Pakistan reports highest single-day virus death since start of coronavirus pandemic

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: As the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) is contemplating imposing a two-week lockdown in 20 cities from next month, Pakistan recorded 201 new deaths from the novel coronavirus during the last 24 hours (Tuesday), which is the highest single-day death toll recorded since the pandemic started last year, showed figures of NCOC released on Wednesday morning.

According to the latest NCOC statistics, this is the first time deaths from the novel virus have crossed the 200-mark in a single day.

As many as 5,292 fresh cases were reported during the last 24 hours (Tuesday) while the death toll has now surged to 17,530.

The number of confirmed cases stood at 810,231. During the past 24 hours (Tuesday), as many as 4,678 patients have recovered from Covid-19 while the total recoveries stood at 704,494.

As of Wednesday, the total count of active cases was recorded at 88,207, and the positivity rate recorded at 10.77 percent.

At least 280,356 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 296,144 in Punjab, 115,596 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 74,131 in Islamabad, 21,945 in Balochistan, 16,779 in Azad Kashmir and 5,280 in Gilgit Baltistan. Moreover, 8,224 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab, 4,624 in Sindh, 3,201 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 675 in Islamabad, 468 in Azad Kashmir, 233 in Balochistan and 105 in Gilgit Baltistan.

The health facilities across the country conducted 49,101 coronavirus detection tests, taking the total number of Covid-19 tests to 11,682,01 since the first case was reported early last year.

Meanwhile, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) wrote letters to the provincial governments asking them to prepare for a two-week lockdown in 20 cities from 2/3 May.

The list mentioned 20 cities across Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, where the coronavirus situation is extremely bad and the restrictions imposed by the authorities have failed to control the virus spread.

In the letter, titled ‘Input / Feedback — City Wise Lockdown’, the NCOC stated that a two-week city-wise lockdown in districts/cities with high disease prevalence is tentatively planned with effect from 2/3 May.

Global developments

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

– Aid for India –

The first emergency medical supplies arrive in India as a part of a global campaign to staunch its catastrophic outbreak, with the US pledging to send millions of AstraZeneca vaccines.

– Brazil probe –

Brazil’s Senate opens an inquiry into the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, a move that could damage Covid-sceptic President Jair Bolsonaro as he gears up to seek re-election next year.

– US easing –

Americans vaccinated against the coronavirus will no longer need to wear masks outdoors, except at crowded events, the Centers for Disease Control says. Separately, the United States says it is easing remaining Covid-19 restrictions on international students, allowing Chinese nationals to start the school year at US universities.

– Mexico: ‘encouraging’ signs –

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador describes as “encouraging” signs of an easing of the pandemic in his country, which has the third-highest death toll in the world after the United States and Brazil.

– Fed meeting –

US central bankers open their two-day policy meeting, having committed to continuing pumping cash into the economy until it fully recovers from ravages of the pandemic.

– Travel restrictions –

Belgium becomes the latest territory to ban travel from India, along with Brazil and South Africa, all hit by fast-spreading coronavirus variants.

Spain says it will impose a 10-day quarantine on all travellers arriving from India. And Iceland will bar travellers from 16 countries considered to be at a “high risk” of Covid-19 infections.

– Hope for big events –

A Barcelona concert with a 5,000-strong audience of unvaccinated music fans last month to test pandemic-safe ways of holding mass events has passed off with “no sign” of infections, doctors say.

– Russian life expectancy –

Russians’ life expectancy last year dropped for the first time in nearly 20 years, to 71.5 years, compared with 73.3 years in 2019, with officials blaming the pandemic for the decline.

– More than three million deaths –

At least 3,122,150 people have died of Covid-19 around the world since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

The US is the worst-affected country with 572,674 deaths, followed by Brazil with 391,936, Mexico 215,113, India 197,894 and Britain 127,434. 

With inputs from AFP.