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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 93 million infected globally; more than 1.9 million dead, over 51.3 million recovered
  • 514,338 cases reported in Pakistan; 10,863 dead, 469,306 recovered
  • Click here for Dawn's coronavirus coverage
Latest
10:10 PM

Italy extends Covid-19 curbs amid third wave risks

9:30 PM

Canada says Pfizer vaccine delay unfortunate, death toll to spike

8:43 PM

Schools open, businesses closed as Portugal enters new lockdown

8:05 PM

WATCH: Instagram influencers are a vaccine priority in wary Indonesia

7:30 PM

Pfizer temporarily reduces Covid vaccine deliveries to Europe

6:44 PM

WATCH: UK economy pushed into reverse by November lockdown

5:55 PM

Azerbaijan to begin vaccinations next week, to use Chinese shot, says govt

5:54 PM

China's battle against fresh Covid outbreak clouds economic recovery

5:22 PM

UK Supreme Court hands businesses victory in Covid-19 insurance ruling

4:19 PM

Sindh reports 1,443 new coronavirus cases, 14 deaths

3:55 PM

Nepal approves AstraZeneca Covid vaccine for emergency use

3:15 PM

China builds new quarantine center as virus cases rise

2:45 PM

France toughens Covid-19 testing rules for non-EU travellers

2:15 PM

Israel’s vaccine drive excludes Palestinian prisoners

1:45 PM

In coronavirus vaccine drive, Deep South falls behind

1:15 PM

Spain rejects virus confinement as most of Europe stays home

12:45 PM

China Covid-19 cases surge to over 10-month high

12:15 PM

German virus cases top 2 million as Merkel urges tougher shutdown

11:26 AM

Karachi has highest positivity rate in country at 15.97pc: NCOC

10:44 AM

KP, Balochistan report 369 new cases, 11 deaths

10:40 AM

Islamabad, AJK collectively report 152 new cases, 1 death

10:36 AM

Punjab reports 661 new cases, 22 deaths

10:30 AM

Pakistan reports 2,072 new recoveries

10:00 AM

Peshawar medics being trained to manage Covid patients

9:15 AM

Japan's Hiroshima to conduct large-scale PCR tests to battle Covid-19

8:15 AM

Three dozen US mayors ask Biden for direct shipments of vaccine

7:15 AM

Airbnb CEO says travel never going back to the way it was before pandemic

Jan 14, 2021
11:00 PM

Sweden passes 10,000 virus deaths

10:35 PM

Education, health ministers to meet tomorrow to review Covid situation before reopening of schools

10:03 PM

Fourth US lawmaker tests positive for Covid-19 after US Capitol attack

9:33 PM

Turkey's Erdogan to receive Covid-19 vaccine live on TV

9:03 PM

WATCH: Pandemic aggravates drought-led food crisis in Madagascar

8:33 PM

German vaccine institute praises efficacy of Astra-Oxford vaccine

8:03 PM

German lockdown loopholes criticised as deaths hit new high

7:33 PM

Microsoft, Cigna form coalition for digital records of Covid-19 vaccination

6:30 PM

Covid-19 infection gives some immunity but virus can still be spread, study finds

6:05 PM

WATCH: Chinese robots take throat swabs to fight Covid outbreak

5:44 PM

No need to extend lockdown in Ukraine: deputy minister

4:55 PM

Pope Francis, ex-pope Benedict get virus vaccines: Vatican

4:55 PM

Sindh records 1,235 new coronavirus cases, 11 deaths

4:25 PM

Pakistan records more than 3,000 daily cases for first time in over 3 weeks

3:55 PM

SEE: Coronavirus fails to deter India's massive Ganges pilgrimage

3:10 PM

Japan PM pledges maximum support for Covid-treating hospitals

2:40 PM

Lebanon begins all-day curfew as virus spins out of control

2:10 PM

Turkey starts vaccinations with China’s Sinovac

12:53 PM

Explainer: What's behind varying efficacy data for Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine?

