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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 41.7 million infected globally; more than 1.1 million dead, over 28 million recovered
  • 326,216 cases reported in Pakistan; 6,715 dead, 309,646 recovered
  • Click here for Dawn's coronavirus coverage
Latest
1:34 PM

Covid-19 surges across US as some hospitals stretched

12:22 PM

Islamabad, GB and AJK collectively report 209 virus cases, 5 deaths

12:19 PM

Punjab reports 146 Covid-19 cases, 6 deaths

12:17 PM

Pakistan reports 510 coronavirus recoveries

12:07 PM

Europe daily coronavirus cases double in 10 days, reports 200,000 daily cases for the first time

11:04 AM

Fine imposed on Turkish Airlines for violating SOPs

10:10 AM

Australia's Covid-19 hotspot sees active cases fall to 4-month low

9:07 AM

Sewage can reveal Covid outbreaks, UK project finds

8:19 AM

Blood of recovered Covid-19 patients shows little benefit as treatment

Oct 22, 2020
11:00 PM

Greek PM declares virus curfew in Athens, other areas

10:30 PM

US Covid-19 single-day deaths top 1,200 for first time since August

10:00 PM

Italy's daily coronavirus cases hit new daily record of 16,079

9:30 PM

PM Johnson says Britain cannot rely on a vaccine to end the coronavirus crisis

9:00 PM

Spain mulls curfews to contain 'out-of-control' pandemic

8:32 PM

France extends curfew to more regions — PM Castex

7:30 PM

Czechs enter 2nd lockdown to avoid health system collapse

6:50 PM

Refusing to wear a mask in Ethiopia could cost you two years in jail

6:27 PM

Sindh reports 276 cases, 1 new death from Covid-19

6:19 PM

Masks do stop coronavirus but not perfectly, Japanese researchers find

5:30 PM

India's West Bengal hits record daily Covid-19 cases amid festival

4:51 PM

American Airlines reports $2.4 billion loss in third quarter

3:55 PM

South Korea sticks to flu vaccine plan despite safety fears after 25 die

3:10 PM

Belgian foreign minister in intensive care with Covid

2:31 PM

Russia's coronavirus death toll passes 25,000

2:00 PM

British Airways warns of deepening travel slump as losses mount

12:24 PM

Japan researchers show masks do block coronavirus, but not perfectly

11:15 AM

462 more people recover from coronavirus in Pakistan

11:10 AM

Punjab reports 171 cases, 4 fatalities

11:06 AM

Islamabad's death toll crosses 200

10:00 AM

Melbourne suburbs on alert as new Covid-19 case sparks outbreak fears

9:01 AM

Germany's coronavirus cases rise by more than 10,000 for first time

8:15 AM

US likely to have enough Covid-19 vaccines for all vulnerable Americans by year end: official

Oct 21, 2020
11:00 PM

Spain 1st in western Europe to hit 1 million virus cases

10:30 PM

Volunteer in Oxford Covid-19 vaccine trial has died, Brazil health authority says

10:05 PM

German health minister tests positive for coronavirus

9:34 PM

New virus curbs for northern English region

9:06 PM

Brazil's health minister tests positive for Covid-19, ministry says

8:33 PM

Schools in Naples move to streets and balconies to ensure social distancing

8:00 PM

Russia not planning lockdowns despite record high Covid-19 deaths — Kremlin

7:30 PM

Swiss fear rise in Covid-19 cases could overburden hospitals

6:50 PM

After lax summer, hard-hit Belgium again faces Covid "tsunami"

6:07 PM

Sindh records 293 additional Covid-19 cases, 3 deaths

5:38 PM

SAPM Dr Faisal urges people to observe precautions to avoid restrictions on social and economic activity

4:16 PM

Thailand eases more rules to attract foreign tourists

3:05 PM

WATCH: Thailand welcomes first tourists in 7 months

2:35 PM

NCOC warns of 'strict measures' in case of no improvement in compliance with SOPs

2:05 PM

Russia records 15,700 new coronavirus cases, hits daily record high of 317 deaths

1:45 PM

Chinese city to offer Covid-19 vaccine candidate as emergency use expands

12:16 PM

Islamabad, GB and AJK collectively report 186 Covid-19 cases, 6 deaths

12:14 PM

Punjab reports 176 virus cases, 9 deaths

Oct 23, 2020 01:34pm

Covid-19 surges across US as some hospitals stretched

Several US states, many of them in the Midwest, reported record single-day increases in Covid-19 infections, further evidence that the pandemic is accelerating anew as cooler weather takes hold in many parts of the country.

