Pakistan reports 90 more coronavirus infections in a day

Written by The Frontier Post

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has reported another 90 coronavirus infections and no fatality during the last 24 hours (Friday), showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Saturday morning.

As per the latest NIH data, the death toll remained the same at 30,379, whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,530,156 after adding the fresh 90 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Friday), 16,413 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio slightly up to 0.55 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 77.

During the last 24 hours (Friday), another 41 people recovered from the Covid-19 and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,496,416. As of Saturday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 3,440.

As many as 577,474 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 507,125 in Punjab, 219,670 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,386 in Islamabad, 35,500 in Balochistan, 43,332 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.

North Korea says Covid outbreak under control as treatment ‘intensifies’

North Korea says its Covid-19 outbreak has been brought under control, with state media reporting falling caseloads for a seventh straight day Friday as healthcare workers “intensify” testing and treatment.

But experts question the official numbers given the isolated country has one of the world’s worst healthcare systems and likely no Covid-19 drugs or mass testing ability.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said “progress” has been made in diagnosing and treating patients thanks to “the devoted efforts” of medical workers.

North Korea announced its first coronavirus cases on May 12 and activated a “maximum emergency epidemic prevention system”, with leader Kim Jong Un putting himself front and centre of the government’s response.

Kim blamed lazy officials for a sluggish reaction to the outbreak and deployed the army to staff Pyongyang’s pharmacies.

This weekend state media said the epidemic has been brought under control, and KCNA reiterated that message Tuesday.

“Nationwide morbidity and mortality rates have drastically decreased,” the news agency said.

On Friday it reported just over 100,000 new cases of “fever”, down from a high of 390,000 a day reported earlier this month.

KCNA also reported one more death Friday — taking the total to 69 — and claimed the fatality rate remains at 0.002 percent. It says more than three million people have fallen sick.

North Korea has not vaccinated any of its roughly 25 million people, having rejected jabs offered by the World Health Organization.

– ‘Recovered’ –

Jong Jun Ho, an army medic deployed in Pyongyang, told AFP the number of patients his team were treating every day has dramatically decreased.

“At first, there were many feverish people so mainly antipyretics were supplied to the patients,” he said, referring to medicines that reduce fever.

From a high of up to 400 patients a day, his team are now only seeing around 30 people daily, he added.

Now that many people have “recovered”, he said mainly “medicines for bronchitis” were being given to patients who are suffering the after-effects of infection.

KCNA said hospitals were “stepping up the development and production of test reagents and treatment medicines”.

“Tens of millions of medicines of over 90 kinds are supplied to different parts of the country on May 24 alone,” the news agency said.

Pyongyang has not responded to an offer of help from Seoul, according to South Korea’s unification ministry.

During a visit to Seoul last week, US President Joe Biden said Washington had also offered Covid-19 vaccines to Pyongyang but “got no response”.

Despite the outbreak, new satellite imagery has indicated North Korea has resumed construction at a long-dormant nuclear reactor.

The United States and South Korea have both warned that Kim is poised to conduct another nuclear test any day, which would be the country’s seventh.

US extending tariff exemptions on medical products from China

The United States is extending for another six months exemptions from punitive tariffs for some medical products from China, the US Trade Representative announced Friday.

The exclusions from import duties, which were set to expire Tuesday, “cover 81 medical-care products needed to address the Covid-19 pandemic,” USTR said.

The exemptions were first announced in December 2020 and extended once in November.

Products on the list include pump bottles for hand sanitizer, plastic containers for sanitizing wipes, fingertip pulse oximeters, blood pressure monitors, MRI machines and X-ray tables.

The trade conflict between the US and China began when then-president Donald Trump imposed tariffs on $350 billion worth of Chinese products, citing what he called unfair trade practices and theft of US technology and intellectual property.

With inflation at its highest level in more than four decades, President Joe Biden is under pressure to end so-called “Section 301” tariffs, many of which are due to lapse in July.

USTR officials have said they are reaching out to businesses and the public to seek comment on whether to extend the tariffs.

Washington and Beijing in January 2020 signed a so-called “phase one” trade agreement under which Beijing pledged to increase its purchases of American products and services by at least $200 billion over 2020 and 2021 — but the target was not met amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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