Highest number of cases recorded since Covid began

Published January 22, 2022
A paramilitary soldier receives a dose of coronavirus vaccine while others wait for their turn at a vaccination centre in Karachi, January 21. — Reuters
A paramilitary soldier receives a dose of coronavirus vaccine while others wait for their turn at a vaccination centre in Karachi, January 21. — Reuters

ISLAMABAD: As the Omicron-driven fifth wave sweeps through the country, Pakistan on Friday reported 7,678 fresh cases of Covid-19 — the highest number reported in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic.

Previously, the highest number of positive cases in a single day was 6,825, reported on June 13, 2020.

Also on Friday, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) announced that all schools in areas with high Covid-19 positivity ratio will remain closed for one week, across the country.

With these fresh cases, the nat­ional positivity rate has jumped from 11 per cent to 12.93pc, while 23 people have died from the virus over the last 24 hours.

The fresh wave is also taking its toll on national institutions and the Islamabad judiciary is among the worst hit in the country, where at least 15 judges, including Islamabad High Court Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, and 80 court officials are said to be down with Covid.

Omicron-driven fifth wave prompts closure of educational institutions, courts

The district administration has sealed the courts of the convalescing judges for disinfection.

According to the NCOC, as many as 59,343 tests were conducted on Friday while the number of active cases rose to 57,935 on Friday. At least 961 patients are in critical care.

As per NCOC data, Karachi has the highest positivity rate in the country with 45.43pc, followed by 23.94pc in Muzaffarabad. The positivity rate in Islamabad stands at 18.91pc, 17.89pc in Lahore, 17.47pc in Rawalpindi and 15.59pc in Peshawar.

NCOC data also suggests a strong correlation between vaccination levels and infection rates in various cities.

During last 24 hours, the most deaths were reported in Sindh where 17 people died, followed by three fatalities in Punjab, two in Islamabad and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Consequently, the total number of cases has risen to 1,353,479 while the death toll stands at 29,065. However, another 814 people have recovered from the coronavirus.

Covid-19 testing was also carried out at educational institutes in major Omicron-hit cities to ascertain the extent of the spread of the disease among students.

According to the NCOC notification issued on Friday, the provincial administration, in consultation with district health, education authorities and school administrations, will set a threshold of cases for deciding on such closures.

The centre has also directed federating units to carry out special vaccination drives in schools to ensure 100pc vaccination of students over the age of 12.

Earlier this week, the NCOC banned indoor gatherings, weddings and dining in districts and cities with a positivity rate exceeding 10pc as part of new curbs meant to tackle the fifth wave.

The government authorised booster vaccination shots for citizens over the age of 30. Vaccination of children over the age of 12 has been made mandatory to attend the schools and children under 12 will attend schools with 50% attendance.

We might see a peak after two weeks followed by a gradual decline, Reuters quoted Aga Khan University Hospital’s Faisal Mahmood as telling Geo News on Friday morning.

He said the number of hospitalisations was rising, citing the on-going wedding season for the rapid spread of the virus.

About 70 million people in Pakistan, or 32% of the population, have had two doses of the Coronavirus vaccine.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2022

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