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Pakistan records 5,364 new Covid-19 cases in last 24 hours

Updated Apr 16, 18:11

Top seer at India religious mega-festival dies from Covid-19

A Hindu seer has died from coronavirus and 80 other holy men have tested positive after attending a vast Indian religious festival where millions of pilgrims have been ignoring Covid-19 advice despite a national surge in infections.

The announcement from authorities in Haridwar, Uttarakhand state, came as India recorded more than 217,000 fresh cases in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of new infections to more than two million since April 1.

The festival of Kumbh Mela has long rung alarm bells among health experts who say it could turn into a "super-spreader" as pilgrims return home to their towns and villages all across India.

A gathering on the banks of the holy River Ganges in Haridwar happens every 12 years, and has attracted as many as 25 million people to the site since January, including some 4.6 million on two auspicious days this week alone.

The enormous crowds of pilgrims — including cannabis-smoking holy men with dreadlocks — taking a dip in the river have mostly ignored official advice to maintain distancing.

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Updated Apr 16, 17:35

At least 561 new corona infections emerge in Sindh

At least 561 fresh Covid-19 cases were reported in Sindh overnight, taking the tally to 271,523.

According to Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, three more patients succumbed to the virus as the death toll jumped to 4,544.

He further said that 404 patients recovered during the last 24 hours, taking the total to 259,792.

Updated Apr 16, 17:06

Johnson & Johnson asked rival COVID-19 vaccine makers to probe clotting risks - WSJ

Johnson & Johnson had reached out to rival COVID-19 vaccine makers to join in an effort to study the risks of blood clots, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

AstraZeneca, which had been buffeted by similar blood-clotting concerns for weeks, agreed, while Pfizer Inc and Moderna executive declined, saying their vaccines appeared safe, the report said.

The US federal health agencies had on Tuesday recommended pausing use of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine for at least a few days after six women under the age of 50 developed rare blood clots after receiving the shot.

 

Updated Apr 16, 16:13

Punjab reports 2,732 new Covid-19 cases, 62 more deaths

At least 2,732 new coronavirus cases were recorded in Punjab during the past 24 hours, taking the provincial tally to 261,173.

According to Punjab Primary and Secondary Health Care Department, at least 68 more patients succumbed to the pandemic as the total reached 7,271.

The department added that at least 211,865 patients had recovered from the deadly virus as of yet. 

Updated Apr 16, 13:14

Merkel says lockdowns, curfews vital to break Germany's third wave

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged lawmakers to approve new powers that would allow her to force coronavirus lockdowns and curfews on areas with high infection rates, saying a majority of Germans were in favour of stricter measures.

"The third wave of the pandemic has our country firmly in its grip," said Merkel, whose speech was interrupted by heckles from lawmakers of the far-right Alternative for Germany party opposed to lockdowns.

"Intensive care workers are sending one distress call after the other. Who are we to ignore their pleas?" Merkel said.

Updated Apr 16, 13:11

Sweden eases restrictions on people who have had COVID vaccination

Sweden will ease restrictions on those, mostly elderly, citizens who have had at least one vaccination shot against COVID-19, the Public Health Agency said.

Around one fifth of Swedes have been vaccinated, including almost all those living in care homes for the elderly, and vaccinations are gradually being expanded to people in their 60s.

Authorities said that three weeks after their first shot, people could meet others from outside their socially-distanced bubble - even indoors - and that communal activities in care homes for the elderly could resume. Pensioners that have been vaccinated can also go to the shops again.

Updated Apr 16, 10:55

Japan to widen coronavirus curbs, casting fresh doubt on Olympics

Japan is set to expand quasi-emergency measures to 10 regions as a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases spreads, casting more doubt on whether the Summer Olympics can be held in Tokyo in less than 100 days.

Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters the government was considering adding Aichi, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba to six other prefectures already under the orders, including the cities of Tokyo and Osaka.

A final decision is expected on Friday afternoon.

Updated Apr 16, 10:53

Britain has no plans to halt rapid COVID-19 testing

Britain's health ministry said there were no plans to halt rapid coronavirus testing, after the Guardian newspaper reported the programme may be scaled back in England because of concerns about false positives.

