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CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Key points

  • Covid-19 emerges in China's Wuhan in Dec '19, declared a pandemic on March 11
  • Over 60.9 million infected globally; more than 1.4 million dead, over 39 million recovered
  • 389,311 cases reported in Pakistan; 7,897 dead, 335,881 recovered
  • Click here for Dawn's coronavirus coverage
Latest
1:30 PM

Pakistan reports more than 3,000 cases for 3rd consecutive day

1:02 PM

German coronavirus cases now above 1 million

12:30 PM

India to produce 100 million doses of Sputnik vaccine, says Russia

11:40 AM

Islamabad, AJK and GB collectively report 538 Covid cases, 11 deaths

11:35 AM

Punjab reports 654 coronavirus cases, 22 deaths

11:30 AM

Balochistan records 66 Covid cases, no new deaths

11:25 AM

Pakistan reports more than 1,400 Covid-19 recoveries

11:15 AM

Brazil's Bolsonaro says he will not take coronavirus vaccine

10:30 AM

Punjab govt ‘reluctant’ to investigate Covid reinfections

9:30 AM

AstraZeneca CEO expects to run new global trial of Covid-19 vaccine: report

9:00 AM

Once Australia's Covid-19 hotspot, Victoria goes 28 days without an infection

8:00 AM

'Kind of lonely': America marks Covid-altered Thanksgiving

12:02 AM

Top UK scientific adviser says AstraZeneca vaccine works

Nov 26, 2020
11:36 PM

New coronavirus infections, hospitalisations decline again in France

11:00 PM

'We're ready': Schiphol airport gears up for chilled vaccine cargos

10:20 PM

Turkey records highest new coronavirus death toll for fourth consecutive day

10:10 PM

KP reports 453 new Covid-19 cases, 2 deaths

9:41 PM

Sindh govt allows markets to remain open until 8pm but stresses SOPs compliance

9:10 PM

'You have to be here': Argentina's love of Maradona overcomes Covid-19 fears

8:35 PM

Sweden's second Covid wave could peak in mid-December, health agency says

8:03 PM

Rome airport to offer Covid-tested flights to US with Delta, Alitalia

6:58 PM

Confirmed coronavirus cases in Netherlands pass 500,000

6:22 PM

US Supreme Court backs religious groups over New York virus curbs

5:40 PM

Sindh reports 1,402 new cases, 19 deaths

5:30 PM

Greece extends nationwide coronavirus lockdown

5:00 PM

London to be placed in second highest Covid risk category: official website

4:40 PM

EU drugs watchdog expects first application for Covid-19 vaccine in days

4:03 PM

Disney increases planned layoffs to 32,000 as virus hits theme parks

3:20 PM

Sweden's Prince Carl Philip and wife test positive for coronavirus

3:00 PM

Sudan's former PM Sadiq al-Mahdi dies from coronavirus in UAE

2:40 PM

German Covid-19 restrictions set to last into 2021

2:04 PM

Post-Covid normal life could return to France by autumn 2021, says scientific adviser

1:35 PM

Pakistan reports more than 3,000 cases for second straight day

1:25 PM

India records 44,489 new coronavirus cases

1:13 PM

Islamabad DC office temporarily closed down after 'various' positive tests

1:00 PM

Global coronavirus cases surpass 60 million infections

12:26 PM

LIST: Facilities with vacant ICU and HDU beds for Covid-19 patients in Sindh

12:05 PM

Colombia extends health state of emergency until end of February

11:30 AM

Pakistan records more than 1,000 recoveries from coronavirus

11:25 AM

Punjab reports another spike in cases with more than 700 infections

11:20 AM

Islamabad, federal territories collectively record 673 infections, 7 fatalities

11:15 AM

KP reports more than 500 cases for second time this week

9:52 AM

Bilawal in self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19

9:40 AM

Mexico City seeks to 'break the chain' of coronavirus with rapid tests, QR codes

9:00 AM

US reports more than 2,400 deaths in 24 hours, a six-month high

8:05 AM

South Korea reports 583 new coronavirus cases, highest since March

Nov 25, 2020
11:55 PM

Egyptian inventor trials robot that can test for Covid-19

11:13 PM

Primetime Thanksgiving NFL game postponed after multiple Covid-19 cases

10:22 PM

WHO says stay at home, limit holiday season events midst Covid-19 surge

8:54 PM

Hospital ICUs almost full as 2nd virus wave grips Pakistan

Nov 27, 2020 01:30pm

Pakistan reports more than 3,000 cases for 3rd consecutive day

Pakistan has reported 3,113 cases of the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours, making it the third day in a row that the country has recorded more than 3,000 infections, data from the government's Covid-19 portal shows.