Indiana, North Dakota, Illinois, Montana, Oklahoma, Utah and Ohio posted daily records on Thursday, according to a Reuters analysis, while Florida reported more than 5,500 new cases, its highest single-day increase since August 15.

Twenty-eight states have reported their daily record high of Covid-19 cases in the month of October alone.

Along with spikes in cases and deaths, the number of COVID-19 patients in US hospitals climbed to a two-month high. There are now over 40,000 hospitalised coronavirus patients across the country, up 33 per cent from October 1, according to a Reuters analysis.

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Oct 23, 2020 12:22pm

Islamabad, GB and AJK collectively report 209 virus cases, 5 deaths

Islamabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan have collectively reported 209 coronavirus cases and five deaths during the last 24 hours.

Here is a breakdown of the cases and deaths recorded:

  • Islamabad: 140 cases, 4 deaths
  • GB: 20 cases
  • AJK: 49 cases, 1 death
Oct 23, 2020 12:19pm

Punjab reports 146 Covid-19 cases, 6 deaths

Punjab has reported 146 coronavirus cases and six deaths during the last 24 hours.

The provincial total has risen to 102,253 while the death toll is 2,329.

Oct 23, 2020 12:17pm

Pakistan reports 510 coronavirus recoveries

Pakistan has reported 510 coronavirus recoveries during the last 24 hours, according to the government's portal for tracking the spread of the disease in the country.

The total number has risen to 309,646.

Oct 23, 2020 12:07pm

Europe daily coronavirus cases double in 10 days, reports 200,000 daily cases for the first time

Europe’s reported coronavirus cases more than doubled in 10 days, crossing 200,000 daily infections for the first time on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, with many Southern European countries reporting their highest single-day cases this week.

Europe reported 100,000 daily cases for the first time on Oct. 12. Europe has so far reported about 7.8 million total coronavirus cases and about 247,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.

European countries like Italy, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia reported their highest single-day coronavirus cases on Thursday.

Europe as a region is reporting more daily cases than India, Brazil and the United States combined. The increase is partly explained by far more testing than was done in the first wave of the pandemic.

Oct 23, 2020 11:04am

Fine imposed on Turkish Airlines for violating SOPs

The government has imposed a fine of Rs100,000 on Turkish Airlines for violating standard operating procedures (SOPs) for prevention of Covid-19 on its flight.

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has directed Turkish airlines to submit a compliance report to CAA Karachi within one week after issuance of the letter. This is the second case of SOPs violation by an international airline while transporting passengers to Pakistan.

Read full story here.

Oct 23, 2020 10:10am

Australia's Covid-19 hotspot sees active cases fall to 4-month low

Australia's Victoria state — the epicentre of the country's Covid-19 outbreak — has reported that active coronavirus cases have fallen to a four-month low, paving the way for an acceleration in the easing of social distancing curbs.

The nation's second most populous state, which recorded just one new infection in the past 24 hours, said there are now 100 active cases — the lowest since June 19.

“This is a good number. This is a very clear sign that the strategy is working,” Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.

The active infections are a relief to state authorities amid heightened fears of a fresh cluster after a case in a school in Melbourne's northern suburbs prompted authorities to order 800 people to self-isolate, Reuters reported.

Oct 23, 2020 09:07am

Sewage can reveal Covid outbreaks, UK project finds

Traces of Covid-19 can be successfully detected in sewage, helping to give health officials an early warning of local outbreaks of the virus, the British government said.

A project, originally launched in June, has now proved that fragments of genetic material from the virus can be detected in waste water, indicating if a local community or institution is experiencing a spike in cases, according to Reuters.

The government said this would allow health officials to identify large outbreaks especially where there were carriers not displaying any symptoms and to encourage people to get tested or take precautions.

Oct 22, 2020 11:00pm

Greek PM declares virus curfew in Athens, other areas

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday declared a night curfew in Athens, Thessaloniki and other areas to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, AFP reports.

