• Positivity rate less than 5pc for around two weeks
• Over 70pc Pakistanis have vitamin D deficiency

ISLAMABAD: With the national positivity ratio being recorded below five per cent for the last 13 days and over 70pc ventilators and oxygenated beds lying vacant in most cities, the Sindh government on Sunday allowed businesses to remain open till 8pm instead of 6pm.

Besides, a study showed that over 70pc Pakistanis had vitamin D deficiency, which it said was known to reduce severity of Covid.

The Sindh government decided to extend business timings till 8pm from the earlier 6pm with effect from Monday (today) but also made it mandatory for all staffers of shops and markets to get inoculated.

A meeting of the Sindh task force on Covid-19 decided to open schools for classes nine and above from Monday, permitted outdoor dining till midnight and lifted restrictions on Sea View and other beaches.

According to data shared by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the country saw 76 patients losing their battle against coronavirus and another 1,629 getting infected in the last 24 hours. The number of active cases was counted at 47,764. A total of 932,140 people have tested positive since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country out of whom 863,111 have recovered, 21,265 died and 3,574 patients were admitted to hospitals.

The data showed that around 70pc oxygenated beds were vacant in Karachi, Abbot­tabad, Peshawar and Multan while 74pc ventilators were lying idle in Peshawar, 70pc in Lahore and 64pc vents in Bahawalpur.

According to initial findings of a study, around 70pc of the Pakistanis had low vitamin D — an important source known to reduce serious effects of Covid-19.

The study, conducted by University of Health Sciences Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Akram and his associates, revealed that vitamin D cut down chances of severity in coronavirus patients.

It also helps to recover from or control hypertension, obesity, diabetes, congestive heart failure, cancer, chronic kidney disease and asthma.

The study said 79pc of the adults and 69pc children had vitamin D deficiency.

Talking to Dawn, Dr Akram said there were 130 known benefits of vitamin D, adding that Pakistan was blessed with ample sunlight but people were reluctant to expose themselves to the sun.

“It is unfortunate that people avoid the sun to save their complexion. Besides, sun blocks that are widely used in Pakistan are notorious for causing vitamin D deficiency as they stop sunlight from being absorbed by the skin,” he said.

Dr Akram said women who picked cotton remained under the sun throughout the day but were still found having vitamin D deficiency because they covered their arms and face.

He said people should sit under the sun and take vitamin D-3 (active form of vitamin) to avoid adverse effects of Covid-19.

Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2021

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