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Pakistan: Karachi COVID-19 cases near 5,000, Sindh worst-hit

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Karachi, May 2 : The total number of COVID-19 cases in Karachi jumped by 446, taking the total to 4,873 — over a quarter of Pakistan’s total of 17,699, while Sindh province remained the worst-hit with 6,675 infections.

COVID-19 cases have risen almost 200 per cent in Karachi over the last 11 days, from 1,691 on April 20 to 4,873 on May 1, Dawn news reported.

According to a statement issued by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah’s office on Friday, 3,384 COVID-19 tests were conducted in the province during the past 24 hours out of which 622 had come back positive, taking the provincial total to 6,675; this means that nearly 20 per cent of the tests conducted came back positive.

In the statement, Shah said that six more deaths had been reported in Sindh during the past 24 hours, taking the toll to 118.

“This means that Sindh’s death toll makes up 1.76 per cent of the total number of patients.”

Shah said that 57,761 tests have been conducted in the province so far out of which 6,675 have come back positive.

He added that 45 patients were in critical condition, while 16 of them were on ventilators.

Pakistan’s overall death toll stood at 408 as of Saturday morning.

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Coronavirus may infect heart cells of Covid-19 patients: Study

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Heart Exercise

New York, July 1 : A team of US scientists, led by an Indian-origin researcher revealed that SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus), the virus behind Covid-19, can infect heart cells in a lab dish.

This suggests it may be possible for heart cells in Covid-19 patients to be directly infected by the virus.

The discovery, published today in the journal Cell Reports Medicine, was made using heart muscle cells that were produced by stem cell technology.

“We not only uncovered that these stem cell-derived heart cells are susceptible to infection by a novel coronavirus, but that the virus can also quickly divide within the heart muscle cells,” said study researcher Arun Sharma from the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute in the US.

“Even more significant, the infected heart cells showed changes in their ability to beat after 72 hours of infection,” Sharma added.Although many COVID-19 patients experience heart problems, the reasons remain unclear. Pre-existing cardiac conditions or inflammation and oxygen deprivation resulting from the infection have all been implicated.

But there has until now been only limited evidence the SARS-CoV-2 virus directly infects the individual muscle cells of the heart.The study also demonstrated human stem cell-derived heart cells infected by SARS-CoV-2 change their gene expression profile.This offers further confirmation the cells can be actively infected by the virus and activate innate cellular ”defence mechanisms” in an effort to help clear-out the virus.

“This viral pandemic is predominately defined by respiratory symptoms, but there are also cardiac complications, including arrhythmia, heart failure and viral myocarditis,” said study co-author Clive Svendsen.

“While this could be the result of massive inflammation in response to the virus, our data suggest that the heart could also be directly affected by the virus in Covid-19,” Svendsen added.

Researchers also found that treatment with an ACE2 antibody was able to blunt viral replication on stem cell-derived heart cells, suggesting that the ACE2 receptor could be used by SARS-CoV-2 to enter human heart muscle cells.

“By blocking the ACE2 protein with an antibody, the virus is not as easily able to bind to the ACE2 protein, and thus cannot easily enter the cell,” said Sharma. “This not only helps us understand the mechanisms of how this virus functions, but also suggests therapeutic approaches that could be used as a potential treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infection,” he explained.

The study used human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), a type of stem cell that is created in the lab from a person”s blood or skin cells. IPSCs can make any cell type found in the body, each one carrying the DNA of the individual. “This work illustrates the power of being able to study human tissue in a dish,” the authors wrote.

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Australians refusing COVID-19 tests could face fines: PM

“And so I thank the New South Wales and Victorian governments for doing that heavy-lifting on behalf of all other states and territories.

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Scott Morrison

Canberra, July 1 : Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned on Wednesday that people could be fined if they refuse to be tested for coronavirus.

He said that the “stick will have to be put about” in order to contain new COVID-19 outbreaks, reports Xinhua news agency.

It comes after the announcement on Tuesday that from 11.59 p.m. Wednesday night, 10 areas linked to new outbreaks in Victoria state will go into local lockdown amid a spike in cases.

These “hot zones” will be required to return to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions – until at least July 29.

In making the announcement, Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews revealed that more than a thousand people, when asked, refused to be tested.

“We”re doing this in an Australian way. We”re looking to do it through incentive, through the use of carrot, not stick. But occasionally the stick will have to be put about, whether it”s fines or other sanctions that are in place to ensure that we keep everybody safe,” Morrison told TV program Today on Wednesday.

He said that the uptick in cases in Victoria, which has confirmed more cases of COVID-19 than the rest of the country combined recently, was not “surprising” because Melbourne, along with Sydney, has taken the most recently returned travellers.

“Both of those states have been running those quarantines, they”ve been paying for them themselves, and that means their risks have been greater,” he said.

“And so I thank the New South Wales and Victorian governments for doing that heavy-lifting on behalf of all other states and territories.

“We always knew there would be outbreaks. The issue is not whether they occur, but how you deal with them, and we are dealing with it in concert with the Victorian government.”

Australia has so far reported 7,920 COVID-19 cases, with 104 deaths.

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Trump again slams China over COVID-19 pandemic

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Donald Trump

Washington, July 1 : US President Donald Trump has once again slammed China over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which America is struggling to contain amid a sudden surge in the number of new confirmed cases across several states.

Taking to Twitter on Tuesday night, Trump said: “As I watch the Pandemic spread its ugly face all across the world, including the tremendous damage it has done to the USA, I become more and more angry at China. People can see it, and I can feel it.”

Trump”s tweet came amid the escalated tension between Washington and Beijing since the last few months and also on the same day when China announced retaliation against the US after it announced revokation of Hong Kong”s special status, reports Efe news.

Washington revoked Hong Kong”s special status amid the threat of the dual-use technologies falling into the hands of the Chinese Army.

Moreover, less than two weeks ago, Trump signed a legislation favour of the Uyghur rights which seeks sanctions against the Chinese officials alleged of torturing the group and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang province.

These measures come amid the continuous tensions between the two countries due to trade dispute and coronavirus crisis, for which Trump blamed China and even renamed the virus as “Chinese Virus,” and “Kung Flu”.

As of Wednesday morning, The US accounted for the world”s highest number of infections and fatalities with 2,629,372 and 127,322, respectively, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

Furthermore, the pandemic has created economic strain on the country and its management.

According to surveys, the pandemic has reduced Trump”s re-election possibilities.

A poll published on June 26 indicated that Trump”s approval ratings were at their worst level (40 per cent) following protests against police brutality in the US and amid a surge in coronavirus infections in the country.

A record 58 per cent of voters disapprove of the job Trump”s doing at the White House, according to a new survey conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion together with the National Public Radio and PBS NewsHour.

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