Pakistan witnesses major drop in Covid-19 cases

Written by The Frontier Post

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Almost all the coronavirus indicators in Pakistan are sliding as the country has posted another major drop in Covid-19 cases which were 352 with no fatality during the last 24 hours (Tuesday), showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Wednesday morning.

As per the NIH data, the death toll in the country remained the same at 30,508 while the number of total infections now stood at 1,560,602 after adding the fresh 352 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Tuesday), 13,325 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 2.64 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 153.

During the last 24 hours (Tuesday), another 508 patients have recovered from the Covid-19 in Pakistan and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,520,524. As of Wednesday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 9,570.

As many as 591,964 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 516,825 in Punjab, 222,081 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 138,055 in Islamabad, 35,849 in Balochistan, 43,896 in Azad Kashmir and 11,932 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 13,590 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,196 in Sindh, 6,332 in KP, 1,028 in Islamabad, 793 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.

 EU taps Moderna for more Covid variant jabs

The EU said Tuesday is has struck an agreement with Moderna to delay deliveries of Covid vaccines in order to boost the likelihood of receiving jabs against Omicron variants.

“Doses originally scheduled for delivery in the summer will now be delivered in September and during the autumn and winter period 2022,” the European Commission said in a statement.

That will be when the EU’s 27 member states will likely need more vaccine stocks, it said.

As part of the agreement, the commission, which handles pre-purchases of Covid vaccines for EU countries, “secures (an) additional 15 million doses of Omicron-containing vaccine booster candidates”.

The European Medicines Agency in June started examining a new generation of coronavirus mRNA vaccines from Moderna designed to tackle the original form of the virus as well as the Omicron variant which is behind a recent surge in infections.

Use of the new-generation jabs are subject to EMA giving its approval.

China closes Tibet’s Potala Palace after Covid outbreak

China closed Tibet’s Potala Palace, former home of the exiled Dalai Lama, on Tuesday after 22 Covid-19 cases were reported in the Himalayan region.

China is the only major economy still sticking to a zero-Covid strategy that uses snap lockdowns, mass testing and long quarantine periods to contain outbreaks.

Tibet’s economy is dependent on tourism and the Potala Palace is a key attraction, with hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

“In order to effectively prevent and control the epidemic and ensure the health and safety of the general public, the Potala Palace will be closed from August 9,” a notice on the palace’s official WeChat account said.

A reopening date has not been announced.

China reported 828 domestic Covid cases on Tuesday, of which 22 were in Tibet. All cases except one in the Himalayan region were asymptomatic, health data showed.

– Tourists leave ‘China’s Hawaii’ –

In southern China, tens of thousands of tourists trapped in a Covid-hit resort city due to travel curbs can begin leaving in batches, authorities said Tuesday, but many remain stranded.

More than 80,000 holidaymakers in Sanya on the island of Hainan — often called “China’s Hawaii” — saw their vacations become a nightmare when officials declared a Covid emergency and cancelled flights and train ticket sales over the weekend.

Sanya, home to more than a million people, is battling its worst outbreak in two years with more than 1,500 cases reported between August 1 and 9, according to official data.

The local health bureau on Tuesday announced that some tourists would be permitted to depart Sanya, saying “tour groups in areas without any infections… will be allowed to leave after testing negative for the virus twice over a 48-hour period”.

Other travellers in areas with infections but deemed “low-risk” will be allowed to go if they have not displayed Covid symptoms in the past three days and test negative three times in 72 hours.

But those stuck in places labelled medium or high-risk will have to wait until the situation improves.

All entertainment venues including spas, karaoke bars and pubs have been closed in the city since last week.

Hotels in Sanya were ordered on Saturday to offer rooms to stranded visitors at half price until the travel restrictions are lifted.

China’s borders have remained largely closed since early 2020, vastly curtailing international tourism.

The latest Covid outbreak comes during peak travel season in Sanya, a popular surfing spot.

A number of Chinese Super League football matches were scheduled to be played in Haikou, the capital of Hainan, in the coming days, but have been postponed indefinitely, organisers said in a statement Monday.

“Due to the impact of the epidemic in Haikou, some games in the 12th round of the 2022 CSL cannot be played normally,” the country’s Football Association said on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform.

The league has been severely affected by the pandemic, with most teams having to play in empty stadiums since the virus emerged in late 2019.

About one-third of the teams are in Haikou following recent matches and will be temporarily unable to leave, state media reported.

The six teams are Chengdu Rongcheng, Jinmen Tiger, Shandong Taishan, Hebei, Cangzhou Mighty Lions and Guangzhou.

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