PESHAWAR: Twenty-one coronavirus patients died and 334 people were infected with the virus in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Saturday amid declining positivity rate in high-risk districts.
The province’s overall Covid-19 positivity rate declined to 5.9 per cent for the first time during the last more than one month, a health department report said.
According to the report, the province has so far recorded 5,395 coronavirus-related deaths and 171,072 cases.
Ninety-two per cent of the cases i.e. 158,513 have recovered from the infection with 273 being reported in the last 24 hours.
Officials insist pace of vaccination slow in province
The report said the active cases in the province totalled 7,164 and they’re mostly reported in Peshawar, Mardan, Nowshera, Kohat, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan and Swabi districts.
According to it, Peshawar recorded eight of the fresh deaths from the virus, Bannu four, Dera Ismail Khan and Swat two each and Kohat, Hangu, Lower and Upper Chitral and Mardan districts one each.
The positivity rate reached 6.7 per cent in Peshawar with 81 new cases. The district has so far recorded the death of 2,560 coronavirus patients and 61,734 cases, while 50 per cent of the beds designated in the local hospitals for coronavirus patients are occupied.
Twenty-three more people tested positive for the virus in Bannu, one of the major high-risk districts. Strict standard operating procedures are in place in the district due to the widespread coronavirus incidence.
Ten and nine new Covid-19 cases were reported in Dera Ismail Khan and Swat, respectively. The bed occupancy rate in Swat is 39 per cent, said the health department in the report.
According to it, the highest coronavirus positivity rate of 8.4 per cent in the province was reported in Mardan, the second most populous district after Peshawar. The hospitals’ 40 per cent beds for coronavirus patients are occupied in the district.
Officials insist that the vaccination rates are low and therefore, the low positivity rate is unsustainable.
Swabi recorded 5.4 per cent positivity rate but the bed occupancy is 66 per cent, highest in the province.
The report said 13 new coronavirus cases were reported in Nowshera, while the occupancy of Covid-19 beds was 6.1 per cent.
It added that 46 per cent of beds for coronavirus patients were occupied.
The health officials told Dawn that chief secretary Dr Kazim Niaz had been issuing instructions to the divisional commissioners to ensurespeedy vaccination of the people against coronavirus along with the enforcement of SOPs to stem the spread of the virus.
They said smart lockdowns had been imposed in Covid-19 hotspots on the recommendation of the relevant district health officers, while the low-risk districts had no restrictions except for vaccinations and precautions.
The officials said 1,450 coronavirus patients were hospitalised in the province and of them, 51 were in critical condition and on ventilator.
They said 5,757 patients were quarantined at home or in government-designated facilities.
The officials said the hospitals had 380 unoccupied ventilators, while the overall Covid-19 case fatality rate was 3.1 per cent.
They claimed that the coronavirus positivity rate and incidence had declined due to higher vaccinations and SOP enforcement, especially in infection hotspots.
The officials said hospitals in the province had 3,457 beds for coronavirus patients but the mainstay to contain the virus was strict SOP enforcement and vaccination of more and more people.
They said the vaccination of people above 15 years of age against coronavirus had already begun in the province.
Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2021