Pakistan witnesses sharp plunge in daily coronavirus deaths

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan took a sigh of relief on Saturday as the country witnessed a sharp plunge in the number of coronavirus deaths and infections.

According to the latest figures released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday morning, Pakistan has recorded only 27 deaths and 991 infections during the last 24 hours (Friday).

The authorities carried out 46,269 tests during the last 24 hours (Friday), 991 of them returned positive, taking the tally to 947,218 so far. This also showed the positivity rate at 2.14 percent.

The number of total recoveries now stood at 889,787 with 1,282 during the last 24 hours (Friday).

The drop in coronavirus fatalities and infections came at a time when vaccination centres throughout Pakistan are facing a shortage of vaccine.

Global Developments

Here are the global developments in the coronavirus crisis:

– Moscow record surge –

Russia’s capital registers 9,056 new infections in 24 hours, a record since the start of the pandemic, leading the city to close its Euro 2020 fan-zone and ban gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

The Delta variant, which first emerged in India, represents almost 90 percent of the cases, mayor Sergei Sobyanin says.

– Africa concern –

The World Health Organization says the trajectory of Covid-19 cases across Africa “is very, very concerning”, with the spread of new variants as vaccination rates remain dangerously low.

– Vaccine outages –

Dozens of poorer countries have had to suspend their coronavirus vaccination programmes due to a lack of doses, the WHO says, adding the shortages often cause delays for those awaiting a second dose.

– AstraZeneca verdict –

A Belgian court orders AstraZeneca to deliver 50 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to European Union member states by September 27 — far fewer than Brussels had demanded.

– Euro 2020 doubt –

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says his priority is keeping the “country safe from Covid”, as a source confirms to AFP that UEFA is keeping the option open of moving the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final from Wembley to Budapest.

– Palestinians to get jabs –

Israel is to swap around a million doses of the Pfizer vaccine reaching their expiry dates for doses the US pharma giant was due to send to the Palestinian Authority for its 4.5 million population.

– Western Balkans too –

Austria will donate one million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to western Balkan countries, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says.

– Italian quarantine for UK – 

Italy reintroduces a five-day quarantine on arrivals from Britain after a spike in coronavirus cases there.

– Norway eases curbs –

Norway will lift a slew of measures to fight Covid-19 in the coming days, the prime minister Erna Solberg says, opening up travel, sport and partying.

– Jabs for Games staff –

Thousands of Olympic volunteers and officials begin receiving vaccines in Tokyo five weeks before the Olympics, as experts warn it would be safer to hold the event without fans.

– 3.8 million dead –

The pandemic has killed at least 3,844,390 people worldwide since the virus first emerged in December 2019, according to an AFP compilation of official data.

The US is the worst-affected country with 600,934 deaths, followed by Brazil with 496,004, India with 383,490, Mexico with 230,792, Peru with 189,757 and Russia with 128,445.

The figures are based on reports by health authorities in each country, but do not take into account upward revisions carried out later by statistical bodies.

The WHO says up to three times more people have died directly or indirectly due to the pandemic than official figures suggest.