“We aim to reduce circulation and night gatherings that favour the spread of the virus,” Mitsotakis said in a televised address, in which he also announced the “compulsory” use of masks both indoors and outdoors in the worst-hit areas.

“The mask is the vaccine before the vaccine (arrives),” the PM said.

The curfew from 12:30am to 5am that comes into force on Saturday was announced after a record 882 new infections and 15 deaths were earlier announced by the state health agency.

“We've seen a sudden increase in cases in recent days,” Mitsotakis said, a trend he partially attributed to additional testing.

The PM said the measures were applicable to areas with “dangerous” case increases.

Oct 22, 2020 10:30pm

US Covid-19 single-day deaths top 1,200 for first time since August

The number of coronavirus deaths reported in the United States on Wednesday reached its highest in two months, offering more evidence that the pandemic was gaining fresh momentum across the country as cooler weather sets in, according to Reuters.

Covid-19 deaths nationwide had averaged about 700 a day for much of October before rising to 1,237 on Wednesday, according to a Reuters analysis, the most since August 19.

The number of new infections began trending higher five weeks ago, and health experts have warned that a rise in fatalities would follow.

Oct 22, 2020 10:00pm

Italy's daily coronavirus cases hit new daily record of 16,079

Italy has registered 16,079 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, Reuters quoted the health ministry as saying on Thursday, the highest daily tally since the start of the country's outbreak and up from the previous record of 15,199 posted on Wednesday.

The ministry also reported 136 Covid-related deaths on Thursday, against 127 the day before, but still far fewer than at the height of the pandemic in Italy in March and April, when a daily peak of more than 900 fatalities was reached.

A total 36,968 people have now died in Italy because of coronavirus, while 465,726 cases of the disease have been registered to date.

After declining over the summer, infections have accelerated in the last few weeks.

Oct 22, 2020 09:30pm

PM Johnson says Britain cannot rely on a vaccine to end the coronavirus crisis

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said Britain cannot rely on a vaccine to end the coronavirus crisis and will need to use other measures to slow the pandemic, reported Reuters.

“We can't, in my view, rely on that [...] it may happen, we are working flat out to ensure that it does, but we can't just count on that,” Johnson told a press conference. “That is why we have to do all the other things that we are doing.”

Oct 22, 2020 09:00pm

Spain mulls curfews to contain 'out-of-control' pandemic

Spain's health minister described a second wave of the coronavirus sweeping the county as “out of control” on Thursday as the government considered whether to follow France and other European countries in imposing curfews, Reuters reports.

A day earlier, Spain became the first Western European country to record 1 million Covid-19 cases. The country's death toll stands at 34,366 people.

“Not to take these measures would be irresponsible,” said Francisco Igea, deputy leader of the Castilla and Leon region, which formally requested the central government to decide on a curfew.

“The lives of tens of thousands of people are at stake,” he told a news conference.

Castilla la Mancha's health chief will request a nationwide curfew at a video meeting between Health Minister Salvador Illa and Spanish regions later on Thursday, a source with the regional government said.

Oct 22, 2020 08:32pm

France extends curfew to more regions — PM Castex

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday that because of the rapid spread of the coronavirus, the government will extend the 9pm to 6am curfew to 38 more departments, starting from Friday at midnight, Reuters reports.

He said the curfew would now impact a total of 46 million people and would include some overseas French territories. France has a population of about 67 million people.

Last week France already imposed a curfew in Paris and eight other big cities.

“A second wave of the coronavirus epidemic is now under way in France and Europe. The situation is very serious,” Castex said at a news conference, adding that the month of November would be very tough.

“The coming weeks will be hard and the number of deaths will continue to rise,” he said.

Oct 22, 2020 07:30pm

Czechs enter 2nd lockdown to avoid health system collapse

Czechs had been assured it wouldn't happen again.

But amid a record surge of coronavirus infections that's threatening the entire health system with collapse, the Czech Republic is adopting on Thursday exactly the same massive restrictions it slapped on citizens in the spring, according to AP.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis had repeatedly said these measures would never return.

"We have no time to wait," Babis explained Wednesday. "The surge is enormous."

Babis apologized for the huge impact the restrictions will have on everyday life but said if they were not taken, "our health system would collapse between Nov 7-11".

The measures include limits on free movement and the closure of many stores, shopping malls and hotels. They will remain in place until at least Nov 3.

