Coronavirus updates: Latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from Pakistan and around the world

Coronavirus updates: Latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic from Pakistan and around the world

Nationwide confirmed COVID-19 cases jump past 285,000, death toll crosses 6,100; global death toll tops 741,000

  • Wednesday Aug 12 2020 | 11:44 PM

    Turkey to delay return to classrooms by nearly a month

    By: AFP

    Students will return to classrooms in Turkey in late September nearly a month after the start of the new academic year, the government has announced, as daily coronavirus cases remain above 1,000.

    Turkish officials are worried as the daily figures rose from around 900 to over 1,000 confirmed cases on August 4 and have not dropped below four digits since then.

    But the number is well below the peak of more than 5,000 daily cases in April.

    "Schools will re-open with distance learning on August 31," Education Minister Ziya Selcuk told reporters in Ankara.

    It is hoped that a gradual return to classrooms will be possible from September 21, he added.

    Selcuk said the decision is based on advice from the scientific committee advising the government, which met on Wednesday before the minister´s formal announcement.

    Schools and universities were shut down in March along with most public spaces as Turkish authorities rushed to prevent the virus outbreak crippling the country's health system.

    Officials then decided to keep them shut for the rest of the academic year.

    So far a total of 243,180 people have been infected with COVID-19 in Turkey, 5,873 of whom have died, according to government data published Tuesday.

  • Wednesday Aug 12 2020 | 11:34 PM

    London, UK — More than 5,000 wiped off UK virus toll following review

    By: AFP

    Britain has revised down its death toll from the coronavirus pandemic by more than 5,000 to 41,329 following a review into the way fatalities are recorded.

    In England, a person who died at any point following a positive test would previously have been counted in the toll, regardless of the cause of death.

    But only those dying within 28 days of a positive test will now be included in the figures, bringing England into line with the rest of the United Kingdom.

    The official number of people who have died from the virus in Britain has fallen from 46,706 to 41,329 under the new system, a 12% fall.

    "The way we count deaths in people with Covid-19 in England was originally chosen to avoid underestimating deaths caused by the virus in the early stages of the pandemic," said John Newton, director of health improvement at Public Health England.

    The new figure means that Britain now has fewer deaths than India, but is still one of the worst affected countries in the world, and the worst in Europe.

  • Wednesday Aug 12 2020 | 11:13 PM

    Madrid, Spain — Surge in Spain's virus cases prompts regional smoking ban, field hospital

    By: Reuters

    With coronavirus cases in Spain jumping by nearly 1,700, the construction of a military field hospital in the hard-hit Aragon region has been prompted and led authorities in Galicia to practically ban smoking in public places.

    Health ministry data showed 1,690 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed in the 24 hours to Wednesday, up from the 1,418 reported on Tuesday and bringing the cumulative total to 329,784. The new daily number excluded Madrid, which did not provide fresh data due to technical difficulties.

    In scenes reminiscent of the epidemic’s March-April peak, TV footage showed air force personnel setting up dark green tents to serve as a field hospital in Zaragoza, Aragon’s regional capital in northeastern Spain.

    Set to open on Friday, the facility attached to Zaragoza’s University Clinic hospital will be used as a triage centre and temporary ward, the air force said in a statement.

    With 571 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, Aragon has the highest prevalence of the virus in Spain. Navarre, with the second-highest rate, has just 159 cases per 100,000 people.

    Despite having some of the lowest levels of the virus, northwestern Galicia issued a blanket ban on smoking on the street and on restaurant terraces when social-distancing cannot be guaranteed.

    Under Spain’s decentralised government, each region is largely in charge of its own response to the virus, leading to a patchwork of different restrictions and preventative measures.

    Wealthy northeastern Catalonia is set to expand a mass-testing program in the coming days to include several neighbourhoods of its capital, Barcelona.

  • Wednesday Aug 12 2020 | 10:38 PM

    Sao Paulo, Brazil — Brazil clears four COVID-positive footballers to play

    By: AFP

    The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has cleared four footballers who tested positive for the new coronavirus to play a match tonight against reigning Brazil and South American champions Flamengo, saying they were no longer contagious.

    The four players from Atletico Goianiense were initially barred after testing positive Sunday, but the club successfully appealed the decision to the CBF´s medical committee.

    The committee reversed the players' medical suspension late Tuesday, saying their infections were more than 10 days old, that they had observed the necessary quarantine and that they were no longer contagious.

    The ruling came just in time for Goianiense's season debut against Flamengo, the current holders of the Copa Libertadores and Brazilian league titles.

