Islamabad: Pakistan reported four deaths and 818 new coronavirus infections — the highest number of cases since March 4, 2022 — on Saturday as the national positivity rate touched 4.47 per cent amid non-compliance with anti-Covid measures.
At least 126 patients are in critical condition after contracting coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Karachi alone reported the highest positivity rate, accounting for over 60 per cent of infections in the country. Islamabad and Lahore along with Karachi are responsible for 85 per cent of infections, however.
The data showed that Karachi’s positivity was recorded at 17.06pc, Muzaffarabad at 6.45pc, Lahore at 5.58pc, Islamabad at 4.05pc and Mirpur reported a positivity rate of 3.23pc.
Health experts believed that there was hardly any compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs), especially the wearing of face masks in public places. They feared that the situation could become worse after Eidul Azha and during Muharram.
University of Health Sciences (UHS) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Javed Akram, while talking to Dawn, said as per the previous trends coronavirus affected Karachi first before spreading across the country. He said that Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and other densely-populated cities may be infected with the virus in the coming days.
“Currently public meetings and rallies are being held because of by-elections in Punjab [to be held on July 17] but I have not seen anyone following the SOPs. People have stopped wearing masks and no sincere efforts are being made to ensure compliance with SOPs,” he added.
He said that even booster doses were not being administered at a satisfactory pace. “Even if 1 million doses are being administered daily, it means that we will be able to vaccinate the eligible population in over 200 days. But immunity provided by vaccines wanes much earlier than 200 days. So one million can be an impressive number for the European countries, having smaller populations, but for Pakistan, having 220 million people, the number is next to nothing,” Dr Akram, who is also a member of the Scientific Task Force on Covid-19, said. He added that Eid and Muharram will provide an opportunity for the rapid spread of the virus.
He suggested that the number of tests should be increased and people should be convinced to strictly adhere to the SOPs.
Separately, Federal Minister for Health Abdul Qadir Patel, in a statement, said that the government, through the platform of the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), was ensuring “effective measures” to control the spread of the virus.
“The NCOC meets on a daily basis…the cases of coronavirus are being closely monitored,” the minister said, urging the people to wear masks and stay away from crowded places. He said the wearing of masks was essential during Eid and also asked people to get jabs.
Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2022