Oct 22, 2020 06:50pm

Refusing to wear a mask in Ethiopia could cost you two years in jail

Ethiopia can jail people for up to two years if they deliberately violate restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19, Reuters quoted the attorney general's office as saying, amid concern that citizens are becoming lax after a state of emergency was lifted.

The restrictions prohibit shaking hands, not wearing a mask in a public place, seating more than three people at a table or not keeping “two adult steps” — around six feet — apart.

“Now it is as if Covid is no longer there, the public is not taking care,” Health Minister Lia Tadesse tweeted on Thursday. “This will cause a possible increase in the spread of the disease and might be a threat to the nation.

Ethiopia, Africa's second-most populous nation and a regional powerhouse, declared a state of emergency in April to curb the spread of the pandemic. It was lifted in September.

The health ministry has recorded 91,118 Covid-19 cases, 1,384 deaths and 44,506 recoveries so far.

Oct 22, 2020 06:27pm

Sindh reports 276 cases, 1 new death from Covid-19

276 new cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Sindh, taking the provincial tally to 142,917, according to Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

One more person lost their life from the virus, with Sindh's overall death toll rising to 2,591.

A total of 6,551 tests were carried out during the last 24 hours in Sindh, Shah said.

Oct 22, 2020 05:30pm

India's West Bengal hits record daily Covid-19 cases amid festival

The Indian state of West Bengal reported its biggest daily tally of new Covid-19 infections as thousands of people thronged the streets for a major Hindu festival that began last week, according to Reuters.

India has seen a sharp drop in infections since a September peak, but experts have warned it could see a resurgence during Durga Puja this week, and Diwali, the festival of light, in mid-November.

West Bengal's health ministry reported 4,069 new Covid-19 cases late on Wednesday. India currently has a total of 7.71 million cases, the second highest in the world.

The High Court in West Bengal, a state in eastern India, has issued orders to restrict the entry of worshippers into tents and makeshift structures, but that has not deterred people from turning out in large numbers.

Oct 22, 2020 04:51pm

American Airlines reports $2.4 billion loss in third quarter

American Airlines has announced that its earnings plunged 73 per cent in the third quarter amid the collapse in air travel during the coronavirus pandemic, causing a loss of $2.4 billion.

The company, which recently laid off 19,000 workers after Washington policymakers failed to renew funding to support airlines, said it reduced the rate at which it burns cash to $44 million a day in the July to September period, compared to $58m daily average in the second quarter.

Oct 22, 2020 03:55pm

South Korea sticks to flu vaccine plan despite safety fears after 25 die

South Korean officials have refused to suspend a seasonal influenza inoculation effort, despite growing calls for a halt, including an appeal from a key group of doctors, after the deaths of at least 25 of those vaccinated, Reuters reported.

Health authorities said they found no direct links between the deaths and the vaccines.

“The number of deaths has increased, but our team sees low possibility that the deaths resulted from the shots,” the agency's director, Jeong Eun-kyeong, told parliament.

South Korea has ordered a fifth more flu vaccines this year to ward off what it calls a “twindemic”, or the prospect that people with flu develop coronavirus complications and overburden hospitals in winter.

Oct 22, 2020 03:10pm

Belgian foreign minister in intensive care with Covid

Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes, who was caretaker prime minister during the first wave of the coronavirus, has been admitted to intensive care, officials said.

The 45-year-old tested positive for Covid-19 last week and had been self-isolating, but her condition worsened and on Wednesday night she was admitted to a Brussels hospital, according to AFP.

“She is conscious and she can communicate,” her spokeswoman said, confirming that Wilmes was receiving intensive care. A source in her office said her condition was “stable”.

Oct 22, 2020 02:31pm

Russia's coronavirus death toll passes 25,000

Russia has recorded 290 new deaths from Covid-19, bringing its official death toll to 25,242.

According to Reuters, authorities reported 15,971 new coronavirus infections in the previous 24 hours, bringing the nationwide total to 1,463,306, the fourth highest in the world.

Oct 22, 2020 02:00pm

British Airways warns of deepening travel slump as losses mount

British Airways owner has warned the travel slump from the coronavirus pandemic had deepened, forcing it to axe even more of its winter flying schedule after it reported on Thursday a quarterly loss of 1.3 billion euros.

