ISLAMABAD: The country reported 693 Covid-19 cases on Friday, with the national positivity rate touching 3.28 per cent, according to official statistics.

The data released by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) showed that 21,137 tests were conducted over the past 24 hours. The number of patients on critical care remained unchanged at 165.

However, the city-wise positivity ratio data presents an ambiguous picture as high ratios don’t necessarily point towards an outbreak. For example, the positivity ratio in Sindh’s second largest city Hyderabad hit 50pc on Friday, but only six tests were conducted, out of which three returned positive.

The positivity rate in other cities remained under 7pc.

Hyderabad’s positivity jumps to 50pc on the back of three positive results from six tests

So far, 275,382,626 doses of vaccine have been administered across the country, according to the NCOC. Out of this, 137,503,769 individuals have received the first dose and 127,590,195 have been fully vaccinated. Moreover 28,103,609 people have been inoculated with booster shots as well.

The Vice Chancellor of Health Services Academy, Prof Dr Shahzad Ali Khan, while talking to Dawn, expressed fear that Covid cases may rapidly increase during the upcoming religious events of Eidul Azha and Muharram-ul-Haram.

“People should strictly adhere to the standard operating procedures so that the pace of increase in cases could be controlled as it directly affects the occupancy rate of beds in hospitals,” he said, adding that if the number of cases continued to increase on a daily basis, there would be more admissions in the hospitals.

Dr Khan, who is also a member of the NCOC, said if the two religious events passed without witnessing any increase in cases, the country may not have the sixth wave of Covid-19.

Earlier this week, the NCOC had advised travellers to exercise caution, check weather forecasts and pre-book their hotel accommodations during Eid holidays. Tourists have been advised to wear face masks, use hand sanitisers and avoid going to crowded places and maintain social distancing.

“It should be made sure that all tourists [are] vaccinated and those who have been vaccinated, should go for the booster dose,” the advisory stated.

The tourists should check weather prediction and confirm hotel bookings before travelling.

“As hotels and restaurants ... remain jam-packed during Eid holidays, make sure that your residence is already booked and you have edible items [to] use in case of prolonged stay,” it stated.

National Institute of Health Executive Director Maj Gen Aamer Ikram had also urged tourists to collect route and weather information before embarking on the journey.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2022

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