Senior police official among 14 killed in Quetta mosque blast

Pakistani security officials examine the site of bomb explosion at a mosque in Quetta on Jan. 10, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 11 January 2020

Senior police official among 14 killed in Quetta mosque blast

  • Deputy superintendent of police was killed in the explosion
  • Death toll from the blast continues to rise

LARKANA: At least 14 people, including a deputy superintendent of police, were killed in an explosion at a mosque in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, on Friday evening, officials said.
“The blast occurred during Maghrib prayers at a mosque in Ghousabad neighborhood,” Quetta police chief Abdullah Afridi told Arab News, adding that Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Amanullah was among the victims.
Afridi said it was too early to say if the police officer was the target of an attack as “the nature of the blast has yet to be ascertained.”
The injured “have been brought to the (Quetta) civil hospital,” Dr. Waseem Baig, spokesman of the government-run health facility, told Arab News. He confirmed that 14 people died in the explosion and another 20 were injured.
The Pakistan Army’s military wing, ISPR, said in a Twitter post that Balochistan Frontier Corps personnel have reached the site and are assisting in search and rescue.

On Tuesday, two people were killed and 18 others injured in another blast in Quetta, when a vehicle of the Frontier Corps (FC) was targeted with a bomb planted on the McConaghey Road of the city.
According to reports, the security personnel were on routine patrol when an improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated.
In November, two personnel of the security forces were killed and five others wounded in an explosion in Kuchlak area of Quetta.


UK scientists warn too early to tell if new COVID-19 variant more deadly

Updated 1 min 56 sec ago

UK scientists warn too early to tell if new COVID-19 variant more deadly

LONDON:The discovery of a new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant in the UK should not alter the response to the pandemic, scientists say, despite fears that it could prove more deadly.
Top medics have said it is “too early” to say whether the variant, thought to be up to 70 percent more transmissible, carries with it a higher mortality rate.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed there was “some evidence” the variant had “a higher degree of mortality” at a press conference on Friday, Jan. 22, with the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, adding it could be up to 30 percent more deadly. 
That came after a briefing by the UK government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) said there was a “realistic possibility” of an increased risk of death.
Prof. Peter Horby, Nervtag’s chairman, said: “Scientists are looking at the possibility that there is increased severity ... and after a week of looking at the data we came to the conclusion that it was a realistic possibility.
“We need to be transparent about that. If we were not telling people about this we would be accused of covering it up.”
But infectious disease modeller Prof. Graham Medley, one of the authors of the Nervtag briefing, told the BBC: “The question about whether it is more dangerous in terms of mortality I think is still open.
He added: “In terms of making the situation worse it is not a game changer. It is a very bad thing that is slightly worse.”
Dr. Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling for the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said he was “quite surprised” Johnson had made the claim.
“I just worry that where we report things pre-emptively where the data are not really particularly strong,” he added.