• Sindh to vaccinate adults of all age groups from May 16
• Country sees decline in casualties, cases
• Minister reiterates Indian strain not prevalent in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has decided to close vaccination centres on the first two days of Eidul Fitr instead of the three days as was being considered earlier, benefitting at least 200,000 people.
On the other hand, the country saw a decline in the number of casualties and new cases. A total of 78 people succumbed to the virus in the last 24 hours compared to 118 a day earlier, whereas 3,447 tested positive in a single day against 4,569 the previous day.
In another development, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar ruled out the possibility of a Thai woman and her son contracting the Indian variant of Covid-19 in Pakistan, saying the virus was not present in the country.
Meanwhile, Sindh will be extending vaccination facility to adults of all age groups from May 16.
According to the NCOC data, out of the 78 deceased, 31 had been on ventilators, whereas 60 per cent of the 652 vents in use throughout the country were occupied in Gujranwala and Multan. Similarly, over 50pc oxygenated beds were in use in Multan, Peshawar and Gujranwala.
The data further said the number of active cases stood at 80,375 as of May 10. A total of 861,473 people have so far been infected, of which 762,105 recovered and 18,993 died.
As many as 5,342 patients were admitted to 639 hospitals having Covid-19 treatment facilities across the country.
Meanwhile, a notification of the NCOC said vaccination centres would remain closed only on the first and second day of Eid and would function as per routine afterwards.
It is worth mentioning here that a notification of the interior ministry had said Eid holidays would be observed from May 10 to 15. The reason behind the announcement was to reduce national mobility.
An official of the Ministry of National Health Services, requesting not to be named, said earlier it was being considered to close the centres on the first three days of Eid.
“However as around 200,000 people are being vaccinated every day, it was therefore decided to reduce the holidays and call the healthcare workers to the vaccination centres on the third day. This decision will benefit around 200,000 people,” he said.
When told that 400,000 more people could benefit if the vaccination centres were not closed at all, the official said there were two reasons behind it.
“The first reason is that healthcare workers need to be given a break as they also have a right to observe Eid with their families, and second, majority of the people will not prefer to visit vaccination centres on the first two days of the festival,” he said.
“Besides, many healthcare workers will be working in hospitals as their Eid holidays have been cancelled. So only a small number of healthcare staff would get the opportunity to stay home and celebrate Eid,” he added.
Meanwhile, Asad Umar, while talking to Dawn, said a number of variants like UK, Brazilian and South African were reported in the country but not a single case of the Indian variant has been detected.
The health authorities in Thailand on Monday confirmed the country’s first case of the Indian variant of Covid-19 in a Thai woman and her four-year-old son who were in quarantine since returning from Pakistan.
Mr Umar said it was quite possible that the woman had contracted the virus from Thailand itself or somewhere else as the strain was not prevalent in Pakistan.
Imran visits Pims
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday visited the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) to observe the arrangements for Covid-19 patients.
He was received by the head of the hospital, Dr Minhajus Siraj, on his arrival.
The prime minister directed that every possible facility be provided to patients, assuring the relevant authorities of making all resources available for the hospital to ensure the best treatment for patients.
Dr Minhaj said there were 200 beds in the hospital allocated for Covid-19 patients out of which 121 were in use.
Mr Khan inquired about the situation of oxygen in the hospital to which he was told that there was sufficient quantity available.
He was also informed that the patient load had reduced in last few days.
The prime minister, who was accompanied by Senator Faisal Javed, also visited the coronavirus ward and asked patients if they were getting proper treatment. He also inquired from the healthcare workers whether they had been vaccinated.
Vaccination of all ages
Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho has said that from May 16, vaccination facility would be available to adult people of all age groups.
“From May 16, 2021 all individuals above the age of 18 years will be able to get vaccinated in the province,” she said recently while inaugurating the mega vaccination centre at the Expo Centre.
Around 25,000 will be inoculated in the centre in a single day.
Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2021