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New records as Omicron cases 'go unbridled' worldwide: WHO

Health body reports record numbers of cases of Covid-19 globally for a single week amid the omicron surge

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New records as Omicron cases 'go unbridled' worldwide: WHO
GNN Media: Representational Photo

A record 15 million new Covid-19 infections were reported across the globe in a single week as omicron rapidly replaces delta as the dominant variant across the globe, and “we know this is an underestimate,” World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a press briefing Wednesday.

“The sheer volume of cases is putting a burden on health-care systems,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19. “Even though omicron is less severe than delta, it is still putting people in the hospital. It is still putting people into ICU and needing advanced clinical care. It is still killing people.”

The U.S. saw the biggest jump in cases with 4.6 million new infections reported for the week through Sunday, a 73% increase over the prior week, compared to a 55% global increase in cases over the same period, according to a the WHO’s weekly epidemiology report published Tuesday.

Tedros noted that hospitalizations are not quite as high as seen in previous surges, possibly due to decreased severity of omicron compared to delta and widespread immunity from vaccines and prior infection. But, he added, the death rate is still unsustainably high, with an average of about 48,000 deaths per week, which hasn’t fluctuated much since October, Tedros said.

“We’re seeing omicron out-compete delta in many populations,” Van Kerkhove said. While delta cases similarly peaked in a few months, it didn’t take over the globe as quickly nor were the cases as high as omicron. “This is off the charts,” she said.

Among more than 357,000 cases sequenced in the last 30 days, nearly 59% were omicron, the WHO said in the epidemiological report. The WHO, the United Nations’ health organization, cautioned that the data may not fully show how far omicron has spread due to reporting delays and limits sequencing in some countries.

According to the report, omicron has a shorter doubling time than other variants, meaning the number of days it takes for cases to double, and it can more readily evade prior immunity, allowing it an advantage over other variants.

While omicron has appeared to rip through populations where it was detected early and then drop down to lower levels, Van Kerkhove said delta had a similar trajectory at its height, but never peaked at such levels as omicron.

But, she emphasized, the direction of omicron can still be influenced by the world’s actions, including vaccination and taking steps to minimize spread.

“There is no inevitability about this virus and how it circulates,” she said. “We have control, some measure of control, in terms of limiting its spread with tools that we have access to: masks, distancing, ventilation, avoiding crowds.”

Van Kerkhove said the WHO expects the virus will continue to evolve to become more fit and either more or less severe, that there will continue to be outbreaks of disease among the unvaccinated and that as different populations mix, outbreaks of other viruses will sometimes occur at the same time as those of Covid.

SOURCE: CNBC

Faisal Ali Ghumman

Mr. Ghumman is a seasoned journalist who has 19 years of diversified experience in print, electronic and digital media. He has worked with 92 News HD, Daily Pakistan Today, Daily The Business, Daily Dawn, Daily Times and Pakistan Observer as News Reporter, Feature Writer, Editor, Web Content Editor and Article Writer. Mr Ghumman has graduated from the Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan and is currently enrolled in M.Phil in Mass Communication at the University of Punjab.

Pakistan

Federal govt files contempt of court plea against Imran Khan in SC

It has pleaded in the petition that despite the court's orders, Imran Khan directed his party workers to reach D-Chowk in Islamabad.

Published by Mehak Javed

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Federal govt files contempt of court plea against Imran Khan in SC

Islamabad: The Federal government has filed a petition in the Supreme Court for registering contempt of court case against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman, Imran Khan.

According to details, the SC accepted the plea for a hearing and formed a larger bench to look into the matter.

It has pleaded in the petition that despite the court's orders, Imran Khan directed his party workers to reach D-Chowk in Islamabad.

The five-member larger bench will hear the petition at 11:30 am today.

 

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Pakistan

SC dismisses govt’s contempt of court plea against Imran Khan

The government filed the plea against PTI this morning

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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SC dismisses govt’s contempt of court plea against Imran Khan

Islamabad: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has refused to take contempt of court action against PTI Chairman Imran Khan for violating the apex court’s orders during ‘Azadi March’.

The government filed the plea this morning after the PTI openly defied the apex court’s directives, announcing to hold a rally at D-Chowk in Islamabad’s prohibited Red Zone.

The SC formed a five-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, to hear the contempt of court plea At the outset of the hearing, Attorney-General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf read out the SC verdict before the court.

The court dismissed a petition filed by the federal government, saying that activists were not responsible as they act on the directives of party leadership. It also ordered the release of 20 activists who were booked for rioting and violence.

However, following the reports of violence and mayhem during the protest brought before the Court, the Court has now decided to issue a comprehensive order after pondering over the matter keeping in view the nature of assembly and association so that it can serve as a guideline to the practice of constitutional rights in future.

The Court observed that fundamental rights of assembly, association, and movement are not unlimited, but there are certain limits to them.     

At the outset of the hearing today, Attorney-General of Pakistan, Ashtar Ausaf Ali presented his submissions before the Court pointing out the violations of the Court's order by PTI.

He also mentioned before the court the breach of allowed venue and entering the D-Chowk by PTI workers, burning public property and trees, injuring the security forces personnel, and creating turmoil in the federal capital.

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Pakistan

Govt hikes per litre price of petrol and diesel by Rs30

New prices will go into effect at midnight

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Govt hikes per litre price of petrol and diesel by Rs30

Islamabad: The federal government Thursday announced hike in per litre price of petrol and diesel by Rs30 each.

The announcement came after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) emphasised abolishing the subsidies on the commodities.

Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail announed raise during a press conference.

In a tweet, the minister said: "Government has decided to increase the prices of Petrol, High Speed Diesel, Kerosene Oil and Light Diesel Oil by Rs 30 per litre from Friday May 27, 2022. New prices will go into effect at midnight. The new price of petrol will be Rs 179.86 & diesel will be Rs 174.15 per litre."

Petrol will now be available at Rs179.86, diesel Rs174.15, Kerosene oil Rs155.56 and Light diesel Rs148.31.

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