ISLAMABAD: While 1,008 Covid-19 cases and 40 deaths were reported across the country in a single day, the number of active cases has dropped by around 20,000 over the last two months.
The number of active cases, which had reached 50,000 by the end of November 2020, dropped to 31,510 on Tuesday. It is the second time that active cases have witnessed a downward trend. During the first wave of Covid-19, the number of active cases had surpassed the 50,000 mark in June last year, which later started declining and finally dropped to less than 6,000 in September.
The number of active cases again started increasing and reached 11,190 on October 27 and then 30,362 on November 18, 2020, following which the government officially announced the beginning of second wave of the pandemic in the country. The figure reached 50,000 by the end of November.
According to data of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the number of active cases stood at 31,510 on Tuesday and till date 512,943 people have recovered from coronavirus. However, 2,219 patients were admitted to hospitals across the country.
According to the NCOC, 254 ventilators were occupied across the country — 35 per cent in Multan, 33pc in Lahore, 27pc in Islamabad and 26pc in Peshawar. Data showed that 41pc of beds with oxygen were in use in Peshawar, 32pc in Multan, 25pc in Rawalpindi and 24pc in Karachi.
As new variants of Covid-19 have been reported in a number of countries, including South Africa and the United Kingdom, Covax has stated that the scientific response may need to adapt if they are to remain effective against them.
1,008 new cases, 40 deaths reported in a single day
“In light of recent news stories regarding the preliminary data on minimal effectiveness of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine at preventing mild to moderate Covid-19 disease caused by the viral variant B.1.351, it is important to note that primary analysis of data from Phase III trials has so far shown — in the context of viral settings without this variant — that the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine offers protection against severe disease, hospitalisation and death. This means it is vitally important now to determine the vaccine’s effectiveness when it comes to preventing more severe illness caused by the B.1.351 variant,” it stated.
Covax is an international alliance which has procured/booked two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine and also pledged free doses for 20pc population of Pakistan.
Manufacturers have been suggested to prepare to adjust to the SARS-CoV-2 viral evolution, including potentially providing future booster shots and adapted vaccines, if found to be scientifically necessary.
“Trials must be designed and maintained to allow any changes in efficacy to be assessed, and to be of sufficient scale and diversity to enable clear interpretation of results. Enhanced genomic surveillance must be backed by rapid sharing of genetic and meta-data to allow for global coordination and response. Priority should be given to vaccinating high-risk groups everywhere in order to ensure maximum global protection against new strains and minimise the risk of transmission,” it stated.
“Governments and donors, as well as development banks, should further support Covax in order to ensure equitable access and delivery, as well as meet ongoing research and development costs for next-generation vaccines. WHO is enhancing an existing mechanism for tracking and evaluating variants that may affect vaccine composition and expanding that mechanism to provide guidance to manufacturers and countries on changes that may be needed for vaccines,” the statement claimed.
Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2021