• President, defence minister test positive
• PM’s aide advises provinces to procure vaccine
• 4,525 new patients detected, virus claims 41 lives in single day
ISLAMABAD: With President Dr Arif Alvi and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak joining the list of dignitaries having contracted Covid-19, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Monday identified 26 cities with over eight per cent positivity ratio.
On the other hand, an age and gender distribution chart showed that people in the age group of 20 to 40 years were the most affected by Covid-19, but the highest rate of casualty was among patients in the age bracket of 60 to 70 years.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, meanwhile, urged provinces to procure vaccines.
President Alvi had confirmed his diagnosis through a tweet, saying: “I have tested positive for Covid-19. May Allah have mercy on all Covid affectees. Had 1st dose of vaccine, but antibodies start developing after 2nd dose that was due in a week. Please continue to be careful.”
Similarly, according to media reports, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak was also found to be infected by the virus.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail had also announced that Defence Minister Pervez Khattak had been infected by the virus.
In a tweet, Governor Ismail said: “Perwaiz Khatak is diagnosed with Covid positive. Get well soon PK.”
It may be mentioned here that Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi had also tested positive over a week ago.
Meanwhile, the NCOC on Monday revealed that 26 cities had a positivity rate of over 8pc. They are Islamabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Gujrat, Bahawalpur, Toba Tek Singh, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Mandi Bahauddin, Multan, Okara, Rahimyar Khan, Peshawar, Swat, Nowshera, Dir Lower, Malakand, Swabi, Charsadda, Haripur, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur and Kotli.
On March 28, the NCOC had imposed ban on all kinds of gatherings and wedding ceremonies in cities where the infection rate was more than 8pc. The centre had also suggested reduction in transportation between provinces and advised the provincial governments to expedite vaccination against the deadly virus.
The NCOC data showed that 4,525 cases and 41 deaths were reported in a single day while 387 ventilators were in use. The highest number of vents was occupied in Multan where the percentage was 67pc, Islamabad, 64pc; Gujranwala, 60pc and Lahore, 52pc. The data on oxygenated beds showed that Gujranwala had an 85pc occupancy rate, Peshawar, 78pc; Swat, 73pc and Gujrat, 70pc beds.
The number of active cases was 46,663 while 3,648 patients were admitted to hospitals across the country on Monday.
On the other hand, Dr Faisal Sultan on Monday advised provinces to procure vaccine.
“The Fed govt has procured & will continue to procure COVID vaccine for all Pakistanis. At the same time, there is no 'NOC' requirement (or any NOC pending) or bar for any provincial govt to procure any reg’d vaccine if they are able to. Any facilitation needed will be provided,” the special assistant tweeted.
It is worth mentioning here that Prime Minister Khan had revealed on March 28 that it was getting difficult to arrange vaccines due to shortage in countries producing the doses.
Meanwhile, Polyclinic, one of the major hospitals of Islamabad, was facing shortage of staff after a large number of healthcare workers got infected by the virus.
According to hospital sources, around 200 doctors, nurses and paramedics have been infected and sent to quarantine.
According to a document of the NCOC, available with Dawn, people in the age group of 20 to 40 years and 60 to 70 years were most vulnerable to Covid-19.
In the 20 to 40 years age bracket, the infection rate was high as 183,427 males, 91,035 females and nine from the transgender community contracted the virus. The data on deaths showed that 2,750 males, 1,301 females and one person from the transgender community in the 60-70 age group had succumbed to the virus.
According to the overall data on casualties, 9,550 males, 4,703 females and three members of the transgender community had fallen victim to Covid-19. A total of 9,149 had co-morbidity which meant they were suffering from more than one major disease.
The data also showed that 91pc of the deceased had remained hospitalised. Though the average duration of admission was 6.5 days, patients spent a time period ranging from one to 107 days in hospitals. Out of the total number of hospitalised patients, 55pc were on ventilators, spending an average time period of 3.5 days. The data further revealed that patients remained on vent from one to 40 days.
Umar writes to provinces
Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar has written a letter to provinces, suggesting them to implement non-pharmaceutical interventions.
“As you know, the current wave of Covid-19 is spreading at an exponential pace and positivity ratio across the country is rising at an alarming rate. NCOC in consultation with federating units is keeping a close watch on the situation and correspondingly, data driven decisions are being made in order to reduce the spread of the disease,” he said.
Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2021