Shares in the company dropped 3pc to 97 pence at 0816 GMT. The stock has lost 78pc in the year-to-date as the pandemic has crushed its business.

Read more by Reuters here.

22nd Oct, 12:24 PM

Japan researchers show masks do block coronavirus, but not perfectly

Japanese researchers showed that masks can offer protection from airborne coronavirus particles, but even professional-grade coverings can’t eliminate contagion risk entirely.

Scientists at the University of Tokyo built a secure chamber with mannequin heads facing each other. One head, fitted with a nebuliser, simulated coughing and expelled actual coronavirus particles. The other mimicked natural breathing, with a collection chamber for viruses coming through the airway.

A cotton mask reduced viral uptake by the receiver head by up to 40 per cent compared to no mask. An N95 mask, used by medical professionals, blocked up to 90pc. However, even when the N95 was fitted to the face with tape, some virus particles still sneaked in.

22nd Oct, 11:15 AM

462 more people recover from coronavirus in Pakistan

The government's Covid-19 portal shows that 462 more people have recovered from the coronavirus in the country, taking the total number of recoveries to 309,136.

According to the database, 591 virus patients are in critical condition.

22nd Oct, 11:10 AM

Punjab reports 171 cases, 4 fatalities

Punjab has reported 171 new Covid-19 cases and four more fatalities, according to the government's database for tracking the spread of coronavirus in the country.

This has taken the provincial tally of cases to 102,107 and the death toll to 2,323.

According to the database, 97,289 have recovered in the province so far.

22nd Oct, 11:06 AM

Islamabad's death toll crosses 200

Islamabad's death toll from the coronavirus has risen to 201 after it reported two more fatalities in the last 24 hours, according to the government's Covid-19 portal.

The capital also reported 129 new Covid-19 cases, taking its total to 18,438.

Gilgit Baltistan recorded 16 new infections while Azad Jammu and Kashmir confirmed 75, taking their tallies to 4,107 and 3,639 respectively.

22nd Oct, 10:00 AM

Melbourne suburbs on alert as new Covid-19 case sparks outbreak fears

Residents in five suburbs in Australia’s second largest city have been put on alert and people living in a public housing block urged to self-isolate after a new coronavirus case in a school sparked fears of a fresh outbreak, Reuters reported.

Melbourne, the capital of Victoria state, is just emerging from a second wave after a hard lockdown since July helped bring down daily Covid-19 cases to single digits in recent days from a peak of 700 in early August.

Authorities have asked people in the affected suburbs and 120 residents living in a public housing block to get tested if they experienced any flu-like symptoms.

22nd Oct, 9:01 AM

Germany's coronavirus cases rise by more than 10,000 for first time

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen by more than 10,000 in a single day for the first time, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The institute recorded 11,287 new cases in its daily update for a total of 392,049. The previous day’s increase was 7,830.

The reported death toll rose by 30 to 9,905, the tally showed.

People wearing face masks are pictured at Schloss Strasse shopping street, as the coronavirus outbreak continues, in Berlin, Germany on Oct 20. — Reuters
People wearing face masks are pictured at Schloss Strasse shopping street, as the coronavirus outbreak continues, in Berlin, Germany on Oct 20. — Reuters

While Germany’s infection rates are lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating rapidly since the onset of cooler weather, with politicians warning that stricter social distancing rules may be needed if the trend continues.

22nd Oct, 8:15 AM

US likely to have enough Covid-19 vaccines for all vulnerable Americans by year end: official

The United States is likely to have enough safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines available to inoculate the most vulnerable Americans by the end of 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has said.

The US government is “cautiously optimistic” that one or two vaccines, likely from Pfizer Inc or Moderna Inc, will be available by the end of the year and can begin to be distributed to Americans, officials said during a news conference.

Azar said he expects all seniors, healthcare workers, and first responders will be able to receive a vaccine as soon as January, with the rest of the American public able to get a vaccine by April.

21st Oct, 11:00 PM

Spain 1st in western Europe to hit 1 million virus cases

Spain became the first country in western Europe to accumulate more than 1 million confirmed Covid-19 infections on Wednesday as the nation of 47 million struggles to contain a resurgence of the virus, according to AP.

