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Covid-19: 7 more die as positivity reaches 3.2pc

Among total deaths, six reported from Karachi, one from Peshawar

Pakistan on Saturday reported 732 coronavirus cases during the last 24 hours, with the national positivity ratio reaching 3.24%, according to the statistics from the National Institute of Health (NIH).

As per the latest statistics, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 1,542,377 after new infections were confirmed, as per the government data. The new infections were detected after 22,568 diagnostic tests were conducted across the county over the past 24 hours.

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In addition to this, seven more patients succumbed to the deadly virus during the same period taking the death toll from the pathogen to 30,420.

Six of those who passed away from the virus belonged to Karachi — which has been hit the hardest by the current wave — and one from Peshawar. As per the NIH stats, the condition of 158 more patients with the virus is critical.

Earlier this week, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) issued new standard operating procedures (SOPs) for Eidul Azha, in the wake of the recent spurt in coronavirus infections across the country.

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The Eid guidelines mark a return of facemasks and social distancing protocol on the joyous occasion, which would be celebrated for three days from Sunday. The forum encouraged people to opt for collective Qurbani and ensure the implementation of precautionary measures.

“It has been advised to undertake minimal necessary travel during Eid holidays as the risk of a new wave was imminent,” the NCOC said, urging the masses to take every precaution to prevent the pandemic spread.

The guidelines said that Eid prayers should be organised in open spaces with staggered timings — in 2-3 shifts at one venue — to minimise attendance. The guidelines proposed multiple entry and exit points at the prayer venue to avoid a rush of people.

Moreover, the NCOC issued directives to airports a day earlier to ensure 100% rapid antigen testing (RAT) of pilgrims returning from Hajj.

The notification stated that given the risk of transmission involved in mass gatherings, rising disease prevalence globally, and soaring Covid-19 cases in Pakistan, testing would be performed in international airports of Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Multan and Islamabad.

The return Hajj flights will begin on July 15. The NCOC notification stated that filling credentials on the pass track application had been made mandatory and the travellers would be required to quarantine at home for at least 10 days in the event of a positive test. In June, a meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) advised all provinces and regions to administer booster doses on a priority basis to further improve protection against Covid transmission.

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