12:02 PM

Mexico's coronavirus death toll rises to 136,917

10:50 AM

Islamabad, AJK report 181 cases, 3 deaths; GB reports none

10:44 AM

KP, Balochistan report 380 cases, 4 deaths collectively

10:40 AM

Punjab reports 767 new Covid-19 cases, 25 deaths

Jan 15, 2021 10:10pm

Italy extends Covid-19 curbs amid third wave risks

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Friday issued a new decree extending curbs to keep lid on Covid-19 infections after the health ministry warned that the epidemic was getting worse, according to Reuters.

Recorded daily cases have settled at 15,000-20,000 compared with a peak of around 40,000 in mid-November, but pressure on hospitals remains high. Between 400 and 600 people die due to the virus each day and the government fears that number will grow.

“In the past week there has been a generalised worsening of the epidemic, we are back to an expansionary phase,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza told parliament on Wednesday.

The new decree extends until March 5 a nightly curfew between 10pm and 5am and confirms the zoning system designed in November to calibrate the curbs between Italy’s 20 regions according to infection levels.

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Jan 15, 2021 09:30pm

Canada says Pfizer vaccine delay unfortunate, death toll to spike

Canada said on Friday that Pfizer’s decision to temporarily cut shipments of some Covid-19 vaccines was unfortunate but should not hit its inoculation program, Reuters reports.

Pfizer said it would slow production in late January to early February due to changes in manufacturing processes to boost production.

“This is unfortunate. However, such delays and issues are to be expected when global supply chains are stretched well beyond their limits,” Procurement Minister Anita Anand said, confirming that Canada would be affected.

Anand said that despite the delay, Canada was still on track to offer vaccines to everyone by the end of September. The country is struggling to contain a second wave of Covid-19.

Jan 15, 2021 08:43pm

Schools open, businesses closed as Portugal enters new lockdown

Portugal began the first day of a new lockdown on Friday with businesses closed and most people confined to their homes, although parents were able to take their children to school, according to Reuters.

Schools will remain open this time around, but some parents were nervous about the decision, which Prime Minister Antonio Costa said was based on studies showing that schools were not a major point of contagion.

“There’s nothing we can do about it. I live far away and I have to work ... if the government says we have to do it, then we have to do it,” said Pedro Salgueiro as he dropped his child off at school in Lisbon.

Portugal reported a record 159 Covid-19 deaths on Friday and cases reached their second highest level since the start of the pandemic at 10,663.

The country has reported a total of 528,469 cases and 8,543 deaths since the start of the pandemic and the health ministry is monitoring more than 140,000 active cases — more than 1 per cent of its 10 million population.

Jan 15, 2021 07:30pm

Pfizer temporarily reduces Covid vaccine deliveries to Europe

Pfizer will temporarily reduce its deliveries to Europe of its vaccine against Covid-19 while it upgrades its production capacity, Reuters quoted the company and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) as saying.

The reduction in deliveries is due to Pfizer limiting output so it can upgrade production capacity to two billion vaccine doses per year from 1.3 billion currently, the FHI said.

“This temporary reduction will affect all European countries,” said the FHI. “It is as yet not precisely clear how long [a] time it will take before Pfizer is up to maximum production capacity again.”

Pfizer said it had to make modifications to the process and facility that will require additional regulatory approvals. “Although this will temporarily impact shipments in late January to early February, it will provide a significant increase in doses available for patients in late February and March,” Pfizer said in a statement.

Jan 15, 2021 05:55pm

Azerbaijan to begin vaccinations next week, to use Chinese shot, says govt

Azerbaijan will begin vaccinating its population against Covid-19 next week using a vaccine developed by China, Reuters reported, quoting government spokesman Ibrahim Mammadov.

He did not disclose which Chinese vaccine would be used but said it would be the same one as Turkey had acquired. Turkey is using shots developed by China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd

Jan 15, 2021 05:54pm

China's battle against fresh Covid outbreak clouds economic recovery

From cancelled hotel bookings ahead of the Lunar New Year to steel piled up at mills because of transport curbs in Hebei province, China’s battle against a new wave of Covid-19 infections clouds what has been a dramatic economic recovery.

New cases in China are at 10-month highs, prompting the lockdown of 28 million people in two provinces, disrupting logistics and industrial activity, with millions expected to scrap holiday travel plans in a blow to China’s efforts to get consumption back on track.

