The Latest: Pakistan is latest nation to pass 1M virus cases
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan has passed the grim milestone of 1 million cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year.
Pakistan reported another 11 deaths Friday and 1,425 new cases of infection, bringing the country’s tally to 1,000,034 people infected. The nation has confirmed 22,939 deaths.
Infections have been steadily increasing as the more contagious delta variant spreads, and authorities expect a new surge from public activities during the Eid al-Adha holiday this week.
About 30 nations exceed 1 million cases, and more than 190 million people have been infected worldwide, a number considered an undercount.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
— Tokyo Olympics are arriving at last, after a yearlong delay
— In Canada and Zimbabwe, paths to vaccination diverge
— You might still want to mask up in public even if you’re fully vaccinated
— GOP’s vaccine push comes with strong words, few actions
— New Zealand suspends travel bubble with Australia, where outbreak is growing
— Virus’s impact: More relaxing and thinking, less socializing
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
SYDNEY — An Australian state government on Friday declared an emergency due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney.
The New South Wales state government reported one fatality and 136 new infections in the latest 24-hour period, the biggest daily tally of new cases since the outbreak began in mid June.
State Premier Gladys Berejiklian called on the federal government to provide more vaccines for the worst-effected suburbs in Sydney’s west and south.
Sydney has been locked down for a month. The delta variant cluster has spread from Sydney to Victoria and South Australia states which are also locked down. Half Australia’s population of 26 million is currently locked down.
Only 15% of adult Australians are fully vaccinated. While there are ample supplies of locally manufactured AstraZeneca, many are concerned about the slight risk of blood clots associated with that vaccine and a demanding Pfizer, the only alternative registered in Australia.
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea says it’ll extend the toughest distancing rules imposed on the greater Seoul area for another two weeks, as it’s battling its worst coronavirus outbreak.
South Korea on Friday reported 1,630 new virus cases, marking a 17th straight day its daily caseload is above 1,000. About 70% of the recent cases have been detected in the Seoul area, where about half of South Korea’s 52 million people reside.
Interior and Safety Minister Jeon Hae-cheol says it’s inevitable that social gatherings and travel are restricted to suppress a widespread domestic outbreak linked to a variety of sources in daily lives.
The current government-imposed rules ban gatherings of three or more people after 6 p.m. and require high-risk facilities such as nightclubs to suspend operations. Weddings and funerals can be attended by only relatives, but capped at 49 people. Those rules were to expire on Sunday, but the government will implement similar restrictions two more weeks. From next Monday, the government says that non-relatives can attend weddings or funerals but the 49-person cap will still be maintained.
South Korea’s total caseload stands at 185,733, with 2,066 deaths from COVID-19.
CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools has announced its students, teachers and staff will be required to wear masks indoors when they return to classrooms in August.
In a letter to parents Thursday, Chief Executive Officer José Torres said the policy is based on feedback from local, state and federal public health experts and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Visitors to school buildings will be required to wear masks regardless of vaccination status. Torres says the masks can be removed while eating or drinking and while students are engaged with in outdoor activities.
Pediatricians recently said everyone older than 2 should wear a mask in schools, regardless of vaccination status.
However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this month fully vaccinated students, teachers and staff don’t need face coverings inside classrooms.