Pakistan reports 81 coronavirus cases, no death

Written by The Frontier Post

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has reported another 81 coronavirus cases and no fatality during the last 24 hours (Thursday), showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Friday morning.

As per the latest NIH data, the death toll remained that same at 30,379, whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,529,641 after adding the fresh 81 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Thursday), 13,861 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio rose to 0.58 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 75.

During the last 24 hours (Thursday), another 103 people recovered from the Covid-19 and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,495,933. As of Friday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 3,329.

As many as 577,235 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 506,898 in Punjab, 219,623 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,319 in Islamabad, 35,494 in Balochistan, 43,324 in Azad Kashmir and 11,748 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 13,564 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,106 in Sindh, 6,324 in KP, 1,024 in Islamabad, 792 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.

Singapore’s Covid cases in April were all of Omicron variant

All Covid-19 cases sequenced in Singapore in April were found to have been infected with the Omicron variant, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in its daily update.

Of the local infections, 99 percent were of the BA.2 variant and its lineages, which include BA.2.12.1. The remaining 1 percent was infected with the BA.1 strain and its lineages.

Among the imported cases, 98 percent were of the BA.2 strain and its lineages which include BA.2.12.1.

One percent was of BA.1 and its lineages and the other 1 per cent involved recombinant lineages which include the XJ and XE variant.

A total of 101,480 local and imported infections were reported in April. They include two imported cases of the BA.4 variant, said MOH on Thursday.

The Health Ministry had on Sunday reported Singapore’s first two community cases of BA.4, along with a local BA.5 infection. Both these Omicron subvariants were first reported by South Africa in early 2022 and have since become the dominant variants there.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Wednesday that the discovery of new Omicron subvariants is “not a surprise at all”, as it is known that the virus that causes Covid-19 will continue to mutate.

“What we learnt from the data and findings of scientists is that BA.4 and A.5 have a transmission advantage over BA.1 and BA.2, he said, noting that this is why the two subvariants have been classified as variants of concern by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

“But more importantly, so far, there has been no evidence that the BA.4 and BA.5 will cause more severe illness,” he added.

According to scientists in South Africa, the variants can dodge antibodies from earlier infection but are far less able to thrive in the blood of people vaccinated against COVID-19.

Knowledge of the variants remains limited, with the World Health Organization adding them to its list for monitoring earlier last month. 

North Korea hails ‘good results’ on Covid as fever cases pass 2 million

North Korea said on Friday said it was achieving “good results” in its fight against its first confirmed Covid-19 outbreak, as the number of people with fever symptoms rose past 2 million.

A wave of COVID infections, which North Korea first confirmed last week, has fanned worry about a lack of medical resources and vaccines in the isolated country heavily sanctioned for its nuclear weapons programme.

North Korea has not responded to offers from its old enemies, South Korea and the United States, to send help, a South Korean official said.

South Korea’s new president, Yoon Suk-yeol, and U.S. President Joe Biden, due to arrive in South Korea on a visit later on Friday, are expected to discuss help.

North Korea reported 263,370 more people with fever symptoms, and two more deaths, taking its total fever caseload since late April to 2.24 million as of Thursday evening, including 65 deaths, according to its KCNA state news agency.

North Korea lacks COVID testing capacity and it has not specified how many of those people with fever have been confirmed to have contracted COVID.

Despite the caseload, the North has said farming continues and factories are working. It is also planning a state funeral for a retired general.

“Even under the maximum emergency epidemic prevention situation, normal production is kept at key industrial sectors and large-scale construction projects are propelled without let-up,” KCNA reported.

“Good results are reported steadily in the ongoing anti-epidemic war,” it said.

The UN human rights agency has warned of the “devastating” consequences of COVID for North Korea’s 25 million people, while World Health Organization officials worry an unchecked spread could lead to the emergence of deadlier new variants. read more

But North Korea said on Wednesday its outbreak was taking a “favourable turn”.

Officials in South Korea say it is hard to draw conclusions, partly because it is not clear how North Korea is calculating the number of fever and COVID patients.

Cases of fever reported by the government have declined in the capital, Pyongyang, but risen in rural provinces.

But Martyn Williams, a researcher at the US-based 38 North monitoring group, said North Korea’s figures were unlikely to give an accurate account of what is going on, either through error or deliberate manipulation.

“I doubt they represent the exact picture,” he said on Twitter.

South Korea and the United States have both offered to help North Korea fight the virus, including sending aid, but have not had a response, South Korea’s deputy national security adviser said.

But the allies, who North Korea denounces as its main enemies as it justifies its development of nuclear weapons and missiles, would likely be North Korea’s last resort in seeking help, said South Korean legislators who were briefed by its main security agency on Thursday.

South Korea’s foreign minister, Park Jin, told parliament Yoon and Biden would discuss help for North Korea when they meet on Saturday.

“South Korea and the United States are continuing consultations on providing humanitarian assistance, especially over COVID-19, to the North,” Park said.

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