Pakistan braces for fresh Covid wave

Positivity ratio nears 22pc in Karachi, overall rate remains 2.81pcTwo deaths, over 400 cases reported for second consecutive day

Picture for illustrative purposes only

Pakistan reported more than 400 coronavirus cases for a second consecutive day on Sunday, as Karachi’s positivity rate was recorded as 21.71 per cent, the highest in the country.

Data released by the National Institute of Health (NIH) showed that 406 Covid-19 cases were reported across the country during the last 24 hours. A day earlier, 435 cases were reported, the highest number since March 22.

According to the NIH, 14,437 tests were conducted during the last 24 hours. The positivity rate was recorded as 2.81 per cent, while two more deaths were also reported. In addition, 94 patients were in critical care, up from 87 a day prior.

Meanwhile, a city-wise breakdown of the positivity rate showed that Karachi’s was the highest at a whopping 21.71 per cent, followed by Mardan with 8.77 per cent and Hyderabad with 8.51 per cent. In addition, Islamabad’s was recorded as 3.45 per cent, while Peshawar’s was 3 per cent.

University of Health Sciences (UHS) Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Akram told a media outlet that the virus was behaving like a “roller coaster”.

“The country will face similar situations for a few years,” Dr Akram said, suggesting that restrictions should be imposed once again as they would not only bring cases down but also help overcome the prevailing energy crisis.

Dr Akram, who is a member of the Scientific Task Force on Covid-19, said the immunity level among people was decreasing and the efficacy of vaccines, which was once 95 per cent, had fallen to around 80-85 per cent as the virus was continuously mutating.

“Unfortunately when cases drop, people assume the virus has been eradicated and [they] stop following the standard operating procedures (SOPs),” he said, adding that he personally experienced over a thousand people attending marriage ceremonies and no one wearing masks.

“Even if anyone was wearing a mask, it would just be hanging around the person’s neck,” he said. The UHS vice chancellor said according to his understanding, there were three to five variants prevalent in Pakistan.

Vaccines are losing efficacy but even then they were the only shield against Covid-19, Dr Akram said, adding that people should go for vaccination and those who were already immunised should get booster shots. He said Moderna vaccine supply was short but its consignment had arrived two days ago.

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