ISLAMABAD: The number of Covid-19 cases has surged by around 50 per cent ever since the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) eased restrictions late last month.
As many as 1,714 people contracted the virus and 38 lost their lives in a single day while the number of active cases increased to 17,352 on March 6.
On Feb 24, the NCOC had decided to relax most coronavirus-related restrictions on commercial activities, schools, offices and other workplaces, allowing them to function at full strength. Under the directives, time limit on commercial activities had been lifted while condition of 50pc attendance at workplaces removed.
Schools were asked to function five days a week while permission to hold indoor wedding ceremonies and opening of cinemas and shrines was granted with effect from March 15.
The decision to allow indoor dining will depend on the outcome of a review meeting to be held on March 10.
The NCOC had also allowed an increase in the number of spectators attending the Pakistan Super League matches from 20pc to 50pc and permitted full attendance during play-offs with strict standard operating procedures (SOPs). However, the tournament was postponed on March 4 after some players were found infected by Covid-19.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was also given the go-ahead to hold local bodies and cantonment board elections by the end of May or early June.
According to the NCOC data, 1,176 cases were recorded on Feb 27 and 1,163 on March 1, but the number suddenly increased to 1,388 on March 2 and 1,519 on March 4.
The data released on Saturday showed that 1,714 cases, which is around 50pc rise in less than two weeks, and 38 casualties were reported in a single day.
As many as 210 ventilators were in use across the country with Lahore having 34pc occupancy rate, followed by Islamabad, 32pc; Peshawar, 21pc and Multan, 17pc.
Data on oxygenated beds showed that Gujrat had a 94pc occupancy ratio, Peshawar, 38pc; Multan, 30pc and in Islamabad 26pc beds were in use.
A total of 2,002 patients were admitted to hospitals across the country on Saturday.
According to a document, available with Dawn, there are 18 oxygenated beds in Gujrat, out of which 17 were in use.
An official of the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), requesting anonymity, said efforts were being made to break the chain of the virus.
“We were aware that there would be a spike in cases once the restrictions were eased, but we are still far from the third wave. There are a large number of vacant oxygenated beds and ventilators in hospitals, and though the load has started to rise, we hope that in the coming days we will break the chain of the virus and daily cases will start reducing,” the official said.
It may be mentioned here that Pakistan Medical Association, the representative body of doctors, had suggested the government to enforce the standard operating procedures and impose restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2021