Four cities report over 10pc Covid positivity rate

Published January 18, 2022
People wearing facemasks walk on a street in Karachi amid the spread of the coronavirus. — Anadolu Agency/File
People wearing facemasks walk on a street in Karachi amid the spread of the coronavirus. — Anadolu Agency/File

ISLAMABAD: While four cities reported over 10 per cent positivity of Covid-19 cases on Monday, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) decided to carry out massive testing in educational institutes before taking a decision about their closure.

Moreover, 4,340 cases, the highest recorded in a 24-hour period in about five months, and seven deaths were reported in past 24 hours and national positivity rate stood at 8.71pc.

According to a document available with Dawn, Karachi reported 30.83pc positivity rate, Lahore 13.05pc, Islamabad 10.75pc and Hyderabad 10.68pc.

The NCOC held a meeting to deliberate on possible ways to curb the spread of the dreaded disease by placing restrictions on public gatherings, weddings, schools, restaurants and public transportation.

According to an official statement, the session discussed the epidemic curve chart data, national vaccine strategy and disease prevalence across the country.

The session was chaired by federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and NCOC National Coordinator Maj Gen Mohammad Zafar Iqbal and attended by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan virtually.

“Provincial health and education ministers also joined the meeting virtually and told NCOC about the steps being taken for implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) and Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) in wake of spike in the coronavirus cases. Global and regional trends of Omicron virus were also discussed,” the statement said.

“Keeping in view new disease prevalence, a fresh set of NPIs was presented and discussed with provinces and new set of NPIs will be implemented by provinces in the next 48 hours after consultative process with all stakeholders,” it stated.

“Decision about education institutions will be taken on data of positive cases of various institutions for which massive testing in education institutions is being carried out,” the statement concluded.

An official of the Ministry of National Health Services said the meeting decided that the provinces could enforce curbs as per their requirements but main focus will be on implementation of SOPs.

“The federating and administrative units have been advised to take strict action in case of non-compliance of SOPs. We are not in favour of lockdown as currently less than 900 patients are hospitalised across the country as compared to over 5,000 hospitalisations during the last wave of Covid-19,” he said. “Though over 4,000 cases are being reported daily but fewer number of hospitalisation shows that a large number of people have been vaccinated due to which patients have mild symptoms.”

The official advised the masses to get vaccinated and said those who had been vaccinated should go for booster shot as vaccine was the best defence against Covid-19 and, in case of infection, it saved patients from complications.

Chinese herbal medicine

The health authorities on Monday announced the completion of a successful clinical trial of Chinese traditional herbal medicine for treating Covid-19, reports Reuters.

The Chinese medicine, Jinhua Qinggan Granules (JHQG), manufactured by Juxiechang (Beijing) Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, is already being used in treatment of Covid-19 patients in China.

“Since it was tried on patients with different variants of Covid-19, we expect it to be effective on Omicron as on other variants,” Professor Iqbal Chaudhry, director of the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Science where trials were conducted, told reporters.

The trials were conducted on 300 patients who were treated at home, and would work on mild to moderate Covid-19 cases, Dr Raza Shah, principal investigator in the trials, told reporters, adding that the efficacy rate was around 82.67pc.

The trials were approved by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2022

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