Pakistan registers 19 coronavirus deaths, 768 infections in a day

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has posted another 768 coronavirus infections and 19 deaths during the last 24 hours (Wednesday), showed the figures released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Thursday morning.

As per the latest NCOC data, after the addition of 19 new deaths, the overall toll has now surged to 30,237 whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,511,754 after adding the fresh 768 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Wednesday), 35,281 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 2.17 percent. The number of patients in critical care was 908.

During the last 24 hours (Wednesday), as many as 3,815 patients have recovered from the virus whereas the total recoveries stood at 1,449,060. As of Wednesday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 32,457.

As many as 568,928 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 502,012 in Punjab, 216,386 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 134,496 in Islamabad, 35,357 in Balochistan, 43,044 in Azad Kashmir and 11,531 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Moreover, 13,508 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,080 in Sindh, 6,280 in KP, 1,014 in Islamabad, 788 in Azad Kashmir, 376 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.

Global Developments

Here are the global developments in the coronavirus crisis:

– Merck Covid pills –

The World Health Organization on Wednesday recommended an anti-Covid pill be taken by sufferers who have mild symptoms but are at high risk of hospitalisation, such as older people or the unvaccinated.

The pill, called molnupiravir and developed by US pharmaceutical Merck, is taken as soon as possible after Covid-19 symptoms develop and then for the following five days.

A WHO group of experts said in the British Medical Journal that people with weak immune systems or chronic disease were also recommended to take the pill if they had non-severe Covid.

However “young and healthy patients, including children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women should not be given the drug due to potential harms,” they said.

The UN agency’s new recommendation was based on the results of six randomised controlled trials involving 4,796 patients, the “largest dataset on this drug so far”.

The trials suggested that molnupiravir reduced the risk of going to hospital, with 43 fewer admissions per 1,000 high-risk patients, as well as speeding up the pace at which symptoms cleared up by an average of 3.4 days.

There was less indication it had an affect on mortality, with just six fewer deaths per 1,000 patients.

The WHO acknowledged “that cost and availability issues associated with molnupiravir may make access to low- and middle-income countries challenging and exacerbate health inequity”.

While vaccines remain the foremost tools in the fight against the pandemic, experts have welcomed the addition of the new oral treatments, which inhibit the virus’ ability to replicate and should withstand variants.

The only other main anti-Covid pill available is Pfizer’s Paxlovid.

However more potential concerns have been raised about Merck’s pill, which the US Food and Drug Administration has not authorised for under-18s because it could affect bone and cartilage growth.

– Spain toll passes 100,000 –

More than 100,000 people have died from Covid-19 in Spain, health ministry figures show, as the country emerges from a sixth wave of the pandemic.

– US warns against HK travel –

The United States warns citizens against travelling to Covid embattled Hong Kong, citing the risk of children who test positive being separated from their parents.

– Mental health warning –

The pandemic has taken a dire toll on mental health, the World Health Organization says, indicating that cases of anxiety and depression had swelled by over 25 percent globally.

– Nearly six million dead –

Coronavirus has killed at least 5,962,297 since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally based on official sources on Wednesday.

The United States has recorded the most Covid deaths with 952,509, followed by Brazil on 649,630, and India on 514,246.

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