ISLAMABAD: As many as 54 people were found infected with Covid-19 in the federal capital on Sunday as the positivity rate continued increasing.

Moreover, from Monday (today) booster shots are going to start for people aged over 30 years who have been fully vaccinated at least six months ago.

The cases have been increasing since the emergence of the most transmissible Omicron variant in the city on Dec 24 when a 47-year-old man, who had travelled to Karachi, was found infected with it.

District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Zaeem Zia said through social media that 4,620 samples were collected on Saturday out of which 54 were found positive. He said the positivity rate was 1.17 per cent.

On Dec 20, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) allowed booster shots for people aged over 30 years because of the spread of the Omicron variant to over 100 countries, including Pakistan.

Though it was announced that the facility of booster shots will be available from January 1, it was later decided to keep the vaccination centres closed on the first two days of the new year. The decision was made because staff worked round the clock to achieve the target of making 70 million people fully vaccinated across the country on the last day of 2021.

Moreover, as a large number of people have been denied travel by several countries because of vaccine “discrimination”, mix-and-match booster vaccine shots are also permitted free of cost from Monday.

The term mix-and-match refers to an arrangement under which a person gets a booster shot of a vaccine which is different from the one he/she had received earlier.

However, a large number of people intending to go abroad could not do so as many nations were allowing quarantine-free entry only to those inbound passengers who had been administered the vaccine approved by them. Therefore, the government introduced a paid mix-and-match booster facility for travellers to spare them quarantine.

Talking to Dawn, Director General, Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), Dr Rana Safdar, said booster doses of choice would be given to the citizens.

“It means that mix and match has been allowed or booster of the same company which was administered earlier can be given as per choice of the people,” he said.

Rawalpindi

Six people tested positive in the district and two patients were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours.

According to the District Health Authority, the positivity ratio was recorded at 0.37pc. Total 1,603 samples were collected and six of them were found infected with the virus.

There are 89 active patients in the district - 23 in hospitals and 66 home isolated.

Two patients arrived from city areas and one patient each from the cantonment and Potohar along with two from Gujar Khan.

There are four patients admitted at Benazir Bhutto Hospital, five at Fauji Foundation Hospital, 13 at the Rawalpindi Institute of Urology and one at Attock Hospital, Rawalpindi.

Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2022

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