ISLAMABAD: As another 1,800 Covid-19 infections surfaced on Sunday, Abbottabad once again reported the highest positivity ratio in the country.
According to data provided by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), 1,853 people contracted the virus while 57 lost their lives. The total number of active cases throughout the country stood at 39,329 with 9,874 deaths having been reported since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Abbottabad had also figured on top on Dec 21 when it recorded 40.32 per cent ratio of coronavirus cases.
According to Sunday’s data, the national positivity ratio was 5.57pc with Abbottabad witnessing the highest rate at 25.53pc, followed by Karachi at 13.56pc and Faisalabad recording 10.14pc.
The ratio is calculated on the basis of positive results in 100 samples.
The data also showed that Azad Kashmir reported 11.54pc positivity rate, Balochistan, 7.69pc; Sindh, 7.36pc; Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 7.15pc; Punjab, 3.98pc; Islamabad, 3.81pc and Gilgit-Baltistan, 0.89pc.
Overall 314 ventilators out of the total allocated for Covid-19 patients were in use across Pakistan, with 54pc occupied in Multan, followed by Islamabad, 42pc; Lahore, 34pc and Peshawar, 31pc.
Around 65pc oxygen beds were in use in Peshawar, 37pc in Multan, 33pc in Islamabad and 32pc in Rawalpindi.
The centre said 2,282 Covid-19 patients were in critical condition and their number was rising.
Compared to 2.09pc fatality rate in Pakistan, the global ratio was 2.19pc.
Besides, 70pc patients in Pakistan were males, 77.5pc were over 50 years, 73pc had chronic comorbidities and 91pc of the deceased had remained hospitalised.
Novel coronavirus was first detected in China in December last year which then spread to other countries. Pakistan closed its borders and took a number of steps to stop the spread. The first case of the virus was reported in Pakistan in the last week of February.
On March 13, the meeting of the National Security Committee, comprising top civil and military leadership, was held to discuss the crisis which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had chaired the meeting, directed the relevant authorities to devise a comprehensive strategy to check the spread of the virus.
Lockdown was announced on March 16 and a number of industries, educational institutions, restaurants and marriage halls were closed.
The National Disaster Management Authority was involved to ensure availability of medical equipment and health-related supplies at the earliest.
After the construction industry was opened on Aug 7, the National Coordination Committee on Covid-19 lifted restrictions on tourism on Aug 8 and on restaurants and transport sector from Aug 10. It also gave a timetable for opening other sectors, including educational institutions and marriage halls.
After easing of restrictions, a large number of people thronged public spots without following the SOPs. As a result, tourist destinations in Gilgit-Baltistan had to be closed.
In October, cases started to rapidly rise, following which the NCOC officially declared it the start of the second wave.
Initially, educational institutions from where cases were being reported were closed for a few days and a lockdown policy was announced for hot spots. However, as the situation worsened, the NCOC on Nov 11 decided to enhance restrictions in different sectors, and finally closed down educational institutions on Nov 26.
Extended winter vacations were announced with the institutions expected to open on Jan 11, 2021.
On the other hand, the virus mutated itself in the UK after which Pakistan joined other countries in restricting flight operations from Britain.
Published in Dawn, December 28th, 2020