Pakistan report nearly 5,500 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Almost all indicators of coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan fuelled by the Omicron variant spread have inched up further as the country reported nearly 5,500 new cases and eight deaths.

According to the latest statistics released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday morning, Pakistan listed 5,472 fresh coronavirus cases with eight deaths during the last 24 hours (Tuesday).

As per the NCOC data, after the addition of eight new deaths, the overall toll has now surged to 29,037 whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,338,993 after adding the fresh 5,472 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Tuesday), 57,669 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 9.48 percent. The number of patients in critical care was 908.

During the last 24 hours (Tuesday), as many as 628 patients have recovered from the virus whereas the total recoveries stood at 1,265,239. As of Wednesday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 44,717.

As many as 509,308 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 455,499 in Punjab, 182,619 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 112,557 in Islamabad, 33,729 in Balochistan, 34,770 in Azad Kashmir and 10,446 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Moreover, 13,091 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 7,709 in Sindh, 5,965 in KP, 969 in Islamabad, 749 in Azad Kashmir, 367 in Balochistan and 187 in Gilgit Baltistan.

Global Developments

Here are the global developments in the coronavirus crisis:

– Japan brings back virus restrictions –

Japan is set to approve new coronavirus restrictions on a large part of the country, including Tokyo, on Wednesday as it battles record infections fuelled by the Omicron variant.

Final approval from the government is expected later in the day, but on Wednesday morning experts backed placing 13 regions “under quasi-emergency measures from January 21 to February 13” Daishiro Yamagiwa, minister in charge of the coronavirus affairs, told reporters.

The move allows each region to decide what specific measures to implement, but local media said the restrictions were likely to include shorter opening hours for bars and restaurants and possible restrictions on alcohol sales.

The highly infectious Omicron variant is driving a resurgence in coronavirus cases, with daily nationwide infections topping 30,000 for the first time this week, according to media tallies.

Japan has still been less hard hit than many countries, with around 18,400 deaths in the pandemic while avoiding strict lockdowns.

But government officials and experts are worried that rising infections could put pressure on the country’s medical system.

Three Japanese regions are already under virus restrictions, after surges in cases linked to US military bases.

More than 78 percent of Japan’s population is fully vaccinated, but the programme began later than in some other developed countries.

So far, just 1.2 percent of the population has received a booster shot.

– Pandemic ‘nowhere near over’ –

The Covid-19 pandemic is far from over, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says. “With the incredible growth of Omicron globally, new variants are likely to emerge,” he warns.

Separately the WHO’s emergencies director Michael Ryan warns against the notion that the pandemic becoming endemic would mean the disease was no longer dangerous.

– Johnson denies lying in ‘partygate’ –

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson “categorically” denies claims by his former chief aide that he lied to parliament about a Downing Street party held during a strict lockdown.

– Catalonia to lift curfew –

Catalonia will on Friday lift a Covid-19 curfew imposed just before Christmas but other social distancing measures will remain in force in the northern Spanish region.

– UN Covid-free help for Tonga –

The United Nations says it will try to maintain Tonga’s Covid-free status in the relief effort after a volcano eruption and subsequent tsunami that hit the Pacific island nation.

– Britain moves to ease restrictions –

Scotland says it is easing coronavirus restrictions as case numbers continue to fall from record levels. Wales also begins lifting curbs and England says it will likely do so next week.

– Oil demand to overcome Omicron –

Global demand for oil is expected to remain “robust” in 2022 and overcome short-term disruption caused by the Omicron variant, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) says.

– French schools chief in hot water –

France’s education minister faces calls to resign after it emerges he had announced a strict Covid testing protocol for students while on vacation on Ibiza.

– Big cats get Covid –

Three lions and two pumas in South Africa fell ill with coronavirus and the clues point to infection by their handlers, some of whom were asymptomatic, a new study finds.

– Vaccines safe during pregnancy –

Studies of pregnant women found the two most widely used Covid vaccines Pfizer and Moderna pose no risk to mothers or babies, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) says.

– Anti-vax folk singer dies –

Anti-vax Czech folk singer Hana Horka has died after she deliberately contracted Covid to obtain a health pass that would have allowed her to visit the sauna and theatre, her family says.

– More than 5.5 million dead –

The coronavirus has killed at least 5,543,637 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources on Tuesday.

The United States has recorded the most Covid deaths with 851,730, followed by Brazil with 621,166, India on 486,761 and Russia 322,678.

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