“The worsening coronavirus situation will impact economic activity, and markets may need to temper their expectations for strong pent-up consumption demand in the coming [Lunar New Year] LNY holidays,” Nomura analysts wrote in a note this week.

Jan 15, 2021 05:22pm

UK Supreme Court hands businesses victory in Covid-19 insurance ruling

Thousands of businesses should be covered by their insurance for losses caused by coronavirus lockdowns, the UK Supreme Court has ruled, in a test case that pitched the industry regulator against major insurance companies.

Small businesses, from restaurants to nightclubs and wedding planners to beauty parlours, have said they faced ruin after attempts to claim compensation for business losses during the pandemic were rejected by insurers. Six of the world’s largest commercial insurers — Hiscox, RSA, QBE, Argenta, Arch and MS Amlin — said many business interruption policies did not cover widespread disruption after Britain’s first national lockdown last March.

But senior judges said many payouts should be triggered after scrutinising non-damage insurance policy clauses — which cover disease, denial of access to business premises and hybrid clauses — in a victory for policyholders and the regulator.

Read more here

Jan 15, 2021 04:19pm

Sindh reports 1,443 new coronavirus cases, 14 deaths

Sindh has reported 1,443 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking the provincial tally to 233,396, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said in a statement.

The province also recorded 14 more deaths. Sindh's death toll from Covid-19 has reached 3,769.

A total of 13,340 tests were carried out in the province during the last 24 hours. Out of the 1,443 new cases, 1,140 are from Karachi.

Jan 15, 2021 03:55pm

Nepal approves AstraZeneca Covid vaccine for emergency use

Nepal has granted approval for AstraZeneca's COVISHIELD vaccine against the novel coronavirus in the country.

“Conditional permission has been granted for emergency use authorisation of COVISHIELD vaccine against Covid-19 in Nepal,” a statement by the country's Department of Drug Administration said.

Nepal has reported 266,816 cases and 1,948 deaths from Covid-19 so far, according to official data.

Jan 15, 2021 03:15pm

China builds new quarantine center as virus cases rise

A city in northern China is building a 3,000-unit quarantine facility to deal with an anticipated overflow of patients as Covid-19 cases rise ahead of the Lunar New Year travel rush, AP reported .

State media on Friday showed crews leveling earth, pouring concrete and assembling pre-fabricated rooms in farmland outside Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital of Hebei province that has seen the bulk of new cases.

That recalled scenes last year, when China rapidly built field hospitals and turned gymnasiums into isolation centres to cope with the initial outbreak linked to the central city of Wuhan.

Jan 15, 2021 02:45pm

France toughens Covid-19 testing rules for non-EU travellers

France has announced that people travelling from non-EU countries will no longer be able to get into the country by presenting a negative result from a quick, readily-available Covid-19 test, Reuters reported.

The new rules, which come into force from Jan. 18 and are set out in a French government document, say people will no longer be able to use antigen, or lateral flow, tests that can deliver results within minutes.

Those quicker tests have been heavily used by truck drivers transporting goods across the Channel between Britain and France.

It was not immediately clear what impact the new testing rules would have on cross-Channel goods transport, which has already been affected by Britain's departure from the European Union.

Jan 15, 2021 02:15pm

Israel’s vaccine drive excludes Palestinian prisoners

Israel’s Internal Security Minister Amir Ohanna has directed authorities not to inoculate Palestinian prisoners lodged in Israeli jails. He asked health officials to vaccinate only the jail staff.

Despite the fast rollout of Covid-19 vaccines, Israel’s decision not to vaccinate Palestinian prisoners or those inhabiting the occupied territories has alarmed families and civil rights groups.

Civil rights groups claim that such is the extent of “medical apartheid” unleashed by Israeli authorities that inmates in Remon jail had to fight with prison authorities a few days ago to force them to send Basel Ajaj, a COVID-19 infected Palestinian prisoner, to hospital for treatment.