The highest number of cases were reported by Sindh, followed by Punjab. Following is the number of cases reported by each region over the past 24 hours:

  • Sindh: 1,402

  • Punjab: 654

  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 453

  • Balochistan: 66

  • Islamabad: 425

  • Gilgit-Baltistan: 15

  • Azad Jammu and Kashmir: 98

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Nov 27, 2020 01:02pm

German coronavirus cases now above 1 million

Germany has hit another grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic, ticking above 1 million confirmed cases of Covid-19.

The Robert Koch Institute, the country's disease control center, said that Germany's 16 states reported 22,806 cases overnight for a total since the start of the outbreak of 1,006,394.

Despite the high number of infections, Germany has seen fewer deaths than many other European countries, with 15,586 compared with more than 50,000 in Britain, Italy and France, for example, according to AP.

A rapid response to the initial outbreak, massive testing and a robust hospital system have been credited with helping keep the fatalities down. A total of 696,100 people have recovered from the virus, according to the Robert Koch Institute's figures.

Nov 27, 2020 12:30pm

India to produce 100 million doses of Sputnik vaccine, says Russia

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), one of the developers of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, has announced that India-based drugmaker Hetero will produce over 100 million doses of the jab, AFP reported.

“Hetero, one of India's leading generic pharmaceutical companies, have agreed to produce in India over 100 million doses per year of the world's first registered vaccine against the novel coronavirus infection — Sputnik V,” the RDIF said in a statement, adding that production was expected to start in early 2021.

Nov 27, 2020 11:40am

Islamabad, AJK and GB collectively report 538 Covid cases, 11 deaths

Islamabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan have collectively reported 538 coronavirus cases and 11 deaths during the last 24 hours.

Breakdown of cases and death reported:

  • Islamabad: 425 cases, 8 deaths
  • GB: 15 cases
  • AJK: 98 cases, 3 deaths
Nov 27, 2020 11:35am

Punjab reports 654 coronavirus cases, 22 deaths

Punjab has reported 654 coronavirus cases and 22 deaths.

The provincial total has risen to 117,160 while the death toll is 2,945.

Nov 27, 2020 11:30am

Balochistan records 66 Covid cases, no new deaths

Balochistan has recorded 66 coronavirus cases. No new deaths have been reported in the province over the last 24 hours.

The provincial total has risen to 17,008 while the death toll remains 165.

Nov 27, 2020 11:25am

Pakistan reports more than 1,400 Covid-19 recoveries

Pakistan has reported 1,489 coronavirus recoveries during the last 24 hours, according to the government's portal for tracking the spread of the virus in the country.

The total has risen to 335,881 while the recovery rate is 86.3 per cent.

Nov 27, 2020 10:30am

Punjab govt ‘reluctant’ to investigate Covid reinfections

The Punjab government seems reluctant to investigate and notify the Covid-19 reinfections that have seen a sudden surge recently in the province.

A spokesperson for the department told Dawn the health experts had received three such cases in the starting phase of the first wave of the virus in March and April.

He said the system had, at that time, generated alerts when the CNIC numbers of the three patients were reentered in the data system showing them positive cases for the Covid-19. However, he added, the department’s medical and health experts had declared these reinfections doubtful because of certain reasons.

Read more here.

Nov 27, 2020 09:30am

AstraZeneca CEO expects to run new global trial of Covid-19 vaccine: report

AstraZeneca is likely to run an additional global trial to assess the efficacy of its Covid-19 vaccine using a lower dosage, its chief executive was quoted as saying amid questions over the results of its late-stage study.

Instead of adding the trial to an ongoing US process, AstraZeneca might launch a fresh study to evaluate a lower dosage of its vaccine that performed better than a full dosage, Pascal Soriot told Bloomberg News.

“Now that we've found what looks like a better efficacy we have to validate this, so we need to do an additional study,” he said, adding that the new, likely global, study could be faster because it would need fewer subjects as the efficacy was already known to be high.

