ISLAMABAD: The country on Wednesday reported 5,196 new cases of Covid-19, which was slightly less than the 6,357 recorded a day earlier.

As the number of Covid-19 patients are increasing in Islamabad, the National Assembly and the Senate secretariats changed working hours and activities in view of the fifth wave of Covid-19.

According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the number of active cases rose to 86,124 while 1,293 patients were in critical care.

As many as 15 people lost their lives over the last 24 hours across the country with Sindh recording seven deaths, Punjab two, Islamabad three, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa three. No person died in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, according to NCOC.

There was also some positive news as 1,453 people recovered from the virus, raising the country’s total recoveries to 1,271,087.

Sindh is the worst-affected province by the pandemic with 531,008 infections, followed by Punjab with 467,698 cases.

The positivity rate in Karachi soared to 40.91 per cent after it tested 3,769 samples for coronavirus and 1,542 of them turned out to be positive.

Peshawar has now emerged as a hotspot with 454 new cases, taking the positivity ratio to 27.99pc.

The country has also started administering booster doses to people. Earlier, people who were 30 years or older and immune compromised individuals above 12 years of age could receive a booster dose. However, the NCOC later reduced the age limit, allowing citizens over 18 to receive booster jabs.

A total of 643,689 doses of vaccine were administered to the people across the country over the last 24 hours while the total vaccine doses administered till now stands at 173,417,006.

According to the official handout, the office hours of the NA and Senate secretariats would be from 10am to 4pm. In case the assembly session continues, the staff will be present in the secretariat. The decision to call the necessary staff will be taken by the officer in charge of the branch, wing or directorate.

All staff of the National Assembly Secretariat have been directed through a letter to stay in touch through phone call, WhatsApp and email. The staff could be called to the office on half-an-hour’s notice, if required by the secretariat, the handout said.

“In case the Covid-19 test is positive, the staff is advised to submit their test report to the officers concerned in the staff department of the National Assembly,” the letter said.

It instructed the Secretariat staff to wear masks and not to shake hands and ensure social distance with each other during office hours. The transport cell of the National Assembly Secretariat will continue the transport service as per the new plan to bring and take the necessary staff to the office.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2022



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