Jan 15, 2021 01:45pm

In coronavirus vaccine drive, Deep South falls behind

The coronavirus vaccines have been rolled out unevenly across the US, but four states in the Deep South have had particularly dismal inoculation rates that have alarmed health experts and frustrated residents, AP reports.

In Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina, less than two per cent of the population received its first dose of a vaccine at the start of the week, according to data from the states and the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

As in other parts of the country, states in the south face a number of challenges: limited vaccine supplies, health care workers who refuse to get inoculated and bureaucratic systems that are not equipped to schedule the huge number of appointments being sought.

Jan 15, 2021 01:15pm

Spain rejects virus confinement as most of Europe stays home

While most of Europe kicked off 2021 with earlier curfews or stay-at-home orders, authorities in Spain insist the new coronavirus variant causing havoc elsewhere is not to blame for a sharp resurgence of cases and that the country can avoid a full lockdown even as its hospitals fill up, AP reports.

The government has been tirelessly fending off drastic home confinement like the one that paralysed the economy for nearly three months in the spring of 2020, the last time Spain could claim victory over the stubborn rising curve of cases.

Jan 15, 2021 12:45pm

China Covid-19 cases surge to over 10-month high

China reported the highest number of daily Covid-19 cases in more than 10 months, official data showed, due to a severe outbreak in the northeast that has put more than 28 million people under lockdown, Reuters reports.

A total of 144 new Covid-19 cases were reported on Jan 14, the National Health Commission said in a statement, up from 138 cases a day earlier and marking the highest daily increase since 202 cases reported on Mar 1.

The commission said 135 of the new cases were local infections, 90 of which were in Hebei province surrounding Beijing that has been hit hardest in the latest wave. Another 43 cases were reported in northeastern Heilongjiang province, with Guangxi and Shaanxi provinces each reporting one confirmed case.

A man wearing a face mask crosses a street following the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Shanghai, China Jan 14, 2021. — Reuters
A man wearing a face mask crosses a street following the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Shanghai, China Jan 14, 2021. — Reuters

Jan 15, 2021 12:15pm

German virus cases top 2 million as Merkel urges tougher shutdown

Germany's total coronavirus cases topped two million, as Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed for a “significant” tightening of restrictions to slow the infection rate.

The European Union's most populous country added another 22,368 new cases over the past 24 hours, Germany's Robert Koch Institute (RKI) health agency said, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 2,000,958.

It also reported another 1,113 Covid-19 fatalities, taking the overall death toll up to 44,994. The milestone comes hours after Merkel called for harsher curbs on public life to bring the outbreak under control.

At a meeting of senior members of her centre-right CDU party, the German Chancellor said she wanted to bring forward crisis talks with regional leaders to “the coming week”, participants told AFP.

They quoted her as saying the virus could only be stopped with “significant additional measures”.

Jan 15, 2021 01:50pm

Karachi has highest positivity rate in country at 15.97pc: NCOC

The National Command and Operation Centre has said that the national positivity rate is 5.9 per cent, adding that Karachi has the highest rate at 15.97pc.

In a statement, the NCOC said that Karachi was followed by Peshawar with 13.62pc and Mirpur with 11.49pc. The statement said that 2,294 Covid-19 patients are in critical condition across Pakistan and the number of such patients is rising fast.

The positivity rate in provinces and federating units is as follows:

  1. Azad Jammu and Kashmir: 7.36pc
  2. Balochistan: 4.75pc
  3. Islamabad: 2.43pc
  4. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 5.55pc
  5. Punjab: 4.49pc
  6. Sindh: 9.49pc
Jan 15, 2021 10:44am

KP, Balochistan report 369 new cases, 11 deaths

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have collectively reported 369 new cases and 11 deaths, government's data revealed.

KP has reported 342 cases and 10 deaths, while 27 cases and 1 death were recorded in Balochistan.

So far, KP has reported 62,719 cases of the novel coronavirus while its death toll is 1,762. Balochistan has reported 18,515 cases and 189 deaths.

Jan 15, 2021 10:40am

Islamabad, AJK collectively report 152 new cases, 1 death

Islamabad and Azad Jammu and Kashmir have collectively reported 152 new Covid-19 cases, according to government data. One death has also been reported in AJK.

