Pakistan reports steady number of coronavirus infections

Written by The Frontier Post

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has reported another two deaths and 750 coronavirus infections 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 the country now moved up to 30,505 after adding the four fatalities while the number of total infections now stood at 1,557,884 after adding the fresh 750 cases. All the four deaths were reported from Sindh.

During the last 24 hours (Thursday), 20,854 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 3.60 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 164.

During the last 24 hours (Wednesday), another 552 patients have recovered from the Covid-19 in Pakistan and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,518,044. As of Friday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 9,335.

As many as 591,561 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 515,306 in Punjab, 221,727 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 137,747 in Islamabad, 35,834 in Balochistan, 43,784 in Azad Kashmir and 11,925 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 13,590 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,194 in Sindh, 6,331 in KP, 1,028 in Islamabad, 793 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.

Norway’s King Harald in hospital with fever

Norway’s King Harald V, 85, was admitted to hospital on Thursday for tests due to a fever, the royal palace said.

The king, who has been on the throne for 31 years, has suffered from a number of health problems recently, including Covid, knee surgery in 2021 and respiratory problems the year before.

His condition is “stable”, the palace said in a brief statement.

The king, whose duties are mostly symbolic, also underwent surgery in 2003 for bladder cancer, then another operation in 2005 for heart valve problems, a valve which was replaced in another operation in 2020.

Despite his health issues, the former Olympic yachtsman has refused to abdicate and even felt well enough to take part in the World Sailing Championships last week.

The grandson of Haakon VII — the first Norwegian regent after the country gained independence in 1905 — Harald has reigned over this Scandinavian country since 17 January 1991.

Long Covid symptoms affect one in eight, study suggests

One in eight people who get coronavirus develop at least one symptom of long Covid, one of the most comprehensive studies on the condition to date suggested on Thursday.

With more than half a billion coronavirus cases recorded worldwide since the start of the pandemic, there has been rising concern about the lasting symptoms seen in people with long Covid.

However almost none of the existing research has compared long Covid sufferers with people who have never been infected, making it possible that some of the health problems were not caused by the virus.

A new study published in The Lancet journal asked more than 76,400 adults in the Netherlands to fill out an online questionnaire on 23 common long Covid symptoms.

Between March 2020 and August 2021, each participant filled out the questionnaire 24 times.

During that period, more than 4,200 of them — 5.5 percent — reported catching Covid.

Of those with Covid, over 21 percent had at least one new or severely increased symptom three to five months after becoming infected.

However nearly nine percent of a control group which did not have Covid reported a similar increase.

This suggested that 12.7 percent of those who had Covid — around one in eight — suffered from long-term symptoms, the study said.

The research also recorded symptoms before and after Covid infection, allowing the researchers to further pinpoint exactly what was related to the virus.

It found that common long Covid symptoms include chest pain, breathing difficulties, muscle pain, loss of taste and smell, and general fatigue.

– ‘Major advance’ –

One of the study’s authors, Aranka Ballering of the Dutch University of Groningen, said long Covid was “an urgent problem with a mounting human toll”.

“By looking at symptoms in an uninfected control group and in individuals both before and after SARS-CoV-2 infection, we were able to account for symptoms which may have been a result of non-infectious disease health aspects of the pandemic, such as stress caused by restrictions and uncertainty,” she said.

The authors of the study said its limitations included that it did not cover later variants, such as Delta or Omicron, and did not collect information about some symptoms such as brain fog, which have since been considered a common sign of long Covid.

Another study author, Judith Rosmalen, said “future research should include mental health symptoms” such as depression and anxiety, as well as aspects like brain fog, insomnia and a feeling of malaise after even minor exertion.

Christopher Brightling and Rachael Evans, experts from Britain’s Leicester University who were not involved in the study, said it was “a major advance” on previous long Covid research because it had an uninfected control group.

“Encouragingly, emerging data from other studies” suggests there is a lower rate of long Covid in people who have been vaccinated or infected with the Omicron variant, they said in a linked Lancet comment.

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