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PM Shehbaz Sharif appeals nation to follow SOPs amid COVID-19 surge

Pakistan has reported one death and 541 new COVID-19 cases during the last 24 hours, the highest since March 11 when it recorded 571 positive cases.

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PM Shehbaz Sharif appeals nation to follow SOPs amid COVID-19 surge
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Islamabad: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday appealed the nation to follow the anti-COVID SOPs as a surge was being recorded in the coronavirus cases in the country.

The prime minister, who chaired a meeting to discuss the COVID situation, said that the frontline health workers and doctors had rendered numerous sacrifices to keep the countrymen safe from the disease,, and also paid tribute to them.

Therefore, he urged the people not to squander the success achieved against the coronavirus.

The prime minister directed the chief secretaries of the provinces to ensure implementation of the SOPs at crowded places, besides enforcing full vaccination, booster doses, and use of masks and sanitizers.

He also called for use of masks and sanitizers at the cattle markets set up ahead of Eidul Azha, weddings and other private gatherings.

The prime minister said the adherence to the SOPs was inevitable for the safety of one’s own as well as the dear ones.

He said the performance of all institutions particularly the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) had been laudable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting was briefed in detail about the COVID-19 situation at local as well as the global level.

It was told that overall a downward trend was observed in the number of cases across the world.

The participants were told that the new variant of the Omicron led to a recent surge in coronavirus cases in the country. On June 28, over 3% cases were reported in the country on June 28, though the ratio of hospitalization in this variant was lesser than that of the previous waves.

The health authorities told the meeting that 86% of the above 12 years population had been fully vaccinated while 93 percent got at least a single shot. Currently, the country’s capacity was to vaccinate around 200,000 people per day.

It was told that the whole Sindh population had been fully vaccinated while the vaccination process was underway in Punjab and other provinces.

Moreover, the steps were being taken to strictly monitor the movement of people on the border, and Pass Track APP was also being improved to make it easier to use.

The prime minister also directed the authorities concerned not only to ensure the enforcement of the SOPs but also to carry out a mass awareness drive on the subject.

Federal Minister Abdul Qadir Patel, Rana Sanaullah, Sherry Rehman, National Disaster Management Authority chairman, federal secretaries of information and national health services, and other senior officers attended the meeting.

The chief secretaries of the four provinces joined the meeting via video link.

It is pertinent to remember that Pakistan has reported one death and 541 new COVID-19 cases during the last 24 hours, the highest since March 11 when it recorded 571 positive cases. 

According to the figures released by the National Institute of Health (NIH) on Wednesday, an uptick in new COVID-19 cases in Pakistan consistently continues as the country reported over 500 new daily cases for the first time in three months. 

Following the situation, the health ministry said that wearing masks has been made mandatory on all domestic flights, railways and public transport.  

The overall tally of the infected people climbed to 1,535,144 across Pakistan after adding the fresh cases.  

March 23 was the first day without any recorded deaths in Pakistan since the pandemic took hold in 2020. Official death figures are typically lower at weekends and holidays because of a lag in reporting.  

The health authorities have advised the people to restart following COVID-related Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) such as wearing face masks, sanitizing hands, and maintaining social distance.

Pakistan

Preparations in full swing to celebrate diamond jubilee of Pakistan's independence 

Buildings are being decorated with national flags, buntings and lights.

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Preparations in full swing to celebrate diamond jubilee of Pakistan's independence 

Islamabad: Preparations are in full-swing across the country, including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir to celebrate Diamond Jubilee of Pakistan's Independence on 14 August.

Buildings are being decorated with national flags, buntings and lights. People have started displaying national flags on their vehicles and rooftop of their houses.  

Besides, stalls of National Flag, buntings, caps and children clothes doused in green and white colours have been setup along busy roadsides and at shops in every nook and corner of the country.  

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World

South Korea flooding death toll rises to 11

President Yoon Suk-yeol says it was the heaviest rainfall since Seoul weather records began 115 years ago

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South Korea flooding death toll rises to 11

Seoul: The death toll from South Korea’s record-breaking rains and flooding has risen to 11, officials said Thursday, with eight more people still missing as Seoul struggles to clean up after the deluge.

Two days of torrential rain flooded streets and subway stations in the capital, with President Yoon Suk-yeol saying it was the heaviest rainfall since Seoul weather records began 115 years ago.

Images shared on social media earlier this week showed people wading through waist-deep water and overflowing metro stations, with the posh Gangnam district particularly hard hit.

Of the 11 dead, six were in Seoul, three in Gyeonggi province and two in Gangwon province, according to data from the interior ministry. Three of the eight missing were from the capital.

More than 5,300 people were forced to evacuate their homes, the ministry added.

Among the 11 victims, three died while trapped in their flooded semi-basement apartment, known as a banjiha, according to the ministry. Local reports say the victims were a teenager, her mother and her aunt.