Islamabad has reported 125 cases over the past 24 hours while 27 cases and one death have been recording in AJK.

Gilgit Baltistan has not reported a single case or death for three consecutive days.

Jan 15, 2021 10:36am

Punjab reports 661 new cases, 22 deaths

Punjab has reported 661 new cases and 22 deaths from the novel coronavirus, according to the official Covid-19 portal's figures.

Punjab now has 147,953 confirmed cases while the death toll is 4,370.

Jan 15, 2021 10:30am

Pakistan reports 2,072 new recoveries

About 2,072 people were reported to have recovered from the novel coronavirus over the past 24 hours, government data revealed.

The total number of recoveries in the country has now reached 469,306.

Jan 15, 2021 10:00am

Peshawar medics being trained to manage Covid patients

The World Health Organisation is imparting training to health workers of medical teaching institutions in Peshawar to reduce mortality due to Covid-19, official said.

The WHO, as part of its international drive to reduce mortalities due to Covid-19 in 22 high-risk countries including Pakistan, has started case management training in three Peshawar-based medical teaching institutions to reduce deaths of people due to the virus.

The training of doctors, nurses and paramedics, deployed in Covid-19 wards, high dependency units and intensive care units and triage, has been completed while training sessions are in progress in Khyber Teaching Hospital that will be followed by Hayatabad Medical Complex.

Read more here.

Jan 15, 2021 09:15am

Japan's Hiroshima to conduct large-scale PCR tests to battle Covid-19

Japan's Hiroshima prefecture said it will carry out large-scale polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing to curb the spread of coronavirus, a rarity in a nation that lags far behind many other countries in the number of tests conducted.

The western Japan prefecture aims to conduct PCR tests for 800,000 people in the city of Hiroshima, which has a population of 1.2 million, Reuters reported.

The 800,000 comprises residents in the city's four wards hardest hit by the virus and workers who commute into the area. Hiroshima prefecture is not covered by the state of emergency currently in place for Tokyo and 10 other prefectures, but Hiroshima city has been struggling to contain a steep climb in cases in recent weeks.

“I believe tests of this size have rarely been seen (in Japan),” a Hiroshima prefecture official told Reuters.

Jan 15, 2021 08:15am

Three dozen US mayors ask Biden for direct shipments of vaccine

Mayors of some three dozen US cities have asked the incoming Biden administration to send Covid-19 vaccine shipments directly to them, bypassing state governments, saying local officials were best positioned to ramp up lagging inoculations.

“While it is essential to work with state and local public health agencies, healthcare providers, pharmacies, and clinics, there is a need to be nimble and fill gaps that are unique to each local area,” said the letter from 37 mayors, including those of New York City, Los Angeles and Seattle.

A Biden transition official declined to comment on the letter, but said Biden would speak about his vaccination plans on Friday, Reuters reported.

14th Jan, 11:00 PM

Sweden passes 10,000 virus deaths

Sweden said it has passed 10,000 deaths associated with Covid-19, as it reported a record number of 351 deaths in a day.

According to AFP, the latest tally of deaths reported by the country's Public Health agency brings the total to 10,185 deaths related to Covid-19 in the country of some 10.3 million inhabitants.

The daily deaths reported have not necessarily occurred in the last 24 hours and are often several days old.

The agency said it had registered another 6,580 cases of Covid-19 bringing the total to 518,783 since the start of the pandemic.

14th Jan, 10:03 PM

Fourth US lawmaker tests positive for Covid-19 after US Capitol attack

US Representative Andriano Espaillat says he has tested positive for Covid-19, becoming the fourth member of Congress to announce they have contracted the novel coronavirus following a mob attack on the US Capitol last week.

“I am following guidance from my physician and quarantining at home after having tested positive for Covid-19,” he wrote on Twitter.

14th Jan, 9:33 PM

Turkey's Erdogan to receive Covid-19 vaccine live on TV

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will be vaccinated for Covid-19 live on television later today, a spokesman for his ruling AK Party said, aiming to alleviate any public doubts over the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. — Reuters/File
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. — Reuters/File

Turkey began administering the shots developed by China’s Sinovac to health workers, as it rolls out a nationwide vaccination programme against the disease that has killed more than 23,000 people in the country. It has so far vaccinated more than 200,000 health workers.

