ISLAMABAD: After remaining among top 30 countries having the highest number of Covid-19 cases, Pakistan’s rank has dropped to 31st slot, apparently because of better strategy and policies being followed to deal with the pandemic.

Meanwhile, First Lady Samina Alvi tested positive for Covid-19 as 2,357 new cases and 58 deaths were reported on Thursday.

Ms Alvi herself broke the news of catching Covid-19 on social media.

“I was tested positive for Covid, day before. I have a little bit of weakness but Alhamdulillah doing well otherwise. Request all to keep me in your prayers, please. Thank you,” she tweeted.

First Lady tests positive for coronavirus

According to data of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) uploaded on its website, the number of active Covid-19 cases was 61,558 on Thursday. Of these patients, it said, 4,816 were admitted to different hospitals across the country.

Out of total 485 ventilators in use across the country on Thursday, over 70pc were occupied in Multan and Sargodha. Similarly, over 50pc beds with oxygen were in use in Swabi, Multan and Faisalabad.

On the other hand, consignments of three million doses of Sinovac and seven million doses of Sinopharm vaccines arrived in the country and were handed over to the Ministry of National Health Services.

Meanwhile, after remaining among top 30 countries for having the highest number of Covid-19 cases, Pakistan’s rank has dropped to 31st slot, apparently because of better strategy and policies to deal with the pandemic.

Sajid Shah, a spokesperson for the Ministry of National Health Services, told Dawn that Pakistan had performed much better in controlling the virus compared to other countries of the world.

“The major initiative was to establish the NCOC which increased coordination among the provinces. Besides, the policy of smart lockdowns was introduced to save the country not only from suffering economically but also bring down the number of mounting Covid-19 cases. Though we are not producer of Covid-19 vaccine, the government ensured availability of the vaccine at the earliest and today we have ample quantity of vaccine doses across the country,” he said.

The NCOC data showed that a total of 1,232,595 Covid-19 cases have been reported since the outbreak of the disease across the country. Out of these, 1,143,605 people have recovered and 27,432 died. The remaining are active cases.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is considering updating its clinical care guidance to include drugs casirivimab and imdevimab for treatment for non-severe Covid-19 patients who are at highest risk of hospitalisation, but it has urged the company to reduce the price of its drugs so that low- and middle-income countries could afford them.

“WHO welcomes the addition of another therapeutic to the world’s arsenal against Covid-19, but it urges the producing company and governments to address the high price and limited production of Regeneron’s anti-body combination and ensure safe and appropriate handling of the medicine.

“Given the high cost and low availability of the combination therapy, WHO calls on Regeneron to lower prices and distribute it equitably across all regions, especially in low- and middle-income countries, and transfer the technology to allow for the manufacturing of biosimilar versions so all patients who may need this treatment could get the drugs,” it said.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2021

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