ISLAMABAD: With 3,946 new cases reported in a single day, the number of Covid-related deaths in the country surpassed the figure of 14,000 on Thursday.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), Sajid Shah, said that over one million doses of the vaccine would reach the country next week.
According to data of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) with 63 more deaths in a single day overall deaths in the country now stood at 14,028.
The highest number of deaths have been reported from Punjab — 6,048. Around 4,500 deaths have been reported from Sindh, over 2,200 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the remaining deaths have been reported from Islamabad, Balochistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
According to an international website (www.worldometers.info), Pakistan ranks 30th in terms of the number of deaths. The highest number of deaths — 558,460 — have been reported in the United States. Brazil ranks second with 301,087 deaths, Mexico third most deaths i.e. 199,627 and India has been ranked on fourth position with 160,761 deaths.
Prominent countries in which more deaths, as compared to Pakistan, have been reported include Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Ukraine, South Africa, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium and others.
Mr Shah, while talking to Dawn, said that the government was taking all possible steps to control the virus and to break the chain.
“We have introduced smart lockdown policy due to which areas and streets, which become hot spot of virus, are sealed. Moreover, a number of steps have been taken, from the platform of NCOC, such as a policy of 50pc work from home in offices, public transport has been operating at 50pc and rails at 70pc capacity,” he said.
“We are also giving awareness to masses that they should strictly adhere to SOPs (standard operating procedures) because only through them the people can keep safe themselves and their family members,” he said.
Mr Shah said that earlier SOPs, which also had social distancing, were the only options to avoid the chances of infection.
“Now vaccine has become available so people should get themselves and their elders vaccinated because it will save them from the virus and will also be helpful in creating herd immunity,” he said.
While replying to a question that there was misconception that the vaccines were not safe, he said the people should understand that there were many benefits of getting vaccinated.
“I suggest that people should get them vaccinated at the earliest so that they could become safe. All the vaccines are of good quality and in 80pc cases they save the people from virus and in 100pc cases vaccines save the people from hospitalisation and deaths,” he said.
“Pakistan has procured vaccines from China. One million doses of Sinopharm and 60,000 doses of Cansino will arrive by next week,” Mr Shah said.
PM asked to suspend activities
The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), a representative body of health professionals, has advised Prime Minister Imran Khan to suspend all social activities to avoid health-relate complications and spread of the virus.
PMA general secretary Dr Qaiser Sajjad said that a patient suffering from Covid-19 should remain in quarantine for at least nine days.
“We know that Prime Minister Imran Khan is very keen about the country and his professional obligations, but it will also affect his health as virus becomes strong in case of active lifestyle during infection. The PM should take complete rest to avoid health-related complications,” he said.
On Thursday, a picture, posted by Information Minister Shibli Faraz, showing the premier holding a meeting with his media team, triggered criticism on social media with people wondering how a person suffering from Covid-19 can interact with others. Though the prime minister had maintained distance, it was termed an “irresponsible act”.
Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2021