"With around one in three people not showing symptoms of COVID-19, regular, rapid testing is an essential tool to control the spread of the virus as restrictions ease by picking up cases that would not otherwise have been detected," a ministry spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

"Rapid testing detects cases quickly, meaning positive cases can isolate immediately, and figures show that for every 1,000 lateral flow tests carried out, there is fewer than one false-positive result."

Updated Apr 16, 10:52

Brazil's hospitals running out of sedatives as COVID-19 rages

Brazil's hospitals were running out of drugs needed to sedate COVID-19 patients, with the government urgently seeking to import supplies amid reports of the seriously ill-being tied down and intubated without effective sedatives.

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said Brazil was in talks with Spain and other countries to secure the emergency drugs. Hospitals, he added, were also struggling to get enough oxygen.

The scenes playing out across Brazil, one of the countries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, are placing growing international pressure on President Jair Bolsonaro.

Updated Apr 16, 10:50

Thailand reports record daily number of 1,582 coronavirus cases

Thailand reported 1,582 new coronavirus cases, marking the highest number of cases in a day since the start of the pandemic and the fifth record daily tally this week, amid a third wave of infections in the Southeast Asian country.

No new deaths were reported. The new cases took the total number of infections to 39,038, with deaths remaining at 97.

Updated Apr 16, 10:50

India reports another record daily rise in COVID-19 infections

India reported a record daily increase of 217,353 COVID-19 infections over the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed.

It was the eighth record daily increase in the last nine days. Total cases reached nearly 14.3 million, second only to the United States which has reported more than 31 million infections.

India’s deaths from COVID-19 rose by 1,185 to reach a total of 174,308, the data showed.

Updated Apr 16, 09:45

Pakistan reports 5,364 new coronavirus cases, 110 deaths

Pakistan reported 5,364 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, taking the country's Covid-19 tally to 745,182

The country's death toll climbed to 15,982 after 110 people succumbed to the deadly disease.

Meanwhile, 4,123 patients recovered from the deadly disease in a day taking total recoveries to 650,775.

According to NCOC, total active Covid-19 cases across the country were reported to be 78,425.

Updated Apr 15, 23:45

Over 150 people contract coronavirus in AJK

At least three more patients fell prey to the novel coronavirus in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) during the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 423.

According to health officials, 159 new cases emerged in the region as the tally surged to 15,137.

As many as 130 patients also recovered overnight, taking the total to 12,487.

Updated Apr 15, 21:53

82 more people contract coronavirus in Balochistan

At least 82 more people contracted the novel coronavirus in Balochistan during the last 24 hours, taking the tally to 20,662.

According to health officials, one more patients succumbed to the deadly virus as the toll jumped to 222.

As many as 19,542 patients have recovered from the disease in the province so far.

Updated Apr 15, 21:27

Punjab further tightens Covid-19 restrictions amid spike in cases

Amid a rapid rise in coronavirus cases — fuelled by the more contagious and potentially deadlier UK variant — the Punjab government on Thursday further tightened Covid-19 restrictions across the province.

According to a notification issued by the Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, all commercial activities shall be closed by 6pm on weekdays and shall remain completely closed on weekends i.e. Saturday and Sunday.

The notification said that there was a complete ban on indoor weddings throughout the province whereas a ban is also imposed on outdoor weddings in cities where the positivity ratios is more than 8 per cent including Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Gujranwala and many other cities of the province.

The notification said that there is a complete ban on indoor dining throughout the province and only take away/home delivery will be allowed.

It said that outdoor dining was also banned in cities with over 8 per cent positivity rate.

Regarding amusement parks, the authorities stated that they would remain closed throughout the province. However, walking/jogging tracks shall remain open subject to strict adherence to Covid-19 SOPs.

It said that Inter-city public transport shall operate with 50% of capacity whereas rail service shall operate with 70% of capacity.

The restrictions will be in effect till April 26.

 

 

Updated Apr 15, 20:55

35 more Covid fatalities take K-P death toll to 2,796

At least 35 more patients succumbed to the novel coronavirus in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) during the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 2,796.