The health ministry said that its accumulative case load since the start of the pandemic reached 1,005,295 after reporting 16,973 more cases in the past 24 hours.

The ministry attributes 34,366 deaths to Covid-19.

Experts say the real numbers of infections and deaths are probably much higher because insufficient testing, asymptomatic cases and other issues impede authorities from capturing the true scale of the outbreak.

21st Oct, 10:30 PM

Volunteer in Oxford Covid-19 vaccine trial has died, Brazil health authority says

Brazilian health authority Anvisa said on Wednesday that a volunteer in a clinical trial of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University has died, stating it had received data from an investigation into the matter, according to Reuters.

The Federal University of Sao Paulo, which is helping coordinate phase 3 clinical trials in Brazil, separately said that the volunteer was Brazilian.

21st Oct, 10:05 PM

German health minister tests positive for coronavirus

German Health Minister Jens Spahn tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday afternoon, Reuters quoted the health ministry as saying, adding that he had placed himself in home quarantine.

Spahn, 40, was suffering from cold-like symptoms, the ministry said. People he had been in contact with were being informed.

A government spokesman said Spahn had attended a cabinet meeting earlier on Wednesday, but other cabinet ministers would not necessarily have to go into quarantine.

21st Oct, 9:34 PM

New virus curbs for northern English region

More than a million people in northern England will be banned from mixing with other households under new coronavirus rules announced Wednesday, sparking warnings of “months of agony” ahead, according to AFP.

The county of South Yorkshire, which includes the city of Sheffield, will enter into “very high” alert or tier three restrictions from Saturday, the UK government announced.

Many pubs, bars, casinos and other venues will be closed for at least four weeks and residents will be barred from meeting anybody outside their household indoors or in private gardens.

The decision will affect around 1.4 million people, meaning that 7.3 million people — or 13 percent of England's population — will now be living under the toughest restrictions.

Similar measures were recently announced for the northwestern cities of Liverpool and Manchester and the county of Lancashire, following a surge in Covid-19 cases there.

21st Oct, 9:06 PM

Brazil's health minister tests positive for Covid-19, ministry says

Brazil's Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello has tested positive for Covid-19, Reuters quoted the health ministry as saying on Wednesday.

Pazuello is the country's third health minister since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

21st Oct, 8:00 PM

Russia not planning lockdowns despite record high Covid-19 deaths — Kremlin

Russia is not planning to impose any further lockdowns to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, Reuters quoted the Kremlin as saying on Wednesday, after it notched up a record daily death toll of 317.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said no harsh restrictions were required to contain the virus, saying safety precautions, hygiene and certain curbs imposed by local authorities were key.

He said Russia was now better-equipped to respond to the pandemic.

“The work that has been done has already yielded results,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call. “The health system is ready to sustain the pressure caused by the pandemic.”

Russia's health watchdog said it was investigating after local media outlet 161.ru reported that several people in a hospital in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don had died when their oxygen supply ran out. A city official denied the report.

21st Oct, 7:30 PM

Swiss fear rise in Covid-19 cases could overburden hospitals

The Swiss health minister said coronavirus case counts and hospitalisations were doubling every week, warning of the prospect of overburdened hospitals as Switzerland has gone from one of the least-affected countries in Europe to one of the worst-hit in just three weeks, AP reports.

Alain Berset made the comments after the country of 8.5 million tallied on Wednesday a record 5,583 new cases over the latest 24 hours, obliterating the previous one-day record set two days earlier by about 14 per cent.

He said the government will act again if new restrictive measures announced over the weekend don't help lower the count.

"The situation is worsening, and worsening fast," Berset told a news conference in Bern, the capital.

21st Oct, 6:50 PM

After lax summer, hard-hit Belgium again faces Covid "tsunami"

A lax summer and a fractured political system have left Belgium facing a second Covid-19 wave potentially as serious as the first, with the health minister warning of a “tsunami”, Reuters reports.

Belgium's more than 10,000 deaths mean the country of 11 million people already has among the world's highest fatality rates per capita.

Like other Western European countries, it sharply curbed infections with a severe lockdown before the summer, only to see caseloads rise again sharply in recent weeks as children returned to school and the weather turned colder.

Belgium's infection rate has risen to more than 800 per 100,000 for the past 14 days, placing it second only to the Czech Republic in Europe and at nearly double the rate in France, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says.

