ISLAMABAD: Students below the age of 18 who are intending to travel abroad have been allowed to get Moderna vaccine.
On the other hand, former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani condemned the United Kingdom’s decision to keep Pakistan on the Covid-19 red list and removing India and several other countries from it. In a tweet, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Friday said: “Vaccination is open to all above 18 years of age. However, students aged 16-18 years, who need to go abroad for study to universities requiring mandatory vaccination will be administered Moderna vaccine. (to be administered on checking valid visa / university documents).”
According to an NCOC official, students under 18 would have to follow the same registration process of sending an SMS on the helpline 1166, and wait for information about the health centre.
As the vaccination drive intensifies in the wake of the fourth wave of the deadly virus, the Ministry of National Health Services, in a tweet on Friday, said more doses had been purchased and centres were being restocked.
“There is no shortage of Covid-19 vaccines,” the ministry added.
Meanwhile, former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani said the British government’s latest quarantine traffic light system update was politically motivated and not based on scientific data.
He condemned the continued placement of Pakistan on the red list, urging the government to take up the issue with the UK authorities and also restrict movement of British nationals in the country.
“This is not the first time the Tory government has shown such a callous behaviour while dealing with the quarantine traffic light system,” Mr Rabbani said, adding that India, which has been moved to the amber list, has a seven-day infection rate of 20 per 100,000 people while Pakistan’s rate during the same period is just 14 per 100,000.
“This is well below the vast majority of countries who are on the amber list,” he said.
The former Senate chairman said the last time the UK government made political choices and failed to put India on the red list led to the Delta variant becoming the most prominent strain in the Britain.
“Pakistan should reciprocate this political choosing by subjecting all British passport holders, excluding those of Pakistan origin, to undergo quarantine of 10 days before coming to Pakistan,” he said, adding that movement of British nationals residing in Pakistan should be confined to their residences as they were potential carriers of the Delta variant.
Meanwhile, 4,745 people tested positive in the country while 67 lost their lives in the last 24 hours.
As many as 2,095 patients have recovered from the deadly virus in a single day.
According to data, the national Covid-19 positivity ratio has been recorded at 8.18pc during the last 24 hours.
Islamabad reported 452 new cases on Friday — the highest since April 28 when 509 patients surfaced.
Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), on the other hand, recorded 308 cases and three deaths. According to the NCOC data, the total number of cases in the region has increased to 26,086 with the death toll having climbed to 639.
In Gilgit-Baltistan, two people died and 78 contracted the virus, taking the caseload to 8,551 and the death tally to 150.
During the last 24 hours, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa saw 541 people getting infected and 12 losing their lives. The provincial infection tally now stands at 147,026 while the number of casualties has risen to 4,507.
On the other hand, Balochistan reported 87 new infections and one casualty. The total number of patients in the province has increased to 30,967 while 330 have fallen victim to the virus.
In Punjab, 964 people got infected and 19 lost their battle against coronavirus in the last 24 hours. The province’s infection tally stands at 361,458 while the death toll at 11,141.
So far, the country has recorded 954,711 recoveries at a rate of 90.2pc.
According to the forum’s data, the maximum ventilators were occupied in four major cities, with Islamabad recording the highest occupancy at 44pc, Bahawalpur 40pc, Peshawar, 33pc and Multan 29pc.
Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2021