ISLAMABAD — Pakistan on Saturday reported its highest COVID-19 death toll in a single day.
Authorities reported 157 deaths, bringing the overall fatalities to 16,999. A total of 5,908 additional cases pushed the toll to 790,016, as authorities complain of routine violations of social distancing and mask-wearing rules.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday announced that military troops will be called to help police enforce the restrictions in public places.
Authorities also decided to keep educational institutions closed until the situation improved.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said in a talk show Saturday that despite the increasing cases and deaths, Pakistan’s situation was better than in neighboring India He said a planeload of 500,000 doses of China's Sinovac vaccines arrived on Friday.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— US to resume J&J COVID vaccinations despite rare clot risk
— Indian hospitals plead for oxygen, country sets virus record
— Japan has declared a state of emergency to curb a rapid coronavirus resurgence, the third since the pandemic began, just three months ahead of the Olympics.
— Medical providers in the U.S. may soon return to using one medical N95 mask per patient, a practice that was suspended during the pandemic due to deadly supply shortages.
— The European Medicines Agency says people who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca’ s COVID-19 vaccine should also get the second one despite the rare risk of blood clots that have been linked to the shot.
Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
A U.S. health panel says it’s time to resume use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, despite a very rare risk of blood clots. Out of nearly 8 million people vaccinated before the U.S. suspended J&J’s shot, health officials uncovered 15 cases of a highly unusual kind of blood clot, three of them fatal. All were women, most younger than 50.
But advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday the vaccine’s benefits outweigh that serious but small risk -- especially against a virus that’s still infecting tens of thousands of Americans every day. The government will rapidly weigh that recommendation in deciding next steps.
PORTLAND, Ore. — As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Oregon, officials warned Friday that one-third of the state’s counties are at risk of increased restrictions, including limiting restaurants to outdoor dining only and closing gyms.
“A few weeks ago I came before you to say we are concerned that we would have a fourth surge of COVID-19 in Oregon. Unfortunately today that surge is here,” Gov. Kate Brown said at a news conference. Dean Sidelinger, the state health officer, said new modelling shows “the rate of transmission surpassed the most pessimistic scenario of three weeks ago.” “And if that spread continues unabated – our hospitals risk being swamped by virus-stricken patients,” he said.
In early March, the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate was 3.9%. As of Thursday, it was 5.7%. In addition, Oregon’s COVID-19 hospitalizations increased by 39% over the past week and has increased by 109% since the beginning of March. As a result, a couple hospitals are already starting to scale back on elective surgeries.
BUCHAREST, Romania — A “vaccination marathon” was launched Friday afternoon in Romania’s western city of Timisoara where anyone can turn up without an appointment to receive a vaccine against COVID-19.
Around 10,000 Pfizer vaccine shots have been made available for the three-day, round-the-clock event at Timisoara’s Regional Business Center, and will be administered by volunteers from the medical sector.
“As doctors in intensive care units … we fight every day to save as many lives as possible. But now, compared to this time last year, we have the power to get out of the pandemic together — through vaccination,” intensive care doctor Dorel Sandesc told local media.
Anyone over the age of 16 who can present a national identity card will be able to receive a vaccine, whereas minors will need written consent from a guardian. Booster jabs will be administered in the same “marathon” format in 21 days.
Since the pandemic started, Romania has recorded 1,042,521 positive COVID-19 infections, 27,113 have died, and more than 4.5 million vaccine shots have been administered to its population of more than 19 million.
WASHINGTON — The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that pregnant people receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Agency Director Rochelle Walensky announced the recommendation during an update on the pandemic at a White House briefing. She noted that a CDC study published this week found no safety concerns with Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations given during the third trimester of pregnancy.
‘’We know that this is a deeply personal decision, and I encourage people to talk to their doctors or primary care providers to determine what is best for them and for their baby,’’ Walensky said.
Her recommendation seems to go farther than advice on CDC’s website, which says the vaccines are unlikely to pose a safety risk during pregnancy but doesn’t flat-out recommend the shots.
The new study is based on reports from pregnant women who got shots soon after the vaccines became available. The researchers called for more data, including from vaccination earlier in pregnancy.
COVID-19 can be dangerous in pregnancy, raising risks for complications and even death.
Pregnant women were excluded from COVID-19 vaccination studies although there is limited safety data on some who became pregnant after enrolling.
PHOENIX -- Arizona administered the last COVID-19 vaccination injections at the state’s first and largest COVID-19 mass-vaccination site, which is closing as the state transitions to indoor venues.
The drive-through site outside State Farm Stadium is being replaced by a facility inside Gila River Arena in Glendale. There are additional large state-run sites in metro Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tucson and Yuma.
The state on Friday reported 896 additional coronavirus cases -- the largest daily increase in two weeks -- and 17 more deaths. Nearly 2.1 million people, 29% of the state’s population, were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the state dashboard.
Arizona has registered 857,347 total confirmed cases and 17,238 confirmed deaths.
OTTAWA, Ontario — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is getting vaccinated at an Ottawa pharmacy on Friday. Trudeau and his wife Sophie will be getting the AstraZeneca vaccine that some have been reluctant to get because of reports of rare blood clots.
The province of Ontario recently lowered eligibility for AstraZeneca to ages 40 and above. The prime minister says 30% of eligible adults in Canada have received at least one vaccine.
Also, Trudeau says Canada has reached an agreement with Pfizer for 35 million booster doses for next year, and 30 million in the year after. He says the deal includes options to add 30 million doses in both 2022 and 2023, and an option for 60 million doses in 2024.
He says the government is in ongoing discussions with other vaccine manufacturers about their plans for booster shots, too.
KARACHI, Pakistan — A prominent Pakistani charity offered medical help to archrival neighboring India in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Faisal Edhi, the head of Edhi Foundation, made the offer in a letter to the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. Edhi’s offer comes after India reported another global record in daily infections for a second straight day, adding 332,730 new cases.
In his letter, Edhi sought permission from Modi to travel to India with volunteers and 50 ambulances to assist Indian health workers. Edhi says he’ll lead his medical team, which will pay for the accommodation and food for his volunteers during the stay in India.
India’s response to the offer was not yet known. Edhi Foundation is known for humanitarian relief work in Pakistan, where is also runs the country’s largest ambulance service.
Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations. They’ve fought two of the three wars on the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.
NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus will return to lockdown mode for two weeks, shutting down retail stores, restaurants and gyms while expanding a night-time curfew.
The lockdown from April 26 to May 9 will extend the curfew to eight hours and outings from home are restricted to once a day.
Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou says the increase in infections has put the country’s health system under heavy strain, despite a ramped-up vaccination program that has reduced the number of COVID-19 patients over 70 who require hospitalization.
Ioannou says the lockdown will include a ban on all public gatherings and youth sports activities. Church services during Orthodox Easter all next week will take place without worshippers except during midnight mass on Holy Saturday when people will be permitted to follow the service outside the church.
BERLIN — Austria plans to reopen restaurants, bars and hotels on May 19 after several months of restrictions and closures.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced the plans on Friday. He says people wanting to use the venues that are reopening must be tested, vaccinated or recovered from a COVID-19 infection.
He says some other restrictions will remain in place: a maximum 10 people per table will be allowed outside and four adults per table inside. And there will be limits on how many people can use gyms.
Kurz pointed to Austria’s accelerating vaccination campaign, adding authorities aim to loosen restrictions further on July 1. He says foreign tourists will be welcome from mid-May.