ISLAMABAD: Pakistan reported over 6,800 fresh cases of Covid-19, the second highest number of cases reported in a single day since the pandemic began in 2020.
Over the past 24 hours, the number of cases surged to 6,808, second only to the 6,825 cases reported on June 14, 2020.
The national positivity rate has crossed 11.55 per cent. For context, the last time the rate entered double figures was on April 26, 2021, when it reached 10pc. Before this, the positivity rate had crossed the 11pc mark in July 2020.
On Thursday, as many as seven cities reported positivity over 10pc. Karachi’s rate stood at over 40pc.
Data released by the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) showed that 6,808 cases and five deaths were reported, while the number of patients in critical care reached 918.
Sindh recorded a positivity rate of 21.77pc, Islamabad 15.37pc, Punjab 7.23, Azad Jammu and Kashmir 6.07, Balochistan 4.74pc, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 2.88pc and Gilgit Baltistan 2.17pc.
Among cities, Karachi reported 41.06pc, Muzaffarabad 25pc, Hyderabad 17.27, Islamabad 15.37pc, Lahore 14.25pc, Rawalpindi 12.75pc, while Peshawar reported 11.2pc positivity.
However, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar claimed that financially, Pakistan had done very well in opening the economy after various waves of Covid.
He claimed the country has ranked second in the world by the Economist’s Global Normalcy Index, which measured recovery post Covid-19 and the pace of opening up of society and the economy.
“Pakistan was 3rd in the first evaluation and number 1 in the second. Pakistan is the only country in the world to be in the top 3 in all three rankings,” he tweeted.
However, Health Services Academy Vice Chancellor Dr Shahzad Ali Khan told Dawn the reason behind the rapid rise in the number of cases was the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
“It seems that Omicron has adapted and has become highly infective as it can stay in the environment or air for a longer period. However, there are both positive and negative aspects of the new variant. The negative side is that whatever precautions we take, we will be infected. But those who are vaccinated will have mild symptoms and there less possibility of them spreading the virus,” he said.
“Those who are not vaccinated may develop severe complications and they could become a factory or producer of the next variant, which can be very virulent,” Dr Khan warned.
He warned that due to its highly transmissive nature, Omicron would definitely tax all available health resources, adding that it would be essential to ensure human resource was available in hospitals and medical facilities to treat the case load.
He also pointed out that Omicron had severely infected healthcare workers and suggested that they should be made to wear N-95 masks and asked to avoid socialising.
Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2022