ISLAMABAD: As local transmission of the most transmissible variant of Covid-19, Omicron, is now being reported from all across the country, Pakistan’s positivity rate remained over 1 per cent for the second consecutive day on Saturday.
Earlier positivity rate had remained less than 1pc for almost two months and it was being believed that Pakistan may not be forced by the virus to go for restrictions again.
Since Pakistan started releasing the data regarding positivity rate in March 2020, the rate has remained over 1pc. However, on November 8, 2021, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) announced that for the first time positivity rate had dropped to less than 1pc. Later, the positivity rate mostly remained less than 1pc and on December 25 the country’s positivity rate was reported at around 0.69pc.
Earlier during the last three weeks of October Pakistan had consistently reported positivity rate of less than 2pc and then there was constant decline.
However, the data released by the NCOC on December 31 showed that the positivity was 1.08pc after a gap of almost two months. The data released on the 1st day of new year again showed that the positivity was 1.09pc as 51,141 samples were collected from across the country out of which 556 were found positive.
An official of the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), requesting not to be named, said that though the positivity remained over 1pc for two consecutive days, the major achievement of the country was to fully vaccinate 70 million people by the end of 2021.
When told that the target was set to fully vaccinate 70m people of over the age of 18 years but the NCOC, despite reducing the vaccine-eligible age to 12 years, difficultly achieved the target on the last date, the official said that it should not be ignored that there were a number of challenges in the country.
“A number of our uneducated people are against the vaccination. Besides, several misconceptions have come from the West due to which even some educated people show resistance against the vaccination. I believe that it is a major success that we have fully vaccinated over 70m people and we hope that we may not be forced by the virus to go for the restrictions,” he said.
“I advise the masses to get themselves vaccinated and those who have already been vaccinated, they should go for the booster shots. Moreover, the people should strictly adhere to the standard operating system,” he said.
“A country where there were no masks, when there were grim predictions about Pakistan on Covid-19, when procurement of vaccination was only a dream as ‘vaccine nationalism’ was high and no one was ready to even give vaccine on payment, Pakistan ensured not only vaccine procurement but also its transportation to the country when flights were closed, he said. “A comprehensive National Immunisation Management System was developed by the NCOC…. A system was made from vaccine storage to its distribution across Pakistan and we achieved the milestone of vaccinating 70m people.”
Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2022