— 3,500 fresh infections translate in 8.15pc positivity rate
— Active cases cross grim 50,000 milestone
ISLAMABAD: The number of active Covid-19 cases in the country surged the grave mark of 50,000 during the last 24 hours, said the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on Thursday.
According to the NCOC, 3,499 new infections were reported in the last 24 hours, raising the number of active cases to 51,654, while the total tally climbed to 406,810. 39 people lost their lives to the virus in the last 24 hours and now the country’s death toll stands at 8,205.
The NCOC data shows that the pace of pandemic in the country has quickened as around 29,881 new cases have been reported in the last 10 days only. At least 346,951 people have recovered from the virus so far.
A total of 42,904 tests were conducted across the country during the last twenty-four hours, while 5,627,539 samples have been tested so far.
Sindh reported the highest number of coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours with 1,983 infections. Punjab reported 727 new cases, Islamabad 417, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) 218, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) 85, Balochistan 53, and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) 16.
The highest positivity ratio of Covid-19 cases in the current season 8.16 per cent was recorded in Pakistan on Wednesday as the country continues to reel under the impact of the pandemic.
A meeting of the NCOC mulled over the Covid-19 situation and implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in the country. The meeting, attended by concerned federal and provincial officials, was informed that 2,469 patients of the coronavirus are in critical condition.
The session was informed that Sindh has a 14.1 per cent positivity rate, while the ratio of positive cases in Azad Kashmir has been 11.9 per cent. Positive cases of the novel coronavirus in Balochistan reached 12.5 per cent, KP 5.6 per cent, Punjab 4.2 per cent, Islamabad 6.6 per cent, and GB saw a positive rate of 4.7 per cent.
Karachi emerged as the city with the highest ratio of coronavirus positive cases with a positivity rate of 20.12 per cent, followed by Hyderabad at 18.43 per cent, Abbottabad, 14.53 per cent, Muzaffarabad, 11.48 per cent, Mirpur, 10.57 per cent, Peshawar at 9.17 per cent and the ratio of coronavirus positive cases in Quetta remained 09.91 per cent.
According to the briefing, Pakistan has overall 301 Covid-19 patients on ventilators. Eighty patients in Lahore and 40 in Multan are on ventilators, while in Rawalpindi and Islamabad 41 and 40 Covid patients respectively are on ventilators. Karachi has 75 patients on ventilators.
In Punjab, coronavirus claimed 25 more lives during the past 24 hours, taking the provincial death toll from the disease to 3,091. According to a spokesperson for the Primary and Secondary Health Department, 727 fresh infections detected during this period, pushing the total number of cases thus far reported across the province to 1,21,083. The tally of patients recovered from the disease in the province stands at 98,992, health department spokesperson stated.
Meanwhile, more localities in Karachi’s Central district were put under “smart lockdowns” on Thursday after they reported a spike in Covid-19 positive cases. The neighbourhoods where smart lockdowns have been imposed include Gulberg (Karimabad and FB Area’s Block-7, 10, 12, 14 and 15), Liaquatabad (Azam Nagar and Block-3 of Nazimabad), North Karachi (Sector 10 and 11-A) and North Nazimabad (Block A, B, C, H, N, J, I and Sector 14-B, Sector 15-A1, Sector-15-A-2, Sector 15-B,).
The streets and houses identified as Covid-19 hotspots in these areas will remain sealed for a period of two weeks.
Moreover, the Punjab jail authorities decided to make it mandatory for new inmates to complete a 14-day quarantine period in all jails across the province. Moreover, it has been directed for jail employees to go through the virus test alongside the inmates. The jail officials said that it is also made compulsory to produce inmates before the court while wearing face masks.
VACCINE IN FIRST QUARTER OF 2021:
The government is hoping to procure a vaccine in the first three months of 2021, with the vaccination process to proceed in phases, State Minister for Health Dr Faisal Sultan has said.
Addressing a press conference, Dr Sultan stressed this target was not set in stone, adding that the cabinet had approved the Economic Coordination Committee’s (ECC) recommendation to allocate $150 million for the vaccine’s acquirement.
He said that the vaccine would be administered in stages, with frontline healthcare workers given the highest priority, followed by the elderly and at-risk populations; and finally the general population.
To a question, the minister said that the government wanted to provide the vaccine to the entire population for free. He also clarified that the federal cabinet had decided to form a committee of four to five members to oversee the procurement of the vaccine to ensure transparency.
It is worth mentioning here that the Punjab government on Wednesday issued a notification suspending indoor dining in a bid to curb the spread of the contagious disease. The notification from the Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department said that outdoor dining can continue but must have socially distanced seating and require customers to wear face masks when they are not eating.