgit Baltistan.

Earlier, the National Command and Operation Centre has imposed the Covid curbs to be implemented from today (Jan 20-31) in view of the rising infectivity ratio across the country as the authority has decided to restrict the educational activities in cities having positivity ratio of above 10%.

According to the NCOC decisions, in areas where the Covid-19 positivity ratio is higher than 10%, the respective administrations have been asked to restrict educational activities there. For students aged below 12, staggered system will be followed as 50% of students will attend the schools for three days. But for students aged above 12, educational institutes will remain open with 100% attendance. However, the NCOC will review the situation again on Jan 27.

The other restrictions which have been imposed on over 10% positivity ratio cities are included: indoor gyms will remain open with 50% capacity; 50% attendance will be allowed in seminars, tombs and parks; complete ban on sports which entail physical contact; no change in business timing; public transport will ply with 70% capacity; and there will be no change in office hours.

These restrictions will remain effective till Jan 31.

Global Developments

Here are the global developments in the coronavirus crisis:

– Johnson fights on –

Britain’s embattled prime minister Boris Johnson vows to fight on as leader to the next general election, despite moves by his own MPs to oust him amid public fury over lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street.

– England lifts curbs –

Johnson says most restrictions deployed to fight the latest wave of the Covid pandemic in England will be lifted from next week.

– Variant recedes in US –

The United States appears to be emerging from its latest coronavirus wave driven by the Omicron variant, data shows, though cases remain far higher than during any previous surge and Covid hospitalisations are at a peak.

– Beijing battles virus –

Beijing reports five new locally transmitted coronavirus cases, raising fears of a fresh outbreak less than three weeks before the city hosts the Winter Olympics.

– Omicron not to derail US growth –

The latest coronavirus variant will weigh on US economic growth in the months ahead but will not derail it, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen assures the nation’s mayors.

– ‘Tax us now’ –

More than 100 millionaires make an appeal to be taxed to pay for Covid vaccines for everyone and pull 2.3 billion people out of poverty.

– Czech jab mandate scrapped –

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala says the government is scrapping plans for obligatory Covid-19 vaccinations for over-60s, an initiative of the previous cabinet.

– Portugal lifts quarantine for polls –

Voters in quarantine because they have tested positive for coronavirus or are contact cases will be allowed to vote at Portugal’s January 30 elections, the government announces.

– First Africa jab plant –

South Africa-born biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong opens Africa’s first start-to-finish Covid vaccine plant in Cape Town.

– Malkovich turned away –

US actor John Malkovich was turned away from a luxury hotel in Venice last week after failing to present a valid Covid vaccination pass, Italian news media report.

– Dutch curb protest –

Museums and concert halls temporarily turn themselves into beauty salons and gyms in the Netherlands in protest against the Dutch government’s coronavirus restrictions.

– More than 5.5 million dead –

The coronavirus has killed at least 5,553,124 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources on Wednesday.

The US has recorded the most Covid deaths with 854,074, followed by Brazil with 621,517, India on 487,202 and Russia 323,376.

Taking into account excess mortality linked to Covid-19, the WHO estimates the overall death toll could be two to three times higher.