Nov 27, 2020 09:00am

Once Australia's Covid-19 hotspot, Victoria goes 28 days without an infection

Australia's second largest state, Victoria, once the country's Covid-19 hotspot, said it has gone 28 days without detecting any new infections, a benchmark widely cited as eliminating the virus from the community.

The state also has zero active cases after the last Covid-19 patient was discharged from hospital this week, a far cry from August when Victoria recorded more than 700 cases in one day and active infections totalled nearly 8,000, Reuters reported.

The spread of the virus was only contained after a lockdown lasting more than 100 days, leaving some 5 million people in Melbourne, Australia's second largest city, largely confined to their homes.

Nov 27, 2020 12:23am

New coronavirus infections, hospitalisations decline again in France

France has reported 13,563 new coronavirus infections, compared with 16,282 yesterday and 21,150 a week ago, suggesting the spread of the virus continues to slow in the fourth week of a national lockdown.

The number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 continued falling by a further 662 to 29,310, while the number of people in intensive care fell by 130 to 4,018, continuing a trend dating back two weeks, health ministry data showed.

Nov 26, 2020 11:00pm

'We're ready': Schiphol airport gears up for chilled vaccine cargos

In cavernous cold-storage warehouses at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, KLM workers are gearing up for a surge next year in Covid-19 vaccine cargos that will need to be flown around the world at ultra-low temperatures.

A major hub for pharmaceutical products, Schiphol has already handled some of the vaccines being used in trials and KLM's boss is confident its “cold chain” operations will cope with the influx of cargos as mass inoculations start in earnest.

“The short and sweet of it is, yes, we're ready,” KLM Chief Executive Pieter Elbers told Reuters. “Obviously both for societies and our industry it's of paramount importance to have these vaccines distributed at the quickest possible pace.”

Continue reading here.

Nov 26, 2020 10:20pm

Turkey records highest new coronavirus death toll for fourth consecutive day

Turkey’s daily number of coronavirus deaths hit a record high for a fourth consecutive day with 174 in the past 24 hours, Reuters reported quoting data from the Health Ministry.

The country also reported the highest number of new daily infections yet. According to data, 29,132 new Covid-19 cases, including asymptomatic ones, were reported on Thursday.

Nov 26, 2020 09:41pm

Sindh govt allows markets to remain open until 8pm but stresses SOPs compliance

The Sindh government has decided to extend closure timings of markets, shopping malls and commercial centres from 6pm to 8pm.

“This is to inform that markets in Sindh will remain open till 8pm,” Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab said in a tweet.

He emphasised that with the relaxation, businesses are expected to adhere to the health guidelines, saying: “It is again expected from the market associations, shop owners and citizens that due regard to SOPs shall be observed and everyone including the shopkeepers and visitors shall wear a mask.”

Nov 26, 2020 09:10pm

'You have to be here': Argentina's love of Maradona overcomes Covid-19 fears

Argentines in their thousands, wearing soccer jerseys and face masks, packed into snaking queues on the streets of Buenos Aires on Thursday to pay their last respects to flawed soccer genius Diego Maradona - despite concerns around the spread of Covid-19.

The crowds, which some expect to reach a million people to see Maradona’s casket after his death on Wednesday, reflect the soccer star’s status in the South American country, where he has almost cult following and is fondly known as “God”.

“You have to be here. There was no way this wouldn’t happen. Somehow this is Maradona too, breaking the rules,” said Marcelo Gades, a 52-year-old employee, who was waiting to enter the wake with a rose in his hand.

“Argentina is Maradona, and Maradona is Argentina, with all the good and all the bad.”

Argentina has recorded almost 1.4 million cases and 37,714 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic. The government imposed a strict lockdown in March and restrictions on schools and travel remain in place. New cases have been slowing in recent weeks.

Nov 26, 2020 08:35pm

Sweden's second Covid wave could peak in mid-December, health agency says

The second wave of Covid-19 infections that has hit Sweden could peak in mid-December, Reuters quoted health officials as saying on Thursday, stressing developments will depend on how well the public follows social distancing advice.

New infections have hit record levels in recent weeks after a lull in the summer, throwing the country’s light-touch approach to fighting the pandemic into renewed focus.