14th Jan, 8:33 PM

German vaccine institute praises efficacy of Astra-Oxford vaccine

The head of Germany’s vaccine regulator described the success rate of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine as excellent, after some Australian scientists voiced scepticism about its efficacy, Reuters reports.

Speaking during an online press briefing, the president of Germany’s Paul Ehrlich Institute, Klaus Cichutek, said there had been some debate over the best usage pattern for the vaccine.

“Still, the efficacy remains outstanding and excellent,” he said, citing data.

14th Jan, 8:03 PM

German lockdown loopholes criticised as deaths hit new high

Germany has too many loopholes in its coronavirus lockdown rules, the head of the country’s disease control agency said, as figures published showed the highest number of daily deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The Robert Koch Institute said 1,244 deaths from Covid-19 were confirmed in one day. There were also 25,164 newly confirmed cases, putting Germany’s total known infections close to two million. Lothar Wieler, president of the institute, said data indicated people in Germany are travelling more than during the first phase of the pandemic in spring, contributing to the virus’s spread.

German authorities have imposed restrictions on social contacts, largely closed schools and limited travel for those in areas with high infection rates, but the rules aren’t uniformly enforced across the country’s 16 states.

14th Jan, 7:33 PM

Microsoft, Cigna form coalition for digital records of Covid-19 vaccination

Tech giants including Microsoft Corp, Oracle Corp and healthcare companies Cigna Corp and Mayo Clinic are part of a coalition pushing for digital records of people who get vaccinated against Covid-19, Reuters reports.

The project, called Vaccination Credential Initiative, aims to help people get encrypted digital copies of their immunisation records stored in a digital wallet of their choice, the companies said in a statement. Individuals without smartphones would receive paper printed with QR codes containing the credentials, they said.

In the United States, where vaccines from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc have been authorised for emergency use, vaccinated individuals receive a vaccination card or printout. The current system does not readily support convenient access, control and sharing of verifiable vaccination records, the companies said.

14th Jan, 6:30 PM

Covid-19 infection gives some immunity but virus can still be spread, study finds

People who have had Covid-19 are highly likely to have immunity to it for at least five months, but there is evidence that those with antibodies may still be able to carry and spread the virus, a study of British healthcare workers has found, Reuters reports.

Preliminary findings by scientists at Public Health England showed that reinfections in people who have Covid-19 antibodies from a past infection are rare — with only 44 cases found among 6,614 previously infected people in the study.

But experts cautioned that the findings mean people who contracted the disease in the first wave of the pandemic in the early months of 2020 may now be vulnerable to catching it again. They also warned that people with so-called natural immunity — acquired through having had the infection — may still be able carry the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in their nose and throat and could unwittingly pass it on.

Read more here.

14th Jan, 5:44 PM

No need to extend lockdown in Ukraine: deputy minister

Ukraine's health ministry expects the country's strict lockdown will end as scheduled on Jan 25, Interfax Ukraine news agency quoted the deputy minister as saying.

Ukraine closed schools, restaurants and gyms last week.

Viktor Lyashko said the ministry expected to exit the lockdown on Jan 25 and not have to introduce any further strict measures in the future.

The number of new Covid cases dropped in early January to less than 10,000 a day from record levels in mid-December.

14th Jan, 4:55 PM

Pope Francis, ex-pope Benedict get virus vaccines: Vatican

Both Pope Francis and his predecessor, former pope Benedict XVI, have received the coronavirus vaccine, AFP reported, quoting the Vatican.

“I can confirm that as part of the Vatican City State vaccination programme to date, the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine has been administered to Pope Francis and the Pope Emeritus,” spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

14th Jan, 4:55 PM

Sindh records 1,235 new coronavirus cases, 11 deaths

Sindh has reported 1,235 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking the provincial tally to 231,953, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said in a statement.

The province also recorded 11 more deaths. Sindh's death toll from Covid-19 has reached 3,755.

