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CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

  • Covid-19 emerges in China's Wuhan in Dec '19, declared a pandemic on March 11
  • Over 114.7 million infected globally; more than 2.5 million dead, over 64.9 million recovered
  • 583,916 cases reported in Pakistan; 13,013 dead, 554,255 recovered

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CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Latest
7:10 AM

Bowing to pressure, Germany's Merkel eases virus curbs

Mar 03, 2021
8:00 PM

Texas becomes biggest US state to lift Covid-19 mask mandate

7:15 PM

Tactical shift: Europe seeks vaccine ‘overdrive’ to catch up

6:41 PM

Japan PM considering two-week extension of Covid-19 state of emergency for Tokyo

6:07 PM

Dutch Covid-19 testing centre blast appears intentional

5:48 PM

Sindh reports 225 new cases, 16 more deaths

5:30 PM

Concerns over China vaccine diplomacy 'narrow-minded': political advisory body

4:10 PM

First Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines to Africa under Covax go to Rwanda

2:40 PM

World Bank readies Covid-19 vaccine funds for around 30 African countries

1:55 PM

Kenya hails first Covid-19 vaccines as 'bazookas' against virus

Mar 04, 2021 07:10am

Bowing to pressure, Germany's Merkel eases virus curbs

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has agreed to gradually ease virus curbs in Europe's top economy, caving to political pressure and public discontent seven months before a general election.

After more than nine hours of talks, Merkel and Germany's 16 regional leaders unveiled a step-by-step plan to relax restrictions after months of shutdowns, despite concern over the spread of new and more aggressive virus variants.

Merkel said the loosening of restrictions, tied to strict conditions, was justified because of the imminent ramp-up in vaccinations and the arrival of mass rapid testing.

“Today, we can talk of hope and a transition to a new phase” in the fight against the pandemic, the veteran chancellor was quoted as saying by AFP.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wears a face mask as she arrives to chair the government's weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin. — AFP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel wears a face mask as she arrives to chair the government's weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin. — AFP

Mar 03, 2021 08:00pm

Texas becomes biggest US state to lift Covid-19 mask mandate

Governor Greg Abbott has announced Texas is lifting its mask mandate, making it the largest US state to no longer require one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus, AP reports.

The announcement has rattled doctors and big city leaders who said they are now bracing for another deadly resurgence.

“Removing statewide mandates does not end personal responsibility,” said Abbott, speaking from the crowded dining room of a restaurant in Lubbock, surrounded by several people not wearing masks.

“It’s just that now state mandates are no longer needed,” he said.

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas — Reuters
Governor Greg Abbott of Texas — Reuters

Mar 03, 2021 05:48pm

Sindh reports 225 new cases, 16 more deaths

Sindh has reported 225 new cases of the novel coronavirus, raising the provincial tally to 258,904 infections.

Moreover, the daily situation report issued by the Chief Minister's Office confirmed the deaths of 16 more patients. The death toll now stands at 4,388 in the province.

The statement added that 9,025 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours.

Mar 03, 2021 05:30pm

Concerns over China vaccine diplomacy 'narrow-minded': political advisory body

Concerns about China using vaccines to sway other countries are “narrow-minded”, a top political advisory body has said, apparently dismissing a notion among rival powers that Beijing exploits the fight against Covid-19 to boost its global influence.

Guo Weimin, spokesman for the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said some suspect China is using Covid-19 vaccines to “expand our geopolitical influence”.

“This idea is extremely narrow-minded,” Guo said at a news conference, ahead of the opening of the annual meeting of CPPCC on Thursday.

Mar 03, 2021 04:10pm

First Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines to Africa under Covax go to Rwanda

The first doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 shots to be dispatched to Africa under the global Covax vaccine-sharing scheme are set to arrive in Rwanda, as efforts to inoculate the world’s poorest nations accelerate, Reuters reports.

The batch of 102,960 doses will soon arrive in Kigali, the health ministry said, hours after a flight carrying 240,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India also landed.

Mar 03, 2021 02:40pm

World Bank readies Covid-19 vaccine funds for around 30 African countries

The World Bank is preparing emergency financing to help about 30 African countries access Covid-19 vaccines, the global lender has told Reuters, as the continent scrambles to secure doses and start immunising vulnerable groups.

The World Bank said financing projects were being prepared in African countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Niger, Mozambique, Tunisia, eSwatini, Rwanda and Senegal, without disclosing the amount of support under discussion.

“The funds are available now, and for most African countries, the financing would be on grant or highly concessional terms,” a bank spokesperson said in response to questions.

“This is the first World Bank-financed operation in Africa to support a country’s Covid-19 immunisation plan and help with the purchase and distribution of vaccines,” the spokesperson added.

World Bank Group. — AFP/File
World Bank Group. — AFP/File

Mar 03, 2021 01:55pm

Kenya hails first Covid-19 vaccines as 'bazookas' against virus

Kenya has received just over a million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in its first batch under a global facility aimed at ensuring equitable distribution.

“We have received ... machine guns, bazookas, and tanks to fight this war against Covid-19,” Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe told reporters as he received the doses at Nairobi's main airport.

Kenya's Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe (2ndL) inspects the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines after they've been unloaded from a Qatar Airways flight at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in Nairobi. — AFP
Kenya's Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe (2ndL) inspects the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines after they've been unloaded from a Qatar Airways flight at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in Nairobi. — AFP