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India sees massive spike of over 90,000 Covid cases in 24 hours, active cases near 3L

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India registered a single-day rise of 90,928 cases, a significant rise from the previous day’s 58,097 Covid cases in a span of 24 hours. A total of 325 deaths have also been reported in the same time, said the Union ministry of health and family welfare on Thursday.

With the addition of new deaths, the death toll has reached 4,82,876.

Meanwhile, the active caseload has jumped to 2,85,401 which constitutes 0.81 per cent of the country’s total positive cases.

Meanwhile, the Omicron infection tally has climbed at 2,630 across the nation. However, out of total Omicron positive cases, 995 have been discharged from hospitals. So far 26 states have reported Omicron cases, said the Union health ministry on Thursday.

The recovery of 19,206 patients in the last 24 hours has increased the cumulative tally to 3,43,41,009. Consequently, India’s recovery rate stands at 97.81 per cent.

Also in the same period, a total of 14,13,030 tests were conducted across the country. India has so far conducted over 68.53 crore cumulative tests.

Meanwhile, the weekly positivity rate has climbed to 3.47 per cent amid a sudden spike in cases. The daily positivity rate stands at 6.43 per cent.

With the administration of over 91 lakhs vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s Covid inoculation coverage has reached 148.76 crore as of Thursday morning.

More than 18.43 crore balance and unutilised Covid vaccine doses are still available with the states and union territories to be administered, according to the health ministry as of Thursday morning.

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High import duties trigger medicine shortage in Pakistan

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 Pakistan is battling an economic crisis as it struggles to manage depleting foreign reserves, handle the economic meltdown, price hikes and now the re-emergence of coronavirus.

However, the presence of Covid in the country, is thinking that it may just be a perfect time to bring back import duties on various items, used for treatment and protection from the virus, which at the moment is declared as tax free by the government.

Pakistan is currently faced with a nationwide shortage of medicines, including various antipyretics, antihistamines, antibiotics and respiratory agents.

Moreover, equipment including nebulizers, face masks and gloves, used by Covid patients, nurses and doctors are also faced with a massive shortage, leaving the country in a spot of bother as sixth wave of coronavirus continues to spread across the country.

“The shortage of drug like Panadol is likely to disappear from the local markets as the sixth wave matures. A packet of Panadol consisting of 100 tablets is being sold in Karachi’s black market for 425 PKR at the moment. Similarly, Panadol CF, an anti-allergy medicine, is also becoming hard to find,” said Muhammad Atif, President of Wholesale Chemists Association.

“Other than that, common cough syrups, drugs used in tuberculosis treatment, as well as vitamin C supplements that are prescribed to patients recovering from Covid-19, are also disappearing from the market owing to the heavy taxes imposed on them,” he added.

The same shortage is being witnessed in other major cities of the country.

Arshad Momand, President of Peshawar Drug Association said “the difference in supply and demand of coronavirus related medicines has triggered a stock-piling situation, where many pharmacies in Peshawar have allegedly started stocking up on drugs and raising market prices”.

“Currently, there is no check and balance in this regard and profiteers are trying to make the most of this brimming crisis. There is widespread shortage of Panadol and face-masks in Peshawar’s open market, much of which is the doing of local hoarders right under the nose of the region’s drug inspectors.”

Similar reports are also coming in from Lahore and Quetta, implying that the whole country is faced with a severe crisis of medicines, which will become a major challenge as the percentage of the spread of coronavirus infection among the locals is increasing with each passing day.

Local manufacturers argue that the lack of supply of raw materials has affected the production, which is why availability of drugs as per demand is not being met.

“There are some 40 drugs that are short in not just Lahore, but various cities across Punjab due to the surge in federal taxes. In addition to that, the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar and local inflation has also discouraged pharmaceutical companies from importing raw materials that are also subject to higher import levies now. The cumulative burden of this has fallen on the people of Punjab, who are struggling to find life-saving drugs amid a sixth spell of the coronavirus,” said a local pharmacist.

The crisis is a result of major duties of about 80 per cent on essentials items like marks, gloves and nebulizing machines.

“The current government has imposed a jaw-dropping 80 per cent duty on masks, 60 per cent on gloves and 30 per cent on nebulizing machines. Duty on masks and other items related to Covid-19 should be abolished immediately, while the SRO should be re-issued to make these essential items duty free,” said Muhammad Hanif Soomro, an Executive Member of the Healthcare Association of Pakistan.

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S.Korea issues nationwide heatwave alert

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South Korea on Saturday issued the third-highest alert against a scorching heatwave on Saturday, 18 days earlier compared to last year.

The Ministry of the Interior and Safety issues the alert when the daily temperature ceiling in over 40 per cent of the country reaches 33 degrees Celsius or higher for at least three straight days, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Under the heat alert, the Ministry is looking at measures to support workers who are vulnerable to inclement weather, including construction workers, elderly farmers and senior single-person households.

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Bangladesh to vaccinate kids aged 5-12 amid fresh surge in COVID-19 cases

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Bangladesh has decided to start administering COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 5-12 amid a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases.

Bangladeshi Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque made the announcement on Wednesday, saying the initiative will start next month.

“We’ll start the vaccination program in the last week of July,” he said at a news conference.

“We’ll soon procure vaccines and syringes suitable for children,” Xinhua news agency quoted Maleque as saying.

In order to receive vaccination, children aged 5-12 will have to register using their birth certificate on the government’s (Surokkha) app.

Bangladesh’s Cabinet Division on Tuesday issued a circular with the six-point directives to contain the fresh outbreak of the pandemic.

In line with the directives, people must wear masks at all gatherings, shopping malls and restaurants under the “No mask, no service” policy.

Those who bear any symptoms are encouraged to get themselves tested for COVID-19.

The directives are aimed at limiting the fresh spread of the new wave of COVID-19 as Bangladesh is again seeing a surge in fresh cases after a respite of several months.

Bangladesh reported three fresh deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest number of daily deaths confirmed in about three months.

Meanwhile, the country reported over 2,000 COVID-19 cases for the third consecutive day with the daily test positivity rate jumping to 15.47 percent in the 24 hours till 8:00 a.m. local time Tuesday.

To date, Bangladesh has recorded 1,969,361 COVID-19 cases including 2,087 new cases on Tuesday, as the death toll rose to 29,145, the Directorate General of Health Services said.

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