A total of 13,008 tests were carried out in the province during the last 24 hours. Out of the 1,235 new cases, 979 are from Karachi.

14th Jan, 4:25 PM

Pakistan records more than 3,000 daily cases for first time in over 3 weeks

Pakistan has recorded 3,097 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, marking the first time in more than three weeks that the country reported more than 3,000 daily infections.

It had last reported more than 3,000 infections on Dec 18 when 3,179 cases were confirmed across the country.

Meanwhile, the national positivity rate has risen to 7.4 per cent from 5.3pc a day earlier.

The countrywide breakdown of cases in the last 24 hours is as follows:

  • Punjab: 767
  • Sindh: 1,769
  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 359
  • Balochistan: 21
  • Islamabad: 162
  • Azad Jammu and Kashmir: 19

Gilgit Baltistan did not report any new cases.

14th Jan, 3:10 PM

Japan PM pledges maximum support for Covid-treating hospitals

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said the government intended to offer maximum support to hospitals that take in Covid-19 patients as the country faces a steep climb in cases, Reuters reports.

“We will offer the maximum support to medical institutions treating coronavirus patients, so that they can install equipment for treatment, secure medical staff and offer solid medical services,” Suga told heads of national medical groups.

14th Jan, 2:40 PM

Lebanon begins all-day curfew as virus spins out of control

Lebanese authorities are enforcing an 11-day nationwide shutdown and round the clock curfew, hoping to limit the spread of coronavirus infections spinning out of control after the holiday period, AP reports.

For the first time, residents were required to request a one-hour permit to be allowed to leave the house for “emergencies”, including going to the bakery, pharmacist, doctor, hospital or airport.

Authorities came under pressure to take a tougher approach after the country’s hospitals ran out of beds with daily infections reaching an all-time high of 5,440 cases last week in the country of nearly six million people.

14th Jan, 2:10 PM

Turkey starts vaccinations with China’s Sinovac

Turkey has become the latest country to roll out its Covid-19 vaccination program, starting with health care workers in hospitals across the country.

The start of the nationwide inoculation program came a day after Turkish authorities gave the go-ahead for the emergency use of the vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Turkey’s health minister and members of the country’s scientific advisory council received the first shots live on television shortly after the regulator’s approval.

According to AP, people over the age of 65 will be the next in line to be administered the vaccine in two doses.

14th Jan, 12:53 PM

Explainer: What's behind varying efficacy data for Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine?

New efficacy data from Brazil on Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine, for which there are now four widely different success rates, raised more questions than answers, as many developing countries pin their hopes on the CoronaVac to end the pandemic.

Trial size, patient criteria, duration of post-vaccination observation, target groups, prevalence of the virus in each site are among the factors that could impact efficacy, experts said.

More rampant infections in Brazil than in other trial sites and its study design to focus on medical workers could have led to more mild infections in trials, thus lowering efficacy data, a person familiar with the matter said.

The new lower efficacy finding included people with very mild symptoms who did not need clinical assistance, while the earlier reading was based on patients with symptoms that needed some assistance, Brazilian researchers said.

Read full Reuters story here.

14th Jan, 10:50 AM

Islamabad, AJK report 181 cases, 3 deaths; GB reports none

Islamabad and Azad Jammu and Kashmir have collectively reported 181 new cases and three deaths over the past 24 hours.

Following is the breakdown of cases and deaths in the federal territories:

  • Islamabad: 162 cases; 2 deaths

  • AJK: 19 cases; 1 death

No cases were reported in GB for the second consecutive day. The region has not reported a single death caused by the virus for the past 20 days.

14th Jan, 10:44 AM

KP, Balochistan report 380 cases, 4 deaths collectively

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have collectively reported 380 new cases and four deaths, according to figures on the official Covid-19 portal.

KP recorded 359 new cases and four deaths, while Balochistan reported 21 new cases.

14th Jan, 10:40 AM

Punjab reports 767 new Covid-19 cases, 25 deaths

Punjab has recorded 767 fresh coronavirus cases and 25 deaths, government data said.

The total number of cases in the province is now 147,292 out of which 11,119 are active. About 4,348 people have died from the disease.