One victim is believed to have been electrocuted while removing a tree that had fallen onto a sidewalk while another died when a landslide buried his home in mountainous Gangwon.

At an official meeting on relief efforts, South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said the government had already completed the bulk of emergency repair work.

SOURCE: AFP

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World

Nine Russian warplanes destroyed in Crimea blasts: Ukraine

Russia however denies any aircraft were damaged in Tuesday’s blasts or that any attack took place

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Nine Russian warplanes destroyed in Crimea blasts: Ukraine

Ukraine’s air force said Wednesday that nine Russian warplanes were destroyed in a deadly string of explosions at an air base in Crimea, amid speculation the blasts were the result of a Ukrainian attack that would represent a significant escalation in the war.

Russia denied any aircraft were damaged in Tuesday’s blasts — or that any attack took place.

Ukrainian officials stopped short of publicly claiming responsibility for the explosions, while mocking Russia’s explanation that a careless smoker might have caused ammunition at the Saki air base to catch fire and blow up. Analysts also said that explanation doesn’t make sense and that the Ukrainians could have used anti-ship missiles to strike the base.

If Ukrainian forces were, in fact, responsible for the blasts, it would be the first known major attack on a Russian military site on the Crimean Peninsula, which was seized from Ukraine by the Kremlin in 2014. Russian warplanes have used Saki to strike areas in Ukraine’s south.

Crimea holds huge strategic and symbolic significance for both sides. The Kremlin’s demand that Ukraine recognize Crimea as part of Russia has been one of its key conditions for ending the fighting, while Ukraine has vowed to drive the Russians from the peninsula and all other occupied territories.

Hours after the blasts, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised again to do just that.

“This Russian war against Ukraine and against all of free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea — its liberation,” he said in his nightly address.

The explosions, which killed one person and wounded 14, sent tourists fleeing in panic as plumes of smoke rose over the coastline nearby. Video showed shattered windows and holes in the brickwork of some buildings.

One tourist, Natalia Lipovaya, said that “the earth was gone from under my feet” after the powerful blasts. “I was so scared,” she said.

Sergey Milochinsky, a local resident, recalled hearing a roar and seeing a mushroom cloud from his window. “Everything began to fall around, collapse,” he said.

Crimea’s regional leader, Sergei Aksyonov, said some 250 residents were moved to temporary housing after dozens of apartment buildings were damaged.

But Russian authorities sought to downplay the explosions on Wednesday, saying all hotels and beaches were unaffected on the peninsula, which is a popular tourist destination for many Russians.

A Ukrainian presidential adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych, cryptically said that the blasts were either caused by Ukrainian-made long-range weapons or the work of Ukrainian guerrillas operating in Crimea. 
 
A Ukrainian parliament member, Oleksandr Zavitnevich, said the airfield was rendered unusable. He reported on Facebook that it housed fighter jets, tactical reconnaissance aircraft and military transport planes.

“Official Kyiv has kept mum about it, but unofficially the military acknowledges that it was a Ukrainian strike,” Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said.

The base is at least 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) from the closest Ukrainian position. Zhdanov suggested that Ukrainian forces could have struck it with Ukrainian or Western-supplied anti-ship missiles that have the necessary range.

The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said it couldn’t independently determine what caused the explosions but noted that simultaneous blasts in two places at the base probably rule out an accidental fire but not sabotage or a missile attack.

But it added: “The Kremlin has little incentive to accuse Ukraine of conducting strikes that caused the damage since such strikes would demonstrate the ineffectiveness of Russian air defense systems.”

During the war, the Kremlin has reported numerous fires and explosions on Russian territory near the Ukrainian border, blaming some of them on Ukrainian strikes. Ukrainian authorities have mostly kept silent about the incidents, preferring to keep the world guessing. 
 
In other developments, Russian forces shelled areas across Ukraine on Tuesday night into Wednesday, including the central region of Dnipropetrovsk, where 13 people were killed, according to the region’s governor, Valentyn Reznichenko.

Reznichenko said the Russians fired at the city of Marganets and a nearby village. Dozens of residential buildings, two schools and several administrative buildings were damaged.

“It was a terrible night,” Reznichenko said. “It’s very hard to take bodies from under debris. We are facing a cruel enemy who engages in daily terror against our cities and villages.”

Two residents of the village of Staryi Saltiv in the Kharkiv region in the northeast were killed Wednesday in Russian shelling, police reported.

In the country’s southeast, Moscow’s forces continued shelling the city of Nikopol across the Dnieper River from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia power station, the biggest nuclear plant in Europe. Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of shelling it, stoking international fears of a catastrophe.

On Wednesday, foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized democracies demanded that Russia immediately hand back full control of the plant to Ukraine. They said they are “profoundly concerned” about the risk of a nuclear accident with far-reaching consequences.

SOURCE: AP NEWS

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