“We are really close to a tsunami,” Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said on Sunday, referring in particular to the situation in Brussels and the French-speaking region Wallonia.

21st Oct, 6:07 PM

Sindh records 293 additional Covid-19 cases, 3 deaths

Sindh has recorded 293 new Covid-19 cases and three deaths, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said.

The province now has 142,641 confirmed cases of the virus, while 2,950 people have died.

According to provincial data, 135,759 people have recovered from the virus.

21st Oct, 5:38 PM

SAPM Dr Faisal urges people to observe precautions to avoid restrictions on social and economic activity

SAPM Dr Faisal Sultan addresses a press conference. — DawnNewsTV
SAPM Dr Faisal Sultan addresses a press conference. — DawnNewsTV

SAPM Dr Faisal Sultan has warned that failure to follow precautions may force the government to shut down or impose restrictions on business and industries once again in order to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In a press conference, Dr Faisal urged the people to "realise [their] responsibility in an individual capacity as well and collectively" and follow the standard operation procedures (SOPs), which include:

  • avoiding crowds

  • wearing masks

  • maintaining social distancing

"Take part in [observing SOPs] so that until now, the excellent stats that we have seen [due to] our efforts that are being lauded across the world, don't turn into a difficult and painful and situation where our healthcare system and hospitals are burdened," he said.

21st Oct, 4:16 PM

Thailand eases more rules to attract foreign tourists

Thailand has further eased coronavirus restrictions and plans to shorten a quarantine period to encourage foreign tourists, an official said, after the country welcomed its first vacationers since a ban in April aimed at halting the spread, Reuters reported.

Relaxed rules will make it easier for people on yachts and the foreign crew of ships to enter the country, but with strict adherence to health measures, coronavirus taskforce spokesman, Taweesin Wisanuyothin, told a briefing.

The government is considering shortening the mandatory quarantine period for new arrivals from the current two weeks, he said. Some health officials have suggested that could be reduced to 10 days.

21st Oct, 2:35 PM

NCOC warns of 'strict measures' in case of no improvement in compliance with SOPs

The National Command and operation Centre (NCOC) has warned that strict measures for controlling the spread of the coronavirus will be imposed once again if there is no improvement in compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs).

During a special session to monitor an increase in cases, the NCOC was informed that there is a clear resurgence of the virus while deaths are also increasing. All chief secretaries were asked to strictly implement SOPs, a statement issued said.

The forum also identified markets, marriage halls, restaurants and public gatherings as high risk.

"Strict punitive actions on SOP violations will be initiated," the statement said, adding that wearing of face masks and social distancing must be ensured.

21st Oct, 2:05 PM

Russia records 15,700 new coronavirus cases, hits daily record high of 317 deaths

Russia has recorded 15,700 new coronavirus infections, as well as a daily record high of 317 deaths from the highly contagious virus.

Since the start of the pandemic, the country of about 145 million people has recorded 1,447,335 infections and 24,952 deaths, Reuters reported.

21st Oct, 1:45 PM

Chinese city to offer Covid-19 vaccine candidate as emergency use expands

A city in China’s Zhejiang province will offer experimental coronavirus vaccines to its residents, as China broadens an emergency use programme to people in non-priority groups.

Residents aged between 18 and 59 in the city of Shaoxing, who are not in priority groups, can apply online for inoculation, the city’s health commission said on its WeChat account. It did not name the vaccine, say when inoculation would start or how many doses would be offered.

Shaoxing residents that choose to be inoculated will need to give reasons for wanting the vaccine on their applications and will be charged 400 yuan ($60) for two doses, with an additional inoculation fee of 28 yuan per dose, the city said.

21st Oct, 12:16 PM

Islamabad, GB and AJK collectively report 186 Covid-19 cases, 6 deaths

Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir have collectively reported 186 coronavirus cases and six deaths during the last 24 hours.

Here is a breakdown of the cases and deaths reported:

  • Islamabad: 122 cases, 4 deaths
  • GB: 7 cases
  • AJK: 57 cases, 2 deaths
21st Oct, 12:14 PM

Punjab reports 176 virus cases, 9 deaths

Punjab has reported 176 coronavirus cases and nine deaths during the last 24 hours.

The provincial total has risen to 101,936 while the death toll is 2,319.