ISLAMABAD: Volunteers wait to be administered the new Chinese-made vaccine for the coronavirus at a hospital on Wednesday. Thousands of volunteers are flocking to research hospitals across Pakistan to join the first-ever Phase 3 clinical trial for any vaccine in the country.—AFP
ISLAMABAD: Volunteers wait to be administered the new Chinese-made vaccine for the coronavirus at a hospital on Wednesday. Thousands of volunteers are flocking to research hospitals across Pakistan to join the first-ever Phase 3 clinical trial for any vaccine in the country.—AFP

ISLAMABAD: With nearly 46,000 tests carried out in a single day, which is a record, the daily cases of Covid-19 have surged to 3,300 after a gap of four-and-a-half months and the number of active cases have reached 43,963 across the country; the positivity rate has been recorded at over 7 per cent.

At a time when millions of people are confined to their homes due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued guidelines on sedentary behaviour, which maintain that up to five million deaths a year can be averted if the global population regularly carries out physical activity.

Meanwhile, the chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, has tested positive for the dreaded virus.

According to the latest data issued by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), a total of 3,306 people tested positive for the disease and 40 people lost their lives in a day, the total caseload thus surging to 43,963.

In September the total number of active cases had dropped to less than 6,000, but in October it again started increasing. On October 27 the number of active patients reached 11,190 and on November 18 the number was 30,362.

On Thursday, the NCOC said that 284 ventilators, out of a total of 1,767 meant for Covid-19 patients, were in use.

In an indication of the problems being faced by various organisations in coping with issues related to the pandemic, employees of the Petroleum House, which houses the directorates general of oil, gas and Petroleum Concession, have criticised the management’s decision of ensuring 100 per cent attendance.

An official of the Energy Ministry on condition of anonymity said the employees of the Petroleum House had been directed to ensure 100pc attendance. “We appeal to the management to implement the SOPs of the NCOC on Covid-19 and allow 50pc of the employees to work from home,” he said.

Health guidelines

A WHO report has emphasised that people of all ages and abilities can remain physically active and that every type of movement counts in this regard.

The new guidelines recommend 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week for all adults, including people living with chronic conditions or disability, and an average of 60 minutes per day for children and adolescents.

WHO statistics show that one in four adults and four out of five adolescents do not get enough physical activity. Globally this is estimated to cost $54 billion in direct healthcare and another $14bn in lost productivity.

The guidelines encourage women to maintain regular physical activity throughout pregnancy and after delivery. They also highlight the valuable health benefits of physical activity for people living with disabilities.

Adults aged 65 years or older have been advised to add activities that emphasise balance and coordination, as well as muscle strengthening, to help prevent falls and to generally improve health.

According to the report, regular physical activity is key to preventing and helping to manage heart disease, type-2 diabetes and cancer, as well as reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, reducing cognitive decline, improving memory and boosting brain health.

“Being physically active is critical for health and wellbeing — it can help to add years to life and life to years,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Every move counts, especially now as we manage the constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic. We must all move every day — safely and creatively.”

All physical activity is beneficial and can be done as part of work, sports, leisure or transport (walking, wheeling and cycling), but also through dance, play and everyday household tasks, like gardening and cleaning, according to Dr Ruediger Krech, the WHO’s director for health promotion.

The WHO encourages countries to adopt the global guidelines to develop national health policies in support of the WHO Global Action Plan on physical activity 2018-2030, says the report.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2020

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