In total, 6,622 people with Covid-19 have died in Sweden, a per capita total vastly higher than neighbours Norway, Denmark and Finland, which opted for stricter lockdowns during the spring, but lower than a handful of larger European nations.

Tougher restrictions in place since mid-October, however, may have helped slow the spread of the disease with the Public Health Agency saying infections could peak in the coming weeks.

Nov 26, 2020 08:03pm

Rome airport to offer Covid-tested flights to US with Delta, Alitalia

Rome’s Fiumicino airport will run Covid-tested flights to and from the United States operated by Delta Air Lines and Alitalia, it said, adding it will be the first airport in Europe to offer the service on transatlantic flights.

From December, passengers flying between Rome and some US destinations can be tested for the coronavirus 48 hours before departure and on arrival at the airport, to avoid the mandatory 14-day quarantine Italy imposes on incoming travellers.

Nov 26, 2020 06:58pm

Confirmed coronavirus cases in Netherlands pass 500,000

The Netherlands has reached over half a million total coronavirus cases, with 503,123 confirmed infections, data showed.

The daily tally of new infections in 24 hours was 4,470 which was a slight drop from a day earlier in the country, one of the worst-hit in Europe's second Covid-19 wave.

Nov 26, 2020 05:40pm

Sindh reports 1,402 new cases, 19 deaths

Sindh has reported 1,402 new Covid-19 cases and 19 deaths over the past 24 hours, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said.

The total number of confirmed cases in the province, according to the Sindh government, is now 168,783. The death toll stands at 2,885.

Additionally, 749 patients were reported to have recovered from the virus over the past day.

Nov 26, 2020 05:30pm

Greece extends nationwide coronavirus lockdown

Greece will extend its nationwide lockdown until December 7 as Covid-19 cases continue to surge across the country, government spokesman Stelios Petsas has said.

Greece has registered a total of 97,288 Covid-19 cases and 1,902 deaths, with the hardest-hit area being northern Greece. Hospitals are operating at almost full capacity, according to health ministry data.

Nov 26, 2020 05:00pm

London to be placed in second highest Covid risk category: official website

London will be placed into the second highest risk category when a national lockdown ends on December 2, according to a government website that allows residents to check the rules which will apply to them, Reuters reported.

For London, this means no mixing of households indoors and a maximum of six can meet people outdoors, hospitality venues can only offer alcohol alongside a substantial meal, and tightly restricted attendance of sporting events.

Nov 26, 2020 04:40pm

EU drugs watchdog expects first application for Covid-19 vaccine in days

Europe's drugs watchdog said it expects to receive the first application for conditional marketing approval for a Covid-19 vaccine “in the coming days”, the latest step towards making a shot available outside the United States.

The European Medicines Agency did not name the company it expects to file the application, but Pfizer Inc and BioNTEch are the most advanced in the regulatory process among the three companies that have published late-stage trial data for their vaccines, Reuters reported.

Nov 26, 2020 04:03pm

Disney increases planned layoffs to 32,000 as virus hits theme parks

Walt Disney Co said has said it will lay off about 32,000 workers, primarily at its theme parks, an increase from the 28,000 it announced in September, as the company struggles with limited customers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The layoffs will be in the first half of 2021, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to Reuters.

A spokesman for Disney confirmed that the latest figures include the 28,000 layoffs announced earlier.

Nov 26, 2020 03:20pm

Sweden's Prince Carl Philip and wife test positive for coronavirus

Sweden’s Prince Carl Philip and his wife Princess Sofia have tested positive for Covid-19, the Swedish royal court said.

The two are feeling well under the circumstances, the court said in a statement, adding that King Karl XIV Gustaf, Queen Silvia, the prince’s older sister Crown Princess Victoria and her husband Prince Daniel would be tested during the day.

Carl Philip is fourth in the line of succession to the Swedish throne, Reuters reported.

Sweden's Princess Sofia (R) and Sweden's Prince Carl Philip greet the crowds after their wedding ceremony at Stockholm Palace on June 13, 2015. — AFP
Sweden's Princess Sofia (R) and Sweden's Prince Carl Philip greet the crowds after their wedding ceremony at Stockholm Palace on June 13, 2015. — AFP

Nov 26, 2020 03:00pm

Sudan's former PM Sadiq al-Mahdi dies from coronavirus in UAE

Sudan’s last democratically elected prime minister, Sadiq al-Mahdi, who was overthrown in the 1989 military coup that brought Omar al-Bashir to power, has died from a coronavirus infection, his party said, according to Reuters.

