(Clockwise) Trucks line up along a road as they make their way towards the Pakistan-Afghan border at Torkham on Wednesday following Islamabad’s decision to restrict border crossing with Iran and Afghanistan due to the coronavirus. People walking along a street at the border. Afghan nationals make their way back across the border to Afghanistan at Torkham.—AFP
(Clockwise) Trucks line up along a road as they make their way towards the Pakistan-Afghan border at Torkham on Wednesday following Islamabad’s decision to restrict border crossing with Iran and Afghanistan due to the coronavirus. People walking along a street at the border. Afghan nationals make their way back across the border to Afghanistan at Torkham.—AFP

ISLAMABAD: While about 4,000 people contracted Covid-19 in a single day, the number of active cases has fallen by seven per cent in less than a fortnight, according to data issued by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday.

The concentrate of a vaccine has reached the National Institute of Health (NIH) where the vaccine will be produced. It is expected to be administered to people by the end of current month.

The data showed that 119 deaths and 4,113 cases were reported in a single day with positivity ratio of 9.17pc. The number of active cases, which had surpassed the figure of 90,000 last week, was 84,480 as of May 5.

While 676 ventilators were in use by Covid-19 patients across the country, in Multan 77pc of ventilators allocated to Covid-19 patients were in use, Lahore’s 69pc, Mardan’s 59pc and Bahawalpur’s 58pc ventilators were in use. Similarly, over 60pc of oxygenated beds allocated to Covid-19 patients were occupied in Swabi and Peshawar. As many as 5,741 patients were admitted to hospitals on Wednesday. So far 18,429 deaths have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic.

An official of Ministry of National Health Services, requesting not to be quoted, said that the concentrate of a vaccine had reached the NIH for production of the vaccine.

“The concentrate prepared by CanSino has been imported from China and will be sufficient to produce 125,000 doses of vaccine. As machinery and staff are ready, within a few days we will start manufacturing vaccine,” he said.

Replying to a question, the official said that according to protocols stability test of first batch of the vaccine was required.

“So stability test will be started once first batch of the vaccine is prepared. Stability test comprises a number of chemical tests which are necessary before administering a vaccine. Once first batch of the vaccine would pass through the stability test, manufacturing of the vaccine will be started without any delay. It will be a onetime test and after that we will be able to produce a large number of doses within the country,” he said.

Responding to another question, the official hoped that by the end of current month the vaccine would be ready to be administered.

Virus awareness

People queue up to register to be inoculated with a dose of Sinopharm at a vaccination centre in Karachi on Wednesday.—AFP
People queue up to register to be inoculated with a dose of Sinopharm at a vaccination centre in Karachi on Wednesday.—AFP

Media Coordinator of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences Dr Waseem Khuwaja says that while over one year had passed since the beginning of the pandemic, a large number of people are still unaware of basics regarding Covid-19.

“People should avoid crowded places and use face masks at closed and crowded places. They should cover their mouths and noses with tissue papers coughing and sneezing. People can lower the risk of infection by reducing rate of contact with other people. They should avoid unnecessary social gatherings, particularly events with large numbers of people. They should frequently wash their hands with soap each time for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. They should avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness,” he said.

“Covid-19 is caused by a virus so people should not use antibiotics as a mean of prevention or treatment. However, in hospitals antibiotics can be given as bacterial co-infection is possible. Though garlic is a healthy product and it has anti-microbial properties, there is no evidence that it can protect people from Covid-19,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2021

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