LAHORE: People wait to get a dose of Sinopharm at a vaccination centre on Thursday.—AFP
LAHORE: People wait to get a dose of Sinopharm at a vaccination centre on Thursday.—AFP

ISLAMABAD: As compared to the previous day, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) reported on Thursday the number of new Covid-19 cases detected in the country remained largely unchanged, but there was a decrease in the number of persons who died of the dreaded disease.

According to the data revealed by NCOC, 4,198 people tested positive for coronavirus and 108 persons died of the disease in the previous 24 hours.

The data issued on Wednesday had revealed that 119 deaths and 4,113 cases had been reported in a single day.

The country’s death toll climbed to 18,537 on Thursday after the detection of 108 more deaths while the 4,198 fresh infections took the country’s coronavirus cases to 845,833.

The total number of active Covid-19 cases across the country, therefore, rose to 84,172, according to the data.

NCOC said a total of 180,985 people were administered the Covid-19 vaccines on Wednesday, taking the total number of doses administered thus far to 3,150,122.

Meanwhile, NCOC put the total number of people who had recovered from the disease at 743,124, following the detection of 4,397 such cases.

During the 24-hour period under review, 1,906 new Covid-19 cases and 68 deaths were reported in Punjab, taking the province’s total tally of infections to 312,522. The death count reached 8,809 as a result.

Balochistan reported only 124 new infections during the last 24 hours, taking the province’s total cases to 22,900.

The maximum proportions of hospital beds equipped with oxygen supply that remained occupied were in Swabi (67 per cent), Peshawar (62pc), Swat (57pc) and Gujranwala (55pc).

As many as 651 ventilators remained occupied in parts of the country other than Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan, where no patient was using one.

President Dr Arif Alvi visited the Tarlai Vaccination Centre in federal capital, where he received the second dose of an anti-Covid vaccine and also inspected the arrangements made there for inoculating members of the public.

While speaking on the occasion, he advised all citizens, particularly the elderly among them, to get vaccinated as early as possible and continue observing the measures needed to ward off the infection.

President Alvi said that in addition to getting inoculated, adopting other precautionary measures — wearing face masks at public places, frequent washing of hands, and maintaining a safe distance from others — were vital to efforts aimed at containing the spread of novel coronavirus.

He advised those present at the vaccination centre not to keep Eid shopping pending until the last few days of Ramazan.

President Alvi reached the health centre without any protocol and got inoculated after fulfilling requirements of due process, including registration at the service counter.

He expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made at the centre where around 600 people are vaccinated in a day.

Availability of vaccines

Director general of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Rana Safdar said the government had expanded its initiative for procurement of Covid-19 vaccines and a large stock of doses was available across the country.

While speaking at a briefing at the NCOC along with chief executive officer of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan Asim Rauf, he said all the pharmaceutical companies that wanted to operate efficiently under the circumstances would have to follow the Drap mechanisms. He said there would be no compromise on vaccine quality and the mechanisms would ensure this.

He said the ministry had already started inoculating the citizens aged 40 or more across the country as per the procedure adopted for various age groups.

He said that citizens of this age group should send SMS with numbers of their CNICs to 1166 from any mobile phone or visit the website of National Immunisation Management System.

Mr Rauf told the briefing that a new mechanism had been formulated for import of Covid-19 vaccines by private importers. “There are three conditions for the purpose. First the company should have an agency agreement with the company that will provide the vaccine, forms 5A will be filled and submitted to Drap,” he said.

He said the vaccine must have an Emergency Use Authorisation in the country of its origin and a certificate of analysis was also mandatory.

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2021

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