According to health authorities, 1,129 cases emerged in the province as the tally jumped to 103,419.

As many as 789 patients recovered overnight, taking the total to 87,320.

Updated Apr 15, 20:14

At least 653 new corona infections emerge in Sindh

At least 653 fresh Covid-19 cases were reported in Sindh overnight, taking the tally to 270,962.

According to Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, eight more patients succumbed to the virus as the death toll jumped to 4,541.

He further said that 389 patients recovered during the last 24 hours, taking the total to 259,388.

Updated Apr 15, 20:03

Punjab reports 2,870 new Covid-19 cases, 68 deaths

Punjab reported 2,870 new Covid-19 cases during the last 24 hours, taking the tally to 258,441.

As per health officials, 68 more patients fell prey to the deadly virus as the toll surged to 7,209.

They further said that 209,760 have recuperated from the disease in the province so far.

Updated Apr 15, 17:48

UK Muslims urged to get Covid-19 jab during Ramadan

The London borough of Tower Hamlets, where the mosque is located, has the highest number of Muslim residents in Britain but doctors are encouraged at the take-up of the vaccine, despite concerns from some that it invalidates the Ramadan fast.

Hasnayn Abbasi, a doctor in charge of the vaccination centre, said getting vaccinated was compatible with fasting during the Islamic holy month, which began this week.

"This isn't anything new, but it's become more prominent because so many people need the jab this year. So we would say, please come and have the jab done," he told AFP.

 

Updated Apr 15, 16:13

Covid-19 infections among children in Islamabad cross 7,000 mark

The number of Covid-19 cases among children in Islamabad has crossed the 7,000 mark as the trend continues its upward trajectory. 

According to the District Health Officer Islamabad, some 7,052 children, infants to up to 10 years of age have been affected by the virus.

The report further said that some 6,253 youth from ages 11 to 20 years have also been infected by Covid-19.

Likewise, at least 13,803 people from ages 21 to 30, 19,258 from ages 31 to 45, 13,028 people from ages 46 to 60, 7,001 people from ages 60 to 80, and 648 of ages above 81 years have fallen prey to the disease.

Read more here.

Updated Apr 15, 14:44

Hospitals run short of beds as Asia's COVID-19 cases surge

India and Thailand reported record daily coronavirus cases, as a new wave of infections, combined with a shortage of hospital beds and vaccines, threatens to slow Asia’s recovery from the pandemic.

India breached 200,000 daily infections for the first time and the financial hub of Mumbai entered a lockdown, as many hospitals reported shortages of beds and oxygen supplies.

“The situation is horrible. We are a 900-bed hospital, but there are about 60 patients waiting and we don’t have space for them,” said Avinash Gawande, an official at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Nagpur, a commercial hub in Maharashtra.

Updated Apr 15, 11:56

German COVID-19 cases jump by most since early January

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany jumped by 29,426 to 3.073 million, the biggest increase since Jan. 8 as the government seeks to push through tougher nationwide curbs to try to contain a third wave of the virus.

The reported death toll rose by 293 to 79,381 while the number of new infections per 100,000 residents over seven days rose to 160.1, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

Germany is grappling with a more transmissible variant of COVID-19 five months before a national election in which Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives are forecast to suffer major losses.

Updated Apr 15, 11:10

Novartis agrees to make ingredients Roche's Actemra for COVID-19 patients

Swiss drugmaker Novartis has signed a deal to make ingredients for Roche’s Actemra treatment that is being repurposed for people with COVID-19, the company said.

The arrangement is the third transaction signed by Novartis following agreements with BioNTech and CureVac to make therapies for other firms to help fight the pandemic.

Actemra is a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis which is also being tested in various clinical trials to treat COVID-19 associated pneumonia.

Updated Apr 15, 11:08

Australian doctors urge government to rethink mass vaccination hubs

Australian authorities should add more clinics to speed up the country’s struggling COVID-19 vaccine rollout, its main medical association said, dismissing a government plan to create mass inoculation hubs as unworkable in the near term.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) President Omar Khorshid said establishing mass centres would pose “huge logistical challenges”, including the difficulty of finding enough medical staff to manage the facilities.

