ISLAMABAD: The latest wave of coronavirus continued to build up on everyday infections in Pakistan as the country logged nearly 700 cases with positivity ratio climbing up to nearly four percent during the last 24 hours (Thursday), showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Friday morning.
As per the NIH data, the death toll in Pakistan remained the same at 30,395 as no fatality was reported whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,536,479 after adding the fresh 694 cases.
During the last 24 hours (Thursday), 17,640 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 3.93 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 101.
During the last 24 hours (Thursday), another 121 patients recovered from the Covid-19 in Pakistan and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,499,762. As of Friday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 6,322.
As many as 581,046 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 508,485 in Punjab, 220,045 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 136,195 in Islamabad, 35,553 in Balochistan, 43,394 in Azad Kashmir and 11,761 in Gilgit-Baltistan.
As many as 13,571 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,113 in Sindh, 6,324 in KP, 1,026 in Islamabad, 792 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.
WHO warns Europe to see ‘high levels’ of Covid this summer
The World Health Organization said Thursday it expected “high levels” of Covid-19 in Europe this summer and called on countries to monitor the spread as cases tripled in the past month.
“As countries across the European region have lifted the social measures that were previously in place, the virus will transmit at high levels over the summer”, WHO Europe regional director Hans Kluge told AFP.
“This virus won’t go away just because countries stop looking for it. It’s still spreading, it’s still changing, and it’s still taking lives.”
With the milder but more contagious Omicron subvariant BA.5 spreading across the continent, the 53 countries in the WHO European region are currently registering just under 500,000 cases daily, according to the organisation’s data.
That is up from around 150,000 cases daily at the end of May.
Austria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg and Portugal were the countries with the highest incidence rates, with almost all countries in the region seeing a rise in cases.
After registering around 4,000 to 5,000 deaths per day throughout most of the winter, Europe is currently seeing around 500 deaths per day, about the same level as during the summer of 2020.
“We hope that the strong vaccine programmes most member states have implemented together with prior infection will mean that we avoid the more severe consequences that we saw earlier in the pandemic”, Kluge said.
“However, our recommendations remain,” he stressed.
The WHO urged people experiencing respiratory symptoms to isolate, to stay up to date with their vaccinations and wear masks in crowded places.
Kluge also urged member states to keep testing for the virus.
“We must keep looking for the virus because not doing so makes us increasingly blind to patterns of transmission and virus evolution,” Kluge said.
He also called on countries to increase their vaccination rates.
“High population immunity and the choices made to lower risk to older people is key to preventing further mortality this summer,” he said.
World Bank creates fund to better prevent, respond to pandemics
The World Bank’s board on Thursday approved creation of a fund meant to finance investments in strengthening the fight against pandemics.
The fund will support prevention, preparedness and response (PPR), with a focus on low- and middle-income countries, the bank said in a statement.
“The devastating human, economic, and social cost of Covid-19 has highlighted the urgent need for coordinated action to build stronger health systems and mobilize additional resources,” it said.
The World Bank added that the fund, which it aims to open later this year, was developed under the leadership of the United States, Italy and Indonesia as part of their G20 presidencies, and with broad support from the G20.
It will be used in a number of areas, including disease surveillance, with more than $1 billion in commitments already announced.
“The World Bank is the largest provider of financing for PPR with active operations in over 100 developing countries to strengthen their health systems,” World Bank President David Malpass said in the statement.
The so-called financial intermediary fund (FIF) will provide financing to “complement the work of existing institutions in supporting low- and middle-income countries and regions to prepare for the next pandemic,” the World Bank said.
The World Health Organization is a stakeholder in the project and will provide technical expertise, its president Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
US President Joe Biden said more than 1 million Americans and millions of people around the world have lost their lives to Covid-19, underscoring the importance of boosting investment in pandemic preparedness.
“When it comes to preparing for the next pandemic, the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action,” Biden said in a statement late Thursday. “Investing in preparedness now is the right thing and the smart thing to do.”
In a separate statement earlier in the day, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called the fund “a major achievement that will help low- and middle-income countries be better prepared for the next pandemic.”
“Even as we continue to work to end Covid-19, today’s decision by World Bank shareholders will help bolster capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to future pandemics,” she said.
A spokesperson for the World Bank told AFP that if the Covid-19 pandemic is still ongoing when the fund is implemented, it could be used to provide support against the current as well as future pandemics.