KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: Following an abnormal spike in Covid-19 cases across Sindh, the provincial government on Friday decided to close indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants and marriage halls, shrines, recreational spots and educational institutions, except those where examinations are taking place, and reduced timings of markets from Monday.

Moreover, the number of Covid-19 cases across the country has crossed one million as 1,425 more people tested positive over the past 24 hours.

Presiding over a meeting of the provincial Task Force on Coronavirus, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah decided that pharmacies and bakeries would operate as usual but there would be two safe/closed days — Friday and Sunday — and government and private offices would function with 50 per cent staff attendance, except the departments/organisations of essential services.

Takeaway service of restaurants will continue with certain SOPs.

The business hours of markets and shops, except pharmacies, bakeries and groceries, have been fixed from 6am to 6pm from Monday. Shrines and recreational places, including Seaview, Hawksbay and Keenjhar, will remain closed till further orders.

The chief minister said he would review the coronavirus situation next week and may take more strict measures if the situation remained the same.

Positivity ratio in Karachi reaches 21.54pc; Pakistan ranks 30th in world with over one million cases; country to get 3m doses of Moderna vaccine from US under Covax

Health Secretary Kazim Jatoi informed the meeting that the overall Covid-19 detection ratio had been recorded at 10.3pc in the province but in Karachi it had reached 21.54pc on July 22.

The chief minister said there were 14.27pc coronavirus cases in Karachi on July 16, which increased to 21.54pc on July 22. “This is a dangerous situation, and it has to be controlled, otherwise everything would go out of control,” he warned.

The meeting was told that during the past one week district East had reported 29pc cases, Korangi 17pc, Central and South 15pc each, and West and Malir 10pc each.

Analysing 457 Covid-19 cases, the health secretary told the meeting that 35pc of people got infected in gatherings, 23pc in marriage functions and 17pc in international traveling. In July so far 307 patients have died, of them 201 or 65pc on ventilators, 70 or 23pc off ventilators and 36 patients or 12pc at home.

The meeting was told that out of total 1,002 patients admitted to hospitals, 85pc were non-vaccinated and 15pc vaccinated. The vaccinated patients have mild symptoms. A study revealed that 76pc of hospitalised patients had first dose of vaccine while 24pc were fully vaccinated.

The meeting was informed that so far 6,720,997 doses of vaccine had been received, of them 5,312,921 had been utilised.

The chief minister directed the health department to speed up the vaccination drive through centres and mobile units. He also asked Finance Secretary Hassan Naqvi to coordinate with the Accountant General of Sindh for stopping the salary of non-vaccinated government employees.

CM Shah also decided to approach the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority through the National Command and Operational Centre (NCOC) for sending a service message to all mobile phone users to get them vaccinated within a week and after one week their mobile phone Sims would be blocked.

Meanwhile, 923,472 people have so far recovered from coronavirus across the country since the start of the pandemic in 2020, making it a significant count with over 90pc recovery ratio of the affected patients.

One million cases

Pakistan has become the 30th country across the globe where more than one million cases have been reported since the spread of the pandemic.

Pakistan will get fresh consignment of three million doses of Moderna vaccine from the United States under the Covax programme. The Foreign Office said in a tweet: “The Govt. and the people of Pakistan deeply appreciate the announcement by the White House to ship 3 million doses of Moderna vaccine to Pakistan through COVAX. We look forward to our continued cooperation with the US in our fight against the pandemic.”

According to the NCOC, 180,279 people were vaccinated across Pakistan on 22 July, taking the tally to 24,548,441 so far. It urged people to get themselves vaccinated as soon as possible. “Vaccination centers are open across the country. Get yourself vaccinated ASP to defeat COVID-19. Vaccination centers will remain closed only once a week (Sundays),” the NCOC tweeted.

As many as 53,623 active cases were recorded across the country on Friday and 11 people lost their lives. As many as 543 people recovered from the deadly virus and the national positivity rate was 5.65pc.

As many as 2,158 people tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday and 40 people died across the country. The positivity rate was 6.30pc.

Some 25,215 tests were conducted across the country on Thursday— 9,875 in Sindh, 8,970 in Punjab, 3,464 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 1,174 in Islamabad Capital Territory, 665 in Balochistan, 637 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 430 in Azad Kashmir.

The maximum number of ventilators were occupied in four major cities, including Islamabad (22pc), Lahore (19pc), Peshawar (17pc) and Multan (15pc). The maximum number of oxygenated beds were occupied in four cities — Gilgit (46pc), Rawalpindi (24pc), Karachi (47pc) and Muzaffarabad (28pc).

A total of 15,584,899 tests have been conducted so far.

Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2021



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