Mahdi, aged 84, had been hospitalised in the United Arab Emirates three weeks ago.

Last month, Mahdi’s family said he had tested positive for Covid-19. He was transferred to the UAE for treatment a few days later following a brief hospitalisation in Sudan.

In a statement, the Umma Party said Mahdi would be buried on Friday morning in the city of Omdurman in Sudan.

Nov 26, 2020 02:40pm

German Covid-19 restrictions set to last into 2021

Germany will probably have to stick with measures to dampen the coronavirus pandemic into January, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said, while her chief of staff suggested that restrictions might be needed until March, according to Reuters.

“Given the high number of infections, we assume that the restrictions which are in place before Christmas will continue to be valid until the start of January, certainly for most parts of Germany,” Merkel told parliament.

26th Nov, 2:04 PM

Post-Covid normal life could return to France by autumn 2021, says scientific adviser

People in France could return to some form of normal life by autumn 2021 provided that a major vaccination programme to tackle the Covid-19 virus works well, French government scientific adviser Arnaud Fontanet told BFM TV.

Fontanet, a leading epidemiologist, said France needed to get vaccines to 80-90 per cent of its population for a semblance of normality to return by autumn of 2021.

Nov 26, 2020 02:15pm

Pakistan reports more than 3,000 cases for second straight day

Pakistan has reported 3,306 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, a day after it confirmed more than 3,000 daily infections for the first time since July.

The countrywide breakdown of daily infections is as follows:

  • Punjab: 720 cases
  • Sindh: 1,348 cases
  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 514 cases
  • Balochistan: 51 cases
  • Islamabad: 576 cases
  • Gilgit-Baltistan: 10 cases
  • Azad Jammu and Kashmir: 87 cases
26th Nov, 1:25 PM

India records 44,489 new coronavirus cases

India has recorded 44,489 new coronavirus infections, data from the health ministry showed, the 19th straight day that single-day cases have stayed below the 50,000 mark.

India’s coronavirus tally now stands at 9.27 million, the second-highest in the world, after the United States.

Deaths rose by 524, taking the total to 135,223.

26th Nov, 1:00 PM

Global coronavirus cases surpass 60 million infections

The global tally of confirmed coronavirus cases has hit 60 million, with the pace of new infections accelerating and the United States reporting record numbers of hospitalisations, according to a Reuters tally.

An analysis of the data showed the rate of new infections picking up globally. It took just 17 days to go from 50m cases to 60m, compared with the 21 days it took to go from 40m to 50m. Around 580,000 cases have been reported each day over the past week and around half of all cases since the start of the pandemic were reported over the past 70 days.

In Europe, 1m new cases were recorded over just five days, for a total of more than 16m cases, including 365,000 deaths.

26th Nov, 12:05 PM

Colombia extends health state of emergency until end of February

Colombia’s government will extend its health state of emergency by three months, President Ivan Duque has said, as he urged people to avoid crowds and keep up safety measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Andean country has had over 1.27 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and nearly 36,000 deaths. Active cases number 57,260.

26th Nov, 11:30 AM

Pakistan records more than 1,000 recoveries from coronavirus

Pakistan has recorded 1,418 recoveries from coronavirus, according to the government's Covid-19 portal, which has taken the country's total to 334,392.

The portal also shows that 1,968 virus patients are in critical condition.

26th Nov, 11:25 AM

Punjab reports another spike in cases with more than 700 infections

Punjab has reported another spike in Covid-19 cases, confirming 720 infections in the last 24 hours. The province's caseload has risen to 116,506.

It also marks the first time since July 10 that the province has reported more than 700 daily infections.

It has confirmed 19 more fatalities in the last 24 hours as well, taking the death toll to 2,923 — the highest in Pakistan.

26th Nov, 11:20 AM

Islamabad, federal territories collectively record 673 infections, 7 fatalities

Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir have collectively recorded 673 coronavirus cases and seven additional fatalities.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • Islamabad: 576 cases, 6 deaths
  • GB: 10 cases
  • AJK: 87 cases, 1 death
26th Nov, 11:15 AM

KP reports more than 500 cases for second time this week

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has reported 514 cases in the last 24 hours, marking the second time this week the province reported more than 500 daily infections. The provincial tally has risen to 45,828.