“You need to find a workforce from somewhere, and we are not aware of large numbers of registered nurses and doctors who are available to manage these centres,” Khorshid told ABC Radio.

Updated Apr 15, 11:06

India breaches 200,000 daily COVID-19 cases as hospital beds, oxygen fall short

India reported a record 200,000 new COVID-19 cases and the financial hub of Mumbai entered a lockdown, as many hospitals treating coronavirus patients reported severe shortages of beds and oxygen supplies.

The surge was the seventh record daily increase in the last eight days and comes as India battles a massive second wave of infections that has its epicentre in the economically significant state of Maharashtra, home to Mumbai. The western state accounts for about a quarter of the country’s total cases.

India reported 200,739 COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, according to health ministry data released Thursday. Deaths stood at 1,038, taking the total to 173,123.

Updated Apr 15, 09:31

Pakistan reports 5,395 new coronavirus cases, 118 deaths

Pakistan reported 5,395 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, taking the country's Covid-19 tally to 739,818.

The country's death toll climbed to 15,872 after 118 people succumbed to the deadly disease.

Meanwhile, 4,740 patients recovered from the deadly disease in a day taking total recoveries to 646,652.

According to NCOC, total active Covid-19 cases across the country were reported to be 77,294.

Updated Apr 15, 01:27

EU Commission to end AstraZeneca and J&J vaccine contracts at expiry

The EU Commission has decided not to renew Covid-19 vaccine contracts next year with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Italian daily La Stampa reported on Wednesday, citing a source from the Italian health ministry.

“The European Commission, in agreement with the leaders of many (EU) countries, has decided that the contracts with the companies that produce (viral vector) vaccines that are valid for the current year will not be renewed at their expiry,” the newspaper reported.

It added that Brussels would rather focus on Covid-19 vaccines using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, such as Pfizer’s and Moderna’s.

A spokesman for the EU Commission said it was keeping all options open to be prepared for the next stages of the pandemic, for 2022 and beyond.

“We cannot, however, comment on contractual issues,” the spokesman added.

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Updated Apr 14, 23:49

10 more patients fall prey to Covid-19 in AJK

At least 10 more patients fell prey to the novel coronavirus in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) during the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 420.

According to health authorities, 141 new cases emerged in the region as the tally surged to 14,978.

As many as 130 patients also recovered overnight, taking the total to 12,351.

Updated Apr 14, 22:58

29 more Covid-19 deaths take K-P toll to 2,761

At least 1,245 new coronavirus cases emerged in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) during the past 24 hours, taking the tally to 102,290.

According to health authorities, 29 more patients succumbed to the deadly virus as the death toll surged to 2,761.

As many as 1,308 patients recovered overnight, taking the total to 86,531.

Updated Apr 14, 22:12

81 more contract coronavirus in Balochistan

At least 81 more people contracted coronavirus in Balochistan during the last 24 hours, taking the tally to 20,580.

According to health officials, two more patients succumbed to the deadly virus as the death toll jumped to 221.

As many as 19,473 patients have recovered from the disease in the province so far.

Updated Apr 14, 21:40

Brazil's P1 coronavirus variant mutating, may become more dangerous: study

Brazil’s P1 coronavirus variant, behind a deadly Covid-19 surge in the Latin American country that has raised international alarm, is mutating in ways that could make it better able to evade antibodies, according to scientists studying the virus.

Research conducted by the public health institute Fiocruz into the variants circulating in Brazil found mutations in the spike region of the virus that is used to enter and infect cells.

Those changes, the scientists said, could make the virus more resistant to vaccines - which target the spike protein - with potentially grave implications for the severity of the outbreak in Latin America’s most populous nation.

“We believe it’s another escape mechanism the virus is creating to evade the response of antibodies,” said Felipe Naveca, one of the authors of the study and part of Fiocruz in the Amazon city of Manaus, where the P1 variant is believed to have originated.

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Updated Apr 14, 21:25

India's coronavirus cases hit record as Mumbai prepares for new lockdown

India’s new coronavirus infections hit a record level on Wednesday with Mumbai set to be locked down at midnight, but hundreds of thousands of pilgrims still thronged to a religious festival in the north of the country.

