ISLAMABAD: The positivity rate of the twin cities has more than doubled in the last four days as fresh cases of the new Covid-19 variant continue to spread, and the administrations of both cities are considering smart lockdowns to curb the transmission of the virus.

According to the Islamabad District Health Officer (DHO) Zaeem Zia – where 36 more people tested positive for the variant in the last 24 hours, taking the capital’s tally of Omicron patients to 177 – there is a plan to impose smart lockdowns in certain areas.

Meanwhile in Rawalpindi – where 26 people tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday – District Health Authority spokesperson Dr Waqar Ahmed has called for smart lockdowns in areas where cases are most being reported.

According to official data, the positivity rate in Islamabad jumped from 0.97 per cent on Jan 3 to 2.35pc on Jan 6, more than doubling in the span of just four days.

Islamabad, Rawalpindi admins mulling smart lockdowns in areas with high concentration of infected persons

Similarly, Rawalpindi’s positivity rate has also doubled from 0.76pc on Jan 3 to 1.64pc on Jan 6.

According to Zaeem Zia, a new wave of Covid-19 was just beginning, stressing the need for people to take preventive measures to avoid infection and urging everyone to get vaccinated.

In a meeting held to review the status of the pandemic in the garrison city, Dr Waqar Ahmed said: “There is a dire need to impose smart lockdowns in areas where three to four patients are being reported in a day.”

According to him, most of those who had tested positive for the virus in the past week were residents of the Bahria Phase-VIII and Mughalabad areas, while three patients hailed from Dhoke Khabba and Gulistan Colony.

Worrying numbers

According to official figures, the number of people testing positive for Covid had gone up over the past 10 days.

On December 26, 2021, a total of 25 new patients were reported in Islamabad, whereas 10 days later on Jan 6, this had increased to 104. On Jan 6, 4411 tests were carried out and there are currently 489 active Covid-19 cases in the capital, where a total of 967 deaths have been recorded while 107,528 people have recovered from the infection.

The situation in Rawalpindi is not too different either, with 1,583 tests being carried out on Thursday.

The district has 127 active patients, of which 23 are in hospital and 104 patients are isolating at home.

At least 10 of these patients belong to city areas and nine come from cantonment areas. Five are from Gujar Khan and one each from Kallar Syedan and Taxila. Among the hospitalised patients, one is on a ventilator, 12 patients are on oxygen while the condition of the remaining 10 is said to be stable.

According to the Islamabad DHO, it was very important that citizens adopted all possible safety measures to avoid the further spread of the virus. He said the administration was working around the clock to provide all possible facilities to those who wish to get vaccinated.

When asked about the closure of the mass vaccination centre in Islamabad’s F-9 Park, Mr Zia said that people could still visit vaccination centres located in the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Polyclinic, CDA Hospital and other locations to get their booster jabs.

Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2022

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