KP also reported five Covid-19 fatalities, taking the provincial death toll to 1,344.

Meanwhile, Balochistan confirmed 51 fresh infections and one more death. The province's total cases stand at 16,942 while the number of fatalities has risen to 165.

26th Nov, 9:40 AM

Mexico City seeks to 'break the chain' of coronavirus with rapid tests, QR codes

Mexico City has launched a test-and-trace approach to containing the coronavirus, after a rise in hospitalisations that has raised fears of a new economic lockdown in one of the world’s largest urban centres.

Mexico City is proposing to double the number of daily coronavirus tests to 10,000 by adding rapid testing at pop-up sites in highly populated areas, health centres and at sports stadiums including the legendary Azteca Stadium.

The local government has established a new contract tracing program using QR codes, which registers the phone numbers of customers at stores and restaurants so they can be contacted in the event that they have contact with an infected person.

“The goal ... is to break the chain of contagion by identifying and isolating positive cases early,” the Mexico City Health Department said in a statement to Reuters, adding that the testing would continue until the infection curve was flattened.

26th Nov, 9:00 AM

US reports more than 2,400 deaths in 24 hours, a six-month high

The United States has registered more than 2,400 deaths from Covid-19 in 24 hours, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally — the highest daily toll in six months as the Thanksgiving holiday began.

The country has recorded a total of 262,080 Covid deaths, up by 2,439 in 24 hours. It also registered nearly 200,000 new cases.

Medical staff members communicate with each other through a partition in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 25 in Houston, Texas. — AFP
Medical staff members communicate with each other through a partition in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 25 in Houston, Texas. — AFP

26th Nov, 8:05 AM

South Korea reports 583 new coronavirus cases, highest since March

South Korea has reported 583 new coronavirus cases, the highest since March, as the country grapples with a third wave of infections that has forced it to reimpose tough social distancing measures.

The daily tally exceeded 500 for the first time since March 6, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), when South Korea battled the first major Covid-19 epidemic outside China.

According to a Reuters report, the first wave emerged from meetings of a religious sect but most of the latest cases are occurring in offices, schools, gyms and small gatherings in the wider community around Seoul, making them harder to trace and contain.

25th Nov, 11:55 PM

Egyptian inventor trials robot that can test for Covid-19

Mahmoud el-Komy, who designed the robot, called Cira-03, says it can help limit exposure to infection and prevent the transmission of the virus.

His creation, which has a human-like face and head and robotic arms, can take blood tests, perform echocardiograms and X-rays, and display the results to patients on a screen attached to its chest.

25th Nov, 11:13 PM

Primetime Thanksgiving NFL game postponed after multiple Covid-19 cases

Due to a number of Covid-19 cases and related contact tracing, there will be no primetime Thanksgiving game on Thursday, Reuters reported.

The NFL announced today that the scheduled game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens was postponed to Sunday.

The NFL hoped to avoid postponing games the rest of the season.

25th Nov, 10:22 PM

WHO says stay at home, limit holiday season events midst Covid-19 surge

The World Health Organisation's regional branch for the Americas has recommended postponing or reducing mass gatherings during the approaching holiday season as cases surge again in many countries, Reuters reported.

“This is not the time to be hosting any large gatherings [...] during a pandemic, there is no such thing as a risk-free holiday season,” the Pan American Health Organisation's Assistant Director Jarbas Barbosa said in a briefing Religious services should be held outdoors whenever possible or limited in size, he said.

With every gathering, every shopping trip and every travel plan increasing the chances of spreading the virus, the safest option for everyone is to stay at home, Barbosa said.

25th Nov, 8:54 PM

Hospital ICUs almost full as 2nd virus wave grips Pakistan

Intensive care units across Pakistan are nearing capacity as a second, deadlier wave of the coronavirus builds momentum and officials struggle to counter public indifference to the pandemic.

Several doctors told AFP that hospitals are having to turn away suspected Covid-19 patients, with the potential for a major health care crisis increasing daily.

“The coming two weeks are critical and our situation is going to worsen,” said Qaisar Sajjad, secretary general of the Pakistan Medical Association.

“Around 95 per cent of the beds are occupied. Only a few hospitals still have capacity — but most of the hospitals are full and refusing to take more patients.”

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