• National infection rate stands at 1.44pc
• Punjab to launch door-to-door campaign from Oct 25

ISLAMABAD: In order to further contain the spread of Covid-19, which has been affecting fewer people for the last one week, the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) has called upon the provinces to step up their vaccination drive.

As per the NCOC data, 16 people lost their lives to the deadly virus in the country during the last 24 hours, while test results of 567 people out of 39,200 citizens whose samples were collected came back positive.

The positivity rate, which has remained below two per cent for the last one week, was recorded at 1.44 per cent on Friday.

On the other hand, the Punjab government has decided to launch a door-to-door immunisation drive from October 25 to meet its 100pc vaccination target.

A notification issued by the provincial government said the campaign would continue till November 12 and the residents of Punjab’s 36 districts would be inoculated at their doorsteps during this period.

Taking to Twitter, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, who also heads the NCOC, said there was a dire need to speed up the drive.

His statement came in the wake of the detection of a new virulent strain, Epsilon, among several patients in the country.

The minister also expressed concern over the slow pace of Covid-19 vaccination campaign in various cities, including Karachi, Hyderabad and Quetta, calling on the district administrations and health teams in these cities to improve their performance.

It may be mentioned here that Member Scientific Task Force on Covid-19 Dr Javed Akram had said all Covid-19 vaccines being used in the country were effective against the new variant, which traces its origin to the American state of California.

Meanwhile, seven people died of Covid-19 and 203 patients surfaced in Punjab over the last 24 hours.

As per the NCOC data, three casualties and 195 patients were reported in Sindh, six deaths and 108 patients in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 10 cases in Balochistan, 44 in Islamabad, two in Gilgit-Baltistan, while five persons tested positive in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The data further revealed that 864 people recovered from the virus in a single day, taking the tally of total recoveries to 1,214,663.

There are 24,386 active patients in the country, with 1,704 in critical condition.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in Pakistan in February last year, 1,267,393 people have so far contracted the virus.

The data showed that 99,335,067 doses of Covid-19 vaccine had been administered out of which 67,956,040 people have so far received a single jab while 37,855,681 are fully vaccinated.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2021

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