    The head of the CBF medical committee, Jorge Pagura, said the decision was based on recommendations from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that have been endorsed by the World Health Organization.

    "After a positive PCR test result, 10 days is sufficient to release the patient" from quarantine, Pagura told news site Globoesporte.

    The CBF did not say when the four players were initially diagnosed.

    Pagura said they did not need to undergo another test.

  • Wednesday Aug 12 2020 | 10:16 PM

    Seoul, South Korea — Bus stop newest front in South Korea's coronavirus battle

    By: AFP

    South Korea has opened a high-tech new front in the battle against coronavirus, fortifying bus shelters with temperature-checking doors and ultraviolet disinfection lamps.

    Ten advanced facilities have been installed in a northeastern district of Seoul, offering protection from monsoon rains, summer heat, and the novel coronavirus.

    To enter, passengers must stand in front of an automated thermal-imaging camera, and the door will only slide open if their temperature is below 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 Fahrenheit).

    A separate camera is installed lower down to test children.

    A man (R) checks his temperature in front of a thermal imaging camera to enter a shelter booth designed to protect passengers from monsoon rains, summer heat and the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a bus stop in Seoul on August 12, 2020. — AFP

    Inside the glass-walled booths — which cost about 100 million won ($84,000) each — the air-conditioning systems have ultraviolet lamps installed to kill viruses at the same time as cooling the air.

    A dispenser provides hand sanitiser, and users are advised to wear face masks at all times, while keeping at least one metre apart from others.

    "We have installed all the available anti-coronavirus measures we can think of into this booth," Kim Hwang-yun, a district official in charge of the Smart Shelter project, told AFP.

    Free Wi-Fi is also included.

    A shelter booth designed to protect passengers from monsoon rains, summer heat, and the COVID-19 coronavirus is seen at a bus stop in Seoul on August 12, 2020. — AFP

  • Wednesday Aug 12 2020 | 09:50 PM

    Buenos Aires, Argentina — Argentina surpasses 5,000 coronavirus deaths

    By: AFP

    Argentina has surpassed 5,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus after registering a record 325 new fatalities over the last 24 hours, according to the health ministry.

    The South American country of 44 million has also recorded more than 260,000 infections.

    More than 90% of those have been in the greater Buenos Aires area, where intensive care units (ITC) are running at more than 68% occupancy.

    Other focal points are in Jujuy in the north and Tierra del Fuego in the far south.

    ITC beds throughout the country are running at 58% occupancy.

  • Wednesday Aug 12 2020 | 09:22 PM

    Peshawar, Pakistan — KP reports 88 more cases, no new deaths

    By: Web Desk

    The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department says 88 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 34,947 in the province.

    No new deaths were reported in this time, so the death toll remains at 1,235.

  • Wednesday Aug 12 2020 | 08:59 PM

    Islamabad, Pakistan — ECC approves additional funds of $3million for SAARC COVID-19 fund

    By: Web Desk

    The Economic Coordination Committee approved additional funds of $3 million to be contributed to the SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund, a statement from the Press Information Department read. 

  • Wednesday Aug 12 2020 | 08:43 PM

    Moscow, Russia — Medics to get anti-COVID shots in two weeks, rejects safety concerns: Russia

    By: Reuters

    Russia said on Wednesday the first batch of its Covid-19 vaccine would be ready for some medics within two weeks and rejected as “groundless” safety concerns aired by some experts over Moscow’s rapid approval of the drug.

    President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia had become the first country to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine, after less than two months of human testing.

    The vaccine has not yet completed its final trials. Only about 10% of clinical trials are successful and some scientists fear Moscow may be putting national prestige before safety.

    “It seems our foreign colleagues are sensing the specific competitive advantages of the Russian drug and are trying to express opinions that in our opinion are completely groundless,” Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Wednesday.

    He said the vaccine developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute would be administered to people, including doctors, on a voluntary basis, and would be ready soon.

    “The first packages of the medical vaccine against the coronavirus infection will be received within the next two weeks, primarily for doctors,” he said.

  • Wednesday Aug 12 2020 | 08:31 PM

    Mohammad Hafeez sent into isolation for violating social distancing protocols

    By: Web Desk

    The team management has sent batsman Mohammad Hafeez into self-isolation for violating the two-metre social distancing protocol, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement on Wednesday.

    The batsman had posted a photo on his Twitter with a woman earlier today, who he said was above 90 years of age.

    Read complete story here.