The country reported 184,372 cases in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed, taking total infections to 13.9 million. Deaths rose by 1,027, for a toll of 172,085.

After reporting less than 10,000 cases per day earlier this year, India has been the world's worst-hit country since April 2. The government blames here a widespread failure to heed curbs on movement and social interaction among the population of 1.39 billion people.

The rise in cases comes as India’s richest state, Maharashtra, the epicentre of the national second wave, is due to enter a full lockdown at midnight (1830 GMT) until the end of April to contain the spread of the virus. The state accounts for about a quarter of the country’s total coronavirus cases.

India’s commercial capital Mumbai was bustling with shoppers, stocking up before the lockdown comes into effect.

“We don’t know if we will be allowed to set up our stalls from tomorrow, so we’re asking our customers to stock up as much as possible today,” said Susheela, a street vegetable vendor, who goes by only her first name.

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Updated Apr 14, 20:24

WATCH: Meera gets Covid-19 jab in New York

Renowned Pakistani actor Meera has received her Covid-19 vaccine in New York, United States, she revealed on Wednesday.

Meera revealed on Instagram that she got vaccinated against coronavirus a few days ago. She also uploaded a video of the episode on the social media platform.

“Alhumduliallah I was able to get vaccinated for Covid-19 a few days ago, while in New York, USA. I did get mild symptoms including fever, headache, fatigue and body aches,” she wrote in the caption.

“I would recommend everyone to get vaccinated to keep you and your loved ones safe from Covid-19. Sending lots of love to my dear fans all over the world! Please don’t be scared of the vaccine, it’s only to help everyone survive from this pandemic.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Meera (@meerajeeofficial)

 

Updated Apr 14, 17:57

Outdoor dining banned in multiple Punjab cities

The government of Punjab has banned outdoor dining in many cities of the province having Covid-19 positivity ratio higher than 8 per cent.

According to a notification, the cities included Lahore, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Rawalpindi, Rahim Yar Khan, Gujranwala, Sahiwal, Multan, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Chiniot, Hafizabad, Kasur, Nankana, Narowal, Sheikhupura, Pakpattan and Toba Tek Singh.

"All citizens are requested to stay home and strictly follow SOPs to prevent Covid-19 spread," it further said.

Updated Apr 14, 17:31

Sindh reports 470 new coronavirus cases, no deaths

Sindh reported 470 new coronavirus cases during the past 24 hours, taking the tally to 270,309.

According to Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, no deaths were reported in the province. So far 4,533 patients have succumbed to the deadly virus.

As many as 466 patients recovered overnight, taking the total to 258,999.

Updated Apr 14, 16:01

Punjab reports 2,775 new Covid-19 cases, 79 more deaths

At least 2,775 new coronavirus cases were recorded in Punjab during the past 24 hours, taking the provincial tally to 255,571.

According to Punjab Primary and Secondary Health Care Department, at least 79 more patients succumbed to the pandemic as the total reached 7,141.

The department added that at least 207,606 patients had recovered from the deadly virus as of yet. 

Updated Apr 14, 14:19

NCOC tightens Covid-19 restriction with stringent protocols

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) decided to implement broader lockdowns with stringent enforcement protocols based on risk assessment amid religious/cultural activities in Ramazan.

The decisions taken at a special session of the meeting held on Tuesday (April 13) were to come into effect today (April 14). The session was headed by Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar.

As per the decision taken at the meeting, no mobility would be allowed except in cases of emergencies.

Updated Apr 14, 14:17

EU Commission to end AstraZeneca and J&J vaccine contracts at expiry

The EU Commission has decided not to renew COVID-19 vaccine contracts next year with companies such as Astrazeneca and Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Italian daily La Stampa reported citing a source from the Italian Health Ministry.

“The European Commission, in agreement with the leaders of many (EU) countries, has decided that the contracts with the companies that produce (viral vector) vaccines that are valid for the current year will not be renewed at their expiry,” the newspaper reported.

It added that Brussels would rather focus on COVID-19 vaccines using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, such as Pfizer’s and Moderna’s.